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The goal for a resilient Wales

A nation which maintains and enhances a bio-diverse natural environment with healthy functioning ecosystems that support social, economic and ecological resilience and the capacity to adapt to change (for example, climate change).

Many of the national indicators used to measure progress towards this goal, are long-term indicators that measure gradual change in the physical environment (for example, biodiversity, air quality, renewable energy, healthy ecosystems and recycling). As these national indicators are based on the physical environment rather than people, there is limited data available on children and young people.

Climate change

The National Survey results for 2021-22 show that the vast majority of 16 to 24 year olds (98%) think the world’s climate is changing. 79% of 16-24 year olds were fairly concerned or very concerned about climate change which is in line with the results in 2020-21 (73%) and in 2018-19 (78%), and an increase compared with the 65% in 2016-17.

In 2021-22, 66% of 16 to 24 year olds think that climate change is mainly or entirely due to human activity. 97% think human activity is involved to some extent in the world’s climate changing.

In May 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the National Survey changed mode from a face-to-face interview to one over the telephone. The wording of some questions was also changed to better suit the mode. For these reasons it is not always possible to make direct comparisons across years but, where relevant, results from previous years are included to add context.

Data from the WISERD Multi-Cohort Study 2022 shows that over two-thirds of children who took part in the study are at least somewhat worried about climate change, with females and older children showing higher levels of worry. Over a half of children in the study (56%) feel that it’s very urgent that we do something about climate change, with a further 37% feeling that this is quite urgent. Over three-quarters of children feel that everyone has a part to play in protecting the environment.

Data sources and further reading

National Survey for Wales provides data on people’s views on environmental issues.

WISERD Multi-Cohort Study 2022, Cardiff University

State of Natural Resources Report 2020 (Natural Resources Wales) provides a comprehensive assessment of the extent to which natural resources are being sustainably managed.