Climate-related experiences and harms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: results from a survey of 152,088 Mexican youth
Scientific Reports, 13:16549, 1–9 (2023)
The dual crises of COVID-19 and climate change are impacting the lives of adolescents and young people as they transition to adulthood in an uncertain world, yet they are often excluded from research and political discourse. We surveyed young people about their needs and experiences, critical to engaging them and designing effective programs and policies to address these intersecting harms. The 2022 round of a national online survey through the Violence Outcomes in COVID-19 Epoch (VoCes) Study surveyed 152,088 Mexican youth (15–24 years). Logistic regressions were implemented to identify characteristics associated with four climate responses (economic, work-related, receiving government support, or social network support). Overall, 8.1% of participants experienced a recent climate hazard, with major impacts including housing damage from floods, and crop/livestock losses from drought. Participants who experienced a climate hazard were more likely to have experienced a pandemic-related harm, suggesting a dual impact. Poor youth were more likely to report economic losses from both the pandemic and a climate event but least likely to receive government support. Economic effects from the pandemic are exacerbating climate-related harms, unequally threatening the poorest youth. Engaging young people in decision-making and supporting the most vulnerable youth is critical for the next generation to thrive.