School children driving UK green agenda…all the way to Brussels

23 Nov 2011

• 86% of 10-12 year olds incorporate protection of the environment into daily lives• 64% believe the lifestyles of their parents and grandparents have negatively impacted on the environment• Eurostar invites young environmental champions to present their views at European Parliament
Children as young as ten are taking more interest in protecting the environment than adults, according to new research by Eurostar, the high-speed passenger rail service between the UK and mainland Europe.
Almost nine out of ten (86%) 10-12 year olds incorporate the protection of the environment into their daily lifestyle, from turning lights off to cycling to school, versus just 65% of 18-34 year olds.
The study of over 1000 young people also revealed a stark realisation amongst nearly two thirds (64%) of this generation that the lifestyle of their parents and grandparents has negatively impacted the environment they are growing up in. For a generation brought up during the boom in low-cost air travel, their interest in the environment could be attributed in part to high levels of education on climate change - 79% have been taught this topic at school.
Naomi Wilkinson, CBBC Presenter and President of the Young People's Trust for the Environment, is on board to help recognise this new generation of young environmental champions. Eurostar is offering five children a unique opportunity to win the chance to present their views on sustainable travel and the environment to MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels. To enter the competition, young people aged between 10 and 18 simply need to upload a short video clip sharing their views at from the 24th November 2011.
Naomi Wilkinson commented: "It's fantastic that Eurostar is taking the time to recognise this new generation of environmental champions by inviting them to share their views with MEPs at the European Parliament. In my role as President of the Young People's Trust for the Environment, I've had the pleasure of meeting a number of inspirational young people over the years, with an impressive knowledge of the environment - I am sure we will see some interesting and lively opinions being put forward."
Today marks the start of a new partnership between Eurostar and The Young People's Trust for the Environment - a national charity encouraging young people's understanding of the environment and the need for sustainability. The three-year partnership to support free accessible education on the environment to a further 15,000 children forms part of Eurostar's Tread Lightly programme of initiatives, designed to reduce the business' impact on the environment and encourage consumers to think differently about the way they travel.
The research also showed that young people have a strong sense of responsibility to protect the planet which extends beyond their daily lifestyle to their family's holiday travel choices:
• More than three quarters (81%) of 10-18 year olds understand that their choice of transport for travel abroad (with or without their family) can negatively impact climate change.• Half of this age group (50%) correctly identified the train as the most environmentally friendly way to travel between the UK and mainland Europe.
With over a third (41%) of this jetset generation already taking two or more trips abroad per year, their preference for green living can only be good news for the UK's carbon emissions reduction targets.
Peter Bragg, Head of Environment and Energy for Eurostar commented: "With more people travelling abroad from a younger age, it is crucial that we continue to raise awareness of the sustainable travel options available. The results of this new study are very positive, demonstrating how today's young people are leading the way in driving the green agenda. We're delighted to work with the Young People's Trust for the Environment to celebrate these young environmental champions and to continue to inspire the next generation of decision makers to act responsibility when it comes to the environment."
Peter Littlewood, Director of the Young People's Trust for the Environment said: "There has probably never been a more urgent need for young people to learn about environmental issues and it's heartening to see that they do seem to be taking that message on board. Future generations have to become more environmentally responsible and and it's fantastic to have Eurostar supporting our work."
Note to editors:Online survey by Toluna based on sample of over 1,000 young people aged 10-18 living in the UK. Fieldwork: 26th October – 2nd November 2011.
Additional data taken from online survey by Toluna based on sample of over 1,000 adults living in the UK. Fieldwork: 14th – 15th November 2011.
About the competition1. To enter, children simply need to upload a short video (1-2 minutes in length) of themselves sharing their views on sustainable travel and the environment, along with 100 words on why they should be chosen to .2. The competition is open to children aged 10 to 18 years of age.3. The competition opens today (24th November) and runs until the 29th February 2012.4. Five winners will be chosen by a judging panel consisting of representatives from the YPTE and Eurostar by the 9th March 2012.5. The trip to Brussels will take place in 2012, with travel supplied by Eurostar for the winning child and their parent or guardian.6. For full terms and conditions, visit
About Eurostar's Tread Lightly Programme:1. Eurostar launched its environmental plan, Tread Lightly, in 2007 and has committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 35% per traveller journey by 2012. Eurostar is on track to achieve this original carbon reduction target (35% reduction in emissions per traveller journey by 2012)2. Eurostar is also embarking on a ground breaking study to measure its entire carbon footprint including its supply chain and other areas outside its immediate business making changes where necessary3. In June, Eurostar announced the next phase of its Tread Lightly programme, by introducing stretching new carbon reduction targets (25% reduction in wider Eurostar business emissions by 2015)4. In partnership with the Ashden Awards, Eurostar is launching the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel promote local sustainable travel initiatives in UK, France and Belgium and to inspire others to think differently about the way they travel5. Since 2007, Eurostar has progressed well on its 10-point plan to reduce other environmental impacts of its business, including:a. Diverting approximately 11,000 tonnes of onboard train waste from landfill (to recycling or waste to energy)b. Almost achieved zero waste to landfill. In 2007, 45% of UK waste was sent to landfill. In 2010, we had reduced this to only 1.6%c. Removing ticket wallets & timetables has saved 87 tonnes of paper per yeard. Recycling approximately 90% of the water used to wash Eurostar trainse. Partnering with the UK recycled apparel manufacturer, Worn Again, to up-cycle Eurostar staff uniforms into saleable items and Train Managers' bags which are currently being distributed to on-board crew
For more information contact:
Eurostar Press OfficeEurostart:0044 (0)20 7843