It must have been a depressing moment at the Federal Office for the Environment (UBA) when they opened the results of their latest survey.
It found that just 21 percent of 14- to 25-year-olds believed that an intact environment and the chance to enjoy nature were important parts of a “good life”.
That was nine percentage points fewer than the already disappointing 30 percent of the whole population who agreed.
“The present study shows that the readiness to change behaviour from an environmental perspective is especially decreasing among young people,” UBA president Maria Krautzberger said.
Although the under-25s are aware in the abstract of threats to the environment – with 94 percent saying that environment quality worldwide is “very bad” – closer to home it's seen as less of a problem.
A full 70 percent thought that the quality of the environment at home in Germany was “fine” or “very good”.
The study also showed “an awareness of the relationships between consumption demands in the West and environmental challenges in other countries,” with 84 percent of the young agreeing that Western lifestyles are responsible for environmental problems in poorer countries.
They're just unwilling to do anything about it, and young people are particularly reluctant to give up branded clothing and electronic gadgets, the study also showed.
Slightly more encouraging was their use of transport, with high proportions saying they travel on foot (33 percent), by bike (27 percent) or by public transport (25 percent) “always” or “very often”.
But the biggest cohort of the young remained regular car users, with 55 percent saying that das Auto was still indispensable to their everyday life.