Climate change concern among youth: Examining the role of civics and institutional trust across 22 countries




Climate, Environmental Education, Civic Engagement, Trust, International Assessment


Although scholars have long documented perceptions of climate change and the public’s evolving response to the perceived risk it poses, only more recently have these analyses begun to examine youth and their views of the issue. Given that education has traditionally been considered a long-term strategy to promote sustainability among youth, this article conducts a cross-national and comparative study of students from 22 countries to evaluate factors commonly associated with youth perceptions of climate change as a threat to the world’s future. In doing so, this study finds that promoting institutional trust and civic knowledge may increase student climate change concern to a greater degree than other, more emphasized, curricular and co-curricular environmental school opportunities. These new findings reveal potential pathways for future climate change education research, policy, and practice to help promote greater climate awareness and action among youth.


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Author Biography

Erika Lyn Kessler, Teachers College, Columbia University

Erika Kessler is a doctoral candidate in the Comparative and International Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Erika is also a research associate at the Teachers College Center for Sustainable Futures. Her research explores social movements in education and the role of youth, teachers, and civil society actors in generating broader social change. Her research interests focus on topics such as climate change education, civics engagement, and international-large scale assessments. She was previously a co-PI on Dr. Oren Pizmony-Levy’s Ranking Storm project that examined how international large-scale assessments interact with and participate in public discourse on educational policy.

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How to Cite

Kessler, E. L. (2021). Climate change concern among youth: Examining the role of civics and institutional trust across 22 countries. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(August - December), 124.



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