From TEDx via YouTube

If you are under 30 today, you are on track to find out in your lifetime what unmanageable climate change will be like. Business, politics and economics seem to have no response. What is going wrong and how can you use your voice if you want this fixed in time to fix your future?

One of the world’s top climate diplomats, John Ashton is now an independent commentator and adviser on the politics of climate change. From 2006-12 he served as Special Representative for Climate Change to three successive UK Foreign Secretaries, spanning the current Coalition and the previous Labour Government. He was a cofounder and, from 2004-6, the first Chief Executive of the think tank E3G. From 1978-2002, after a brief period as a research astronomer, he was a career diplomat, with a particular focus on China. He is a visiting professor at the London University School of Oriental and African Studies, and a Distinguished Policy Fellow at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College.

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From The Vancouver Sun:

Whitney Sharp always expected she would be driving when she turned 16. But five years later, she has yet to make it behind the wheel — or even to a driver licensing branch.

Sharp is representative of what TransLink has deemed a “noticeable drop” in the proportion of young adults aged 16-24 who are forgoing a traditional rite of passage: getting a driver’s licence.

Only 50 per cent of young people aged 16-19 and 80 per cent of those 20-29 had a driver’s licence in 2011 — down from 60 per cent and 90 per cent respectively in 1999 — according to TransLink’s latest trip diary, which surveyed almost 18,000 households on their commuting patterns, including how many trips they made in a 24-hour period.

There’s no specific reasons given for the decline, but the TransLink analysis suggests it could be attributed to several factors, including a combination of the graduated licensing program and TransLink’s U-Pass program — a cheap universal pass that gives students access to bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain services within Metro Vancouver — or a “generational behaviour change because of shifts in values and attitudes.”

“The notion of getting a car and the ability to drive as a rite of passage is really eroding,” said Larry Frank, professor and J. Armand Bombardier chair in Sustainable Urban Transportation Systems at the University of B.C. “It’s an indication that our degree of car dependence, at least in this region, is declining.”

It appears teens no longer view a restored Mustang as the ticket to independence, said Maria Su, senior manager of research analytics with TransLink. The high price of gas and car ownership, on one hand, and the U-Pass program and better transit opportunities on the other, she said, are likely contributing to the trend, which “is not unique to Vancouver.”

“It used to be when people got out of school, the first thing they did was get a used car because it was a sign of freedom,” Su said. “Now you can meet up with a friend without a car.”

Check out the rest of the article here

(Photo source: Streetsblog DC)

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Young Folks, Technology & Sustainability: Shift happens…
From The Huffington Post:
Millennials would rather give up driving than their smartphone or laptop, a survey commissioned by the car rental company Zipcar finds.
…
More than any other age group, millennials said they make a conscious attempt to reduce the amount of time they drive by carpooling, taking public transportation, riding a bike or walking, according to the study. Millennials were more likely to communicate with friends online than to see them in person, and more likely to order online than to drive somewhere to buy something.
More here.
Chart via: ‘Millennials Say They’d Give Up Their Cars Before Their Computers or Cell Phones’ (Atlantic Cities)

Young Folks, Technology & Sustainability: Shift happens…

From The Huffington Post:

Millennials would rather give up driving than their smartphone or laptop, a survey commissioned by the car rental company Zipcar finds.

More than any other age group, millennials said they make a conscious attempt to reduce the amount of time they drive by carpooling, taking public transportation, riding a bike or walking, according to the study. Millennials were more likely to communicate with friends online than to see them in person, and more likely to order online than to drive somewhere to buy something.

More here.

Chart via: ‘Millennials Say They’d Give Up Their Cars Before Their Computers or Cell Phones’ (Atlantic Cities)

That moment of realizing that you’re a grown-up - for my generation, that was when you got your driver’s license or car. For young people now, that moment comes when you get your first cellphone.

A quote from Tony Dudzik, senior policy analyst at a California-based think tank, in the recent Reuters article, 'America's Generation Y not driven to drive'. The article explores the story behind an important emerging trend:

From 2001 to 2009, the average annual number of vehicle-miles traveled by people ages 16-34 dropped 23 percent, from 10,300 to 7,900, the survey found. Gen Y-ers, also known as Millennials, tend to ride bicycles, take public transit and rely on virtual media.

More than a quarter of Millennials - 26 percent - lacked a driver’s license in 2010, up 5 percentage points from 2000, the Federal Highway Administration reported.

And, it’s not just about cellphones. Check out the rest of the article here.

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(Photo source: Reuters

Speaking for the world’s 3 billion children: “Are you here to save face? Or are you here to save us?”

