Press Release

For Immediate Release: March 16, 2012
Contact:
Rachel Tardiff
(202) 746-1507, rachel@fitzgibbonmedia.com
Whit Jones
(202) 670-9448, whit@energyactioncoalition.org

Twenge Youth Study on Environment is Total Sham

Methodology is flawed, and reputable polls counter results
Energy Action Coalition, the largest youth advocacy coalition in the country, refutes claims citing unprecedented youth environmental activism

Energy Action Coalition, the largest youth advocacy coalition in the country, is challenging the findings of a recent study undercutting youth commitment to the environment because of major issues with the study’s methodology, opposing polls with polar opposite results, and actual youth involvement in climate, energy, and environmental issues.

The new report from San Diego State University professor Jean Twenge claims that today’s young adults, known as Millennials, are significantly less concerned about the environment than the two preceding generations (the Baby Boomers and Generation X). However Twenge, who has made a career out of positioning Millennials as narcissistic and unengaged, uses flawed methodology and analysis which thoroughly discredit her findings. Twenge also ignores the actual involvement of youth in the climate movement, through coalitions like Energy Action Coalition.

“This study is appalling, and completely demeans the very real work that today’s young people are doing on the environment,” said Maura Cowley, executive director of Energy Action Coalition. “It’s methodology is flawed and it undermines the 10,000 students who came to Washington, DC in April 2011 for the Power Shift conference, the largest organizer training in American history, the 400,000 young people who pledged to vote on climate, energy and environmental issues in our 2008 Power Vote campaign, and the thousands of youth voters who joined with the wider community to surround the White House this past November to urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.”

Methodology of Twenge study refuted:

  • Mike Hais and Morley Winograd, reputable pollsters and experts on generational trends completely refute the methodology of the study and point to consistently misleading studies from Twenge: http://mikeandmorley.com/wordpress/?p=99

Other studies demonstrate Millennial generation and youth voters are very passionate and engaged on environmental issues:

Young People Leading on Environmental Issues, Climate & Energy In Unprecedented Ways:

  • Young people led the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline, the defining environmental issue of 2011. Their activism was credited for compelling President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline by the Los Angeles Times, USAToday.

  • In April 2011, over 10,000 young people came to Washington, DC for Power Shift 2011, the largest organizing training in U.S. history. Their interest and power on environmental issues was recognized by President Obama, and covered in the New York Times, Washington Post, HuffingtonPost.

  • In 2008, over 400,000 young people pledged to vote on climate, energy and environmental concerns as part of the Power Vote campaign, one of the largest youth vote campaigns in 2008. Young people have pledged to spend over 300,000 hours standing up to big polluters to make progress on climate and energy in 2012: http://www.wearepowershift.org/pledge

Energy Action Coalition is a coalition of 50 youth-led environmental and social justice groups working together to build the youth clean energy and climate movement. Working with hundreds of campus and youth groups, dozens of youth networks, and hundreds of thousands of young people, Energy Action Coalition and its partners have united a burgeoning movement behind winning local victories and coordinating on state, regional, and national levels in the United States and Canada.