Gen Z is taking climate change in stride, doing their part to combat it and reducing anxiety about it simultaneously. According to a 2021 survey by Wunderman Thompson Data for the Regeneration Rising report by Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, 66% of respondents express anxiety about how climate change will affect them personally, rising to 72% of generation Z.

To combat that feeling of helplessness, gen Z is espousing conscious positivity and taking local action. According to separate data collected by Wunderman Thompson Data for Wunderman Thompson Intelligence: 85% of those surveyed were prepared to rethink the way they live and spend to tackle climate change, and 70% were prepared to make dramatic changes to their lifestyle if it will help tackle climate change.

In a series by the Guardian, several gen Zers were highlighted for their eco-work and positive attitudes towards making small steps to improve their communities.

One recent college graduate and TED Talk alum is about to launch the first sustainable retail marketplace. 23-year-old environmentalist Zahra Biabani started In the Loop as part of her mission to make sustainable and ethical brands accessible to her generation. Her platform will offer clothing rentals, discounts for one-time rentals, even reusable bags, all operated from her parent’s garage in Houston, Texas. Biabani told the Guardian that “climate optimism is just a framework for unlocking the full potentiality of climate solutions that we desperately need.” Thomas Lawrence, another 23-year-old, founded Good People Inc: another sustainable marketplace, this time to compete with Amazon.

A screenshot of @TrashCaulin’s feed on TikTok displaying paused video clips. Samples of text, left to right: “@TrashCaulin [recycling symbol]; he; Pinned: DAY 204; Pinned: DAY 122; Pinned: DAY 23; DAY 216; DAY 215; DAY 214; Nature Lab; DAY 213; DAY 212.”
Caulin Donaldson's page on TikTok as @trashcaulin, courtesy of TikTok

Other gen Zs are jumpstarting recycling and sustainable initiatives. In Louisiana, Franziska Trautmann founded Glass Half Full: the state’s sole glass recycling facility, which uses glass-turned-to-sand to restore Louisiana’s eroding coastline. In Florida, 26-year-old Caulin Donaldson captures and posts his daily beach-garbage pick up to his 1.4 million TikTok followers. His positivity and love for the environment is contagious, and part of a large trend on the social media platform. As of the first week of August 2022, #climatechange has 2.7 billion views, #eco has 1.7 billion, and #ecotok, a community of climate advocates on TikTok, has nearly 550 million views.

A screenshot of Alaina Wood’s TikTok feed displaying paused video clips from her account @thegarbagequeen. Samples of text, left to right: “Alaina Wood, she/her/hers; Pinned: Leave no trace; Pinned: Don’t look up; Pinned: Good climate news.”
Alaina Wood's page on TikTok as @thegarbagequeen, courtesy of Tiktok

Several climate activists insist that it’s not too late—there’s still so much people around the world can do to put climate solutions in motion and keep them going. Alaina Wood, a 25-year-old sustainability scientist, believes the common doomsday “narrative needs to move on to solutions,” something she promotes on TikTok. With nearly 326,000 followers, @thegarbagequeen offers her audience a positive outlook and plausible solutions that followers can address in their own communities. She debunks misinformation about the future of climate change, celebrates legislative wins, and even fights for future legislation to improve the enforcement of recycling or reduce plastic use by local and larger governments in the UK.

The Intelligence Take

Gen Z’s attitude towards climate change efforts is shifting from pessimism to optimism, complimenting a growing pattern by brands to market to their consumers with unbounded optimism and playful positivity. After years of despair, fear, and anxiety, people are embracing the power of positivity. While taking the devastation and global environmental situation seriously, brands can encourage and empower consumers with climate optimism and collective direction for positive change.

Please provide your contact information to continue.

Before submitting your information, please read our Privacy Policy as it contains detailed information on the processing of your personal data and how we use it.

Related Content

HERO Lexus ES campaign happy mode

Euphoric ads

Moments of joy are keeping spirits high in brand advertising and engagement.
Read Article
HERO man wearing face mask 3966920

Prescribing positivity

In a world rife with uncertainty, fear and anxiety, people are looking to offset panic with positivity.
Read Article