From TckTckTck via YouTube:

On Wednesday 20 June, 2012 17-year-old Brittany Trilford of Wellington, New Zealand addressed 130 heads of state at the opening plenary of the Rio+20 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is her speech.

From Atlantic Cities:

“Unfortunately for car companies,” Jordan Weissmann noted at TheAtlantic.com a couple weeks back, “today’s teens and twenty-somethings don’t seem all that interested in buying a set of wheels. They’re not even particularly keen on driving.”

Now a major new report from Benjamin Davis and Tony Dutzik at the Frontier Group and Phineas Baxandall, at the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, documents this unprecedented trend across a wide variety of indicators.

Their two big findings about young people and driving:

  • The average annual number of vehicle miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) in the U.S. decreased by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009, falling from 10,300 miles per capita to just 7,900 miles per capita in 2009.
  • The share of 14 to 34-year-olds without a driver’s license increased by 5 percentage points, rising from 21 percent in 2000 to 26 percent in 2010, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Young people are also making more use of transit, bikes, and foot power to get around. In 2009, 16 to 34-year-olds took 24 percent more bike trips than they took in 2001. They walked to their destinations 16 percent more often, while their passenger miles on transit jumped by 40 percent.

Check out the rest of the article to read about the factors driving this shift in getting around. 

(Photo credit: Atlantic Cities)

From Business Green:

Businesses have been urged to accelerate their environmental footprinting strategies to include emerging economies, after new research by the Carbon Trust revealed young people in China could hold the key to unlocking mass demand for greener products.

The survey of 2,800 young people across six countries carried out by TNS found 83 per cent of 18-25 year-olds in China would be more loyal to a brand if they could see it was reducing its carbon footprint. In contrast, just 57 per cent of US respondents and 55 per cent of young people in the UK made the same claim.

Globally, 78 per cent of young people said they want their favourite brands to reduce their carbon footprint, but again those in Chinese showed the highest demand for emission reductions with 88 per cent calling on firms to cut their footprint.

South Africa came in second place with 86 per cent of respondents calling on blue chips to reduce their impact, followed by Brazil at 84 per cent. Again the US and UK lagged far behind with only two thirds of respondents demanding more action from big brands.

Check out the rest of the article here. You can also check out an infographic of the study here.

(Image credit: Carbon Trust

The global challenge of climate change poses a perfect moral storm — by failing to take action to rein in carbon emissions, the current generation is spreading the costs of its behavior far into the future.
Professor and author Stephen Gardinier in his e360 article, 'The Ethical Dimension of Tackling Climate Change'

From The Guardian:

In Britain, the percentage of 17- to 20-year-olds with driving licences fell from 48% in the early 1990s to 35% last year. The number of miles travelled by all forms of domestic transport, per capita per year, has flatlined for years. Meanwhile, road traffic figures for cars and taxis, having risen more or less every year since 1949, have continued to fall since 2007. Motoring groups put it down to oil prices and the economy. Others offer a more fundamental explanation: the golden age of motoring is over.

"The way we run cars is changing fast," says Tim Pollard, associate editor at CAR magazine, “Car manufacturers are worried that younger people in particular don’t aspire to own cars like we used to in the 70s, 80s, or even the 90s. Designers commonly say that teenagers today aspire to own the latest smartphone more than a car. Even car enthusiasts realise we’ve reached a tipping point.”

As hi-tech research and development budgets source to keep pace with the iPhone generation, Pollard says carmakers are also coming to terms with less possessive buyers. “Towards the end of the 20th century, manufacturers cottoned on to the fact that we were owning things for shorter periods.”

This has led to a proliferation of different ownership and rental schemes such as StreetcarZipcar and Whipcar.

The most radical change is that “in big societies, there is a huge status shift happening, where we are losing the idea that you use a car to define your status. 

Underpinning all these innovations and ideas is what Liske sees as a major behavioural shift among the generation of “digital natives”. “They don’t care about owning things. Possession is a burden, and a car is a big investment for most people – not just the vehicle, but the permits, the parking space.”

Social trends can lead to change, but our travel habits are shaped by government policy too: by road, rail and airport building, most obviously, but also by planning regulations. Greenfield development, or the construction of housing on undeveloped land, is favoured by developers because it’s cheaper to build and easier to sell. Yet this is often low-density, suburban-style housing that is poorly suited to public transport and more or less requires homeowners to drive. Brownfield building, though less profitable and less popular, often raises population density, making public transport more viable.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Photo credit: Guardian)