Unusual winter has millennials concerned about climate change

by Reuters
Friday, 25 December 2015 10:00 GMT

A couple pose for a selfie in front of a large Christmas tree in Bryant Park during unseasonably warm weather on Christmas Eve in the Manhattan borough of New York, Dec. 24, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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"Climate change is clearly an issue! It's going to be 70° in DC on Christmas Day. If that's not proof, what is?

By Melissa Fares and Angela Moon

NEW YORK, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Unusual weather is dominating the conversation on social media for the holidays, especially among millennials, who are increasingly concerned about climate change.

Yik Yak, a location-based mobile app popular with millennials, surveyed its audience and found nearly 70 percent are worried about climate change. More than a quarter of them say their concern has grown due to the unusual winter weather this year.

In New York City, 65-degree-plus weather is predicted for Christmas Day, potentially breaking the record high of 64 degrees in 1982. In Europe, Alpine ski slopes are facing one of the warmest Decembers on record and even glacial Moscow has been chalking up above-zero thermometer readings.

That's led to a jump in the number of people posting about climate change on Yik Yak.

"Climate Change is clearly an issue! It's going to be 70 degrees in DC on Christmas Day... I mean if that's not proof, what is?" posted a Yik Yak user from Boulder, Colorado.

Another user from College Station, Texas, wrote: "I feel like more people should pay attention to it. It's a bigger deal than people make it out to be."

Of the 30 percent of respondents who said they were not concerned about climate change, 18 percent said they did not know or did not care about the issue, while just 9 percent thought it was myth.

About 6 percent said unusual weather was just a part of the earth's natural process, according to Yik Yak.

Nearly 21,000 users participated in the poll. Yik Yak polls are often used to discuss hot topics among millennials, such as Star Wars or Netflix binge-watching.

The app turned to the serious topic of climate change after Saturday's U.S. Democratic presidential debate prompted an outpouring of Yik Yak user frustration that there were no questions about global warming and climate change.

According to the environmental advocacy group NextGen Climate, 74 percent of voters under 35 - approximately 80 million of whom are eligible to vote in 2016 - said they would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate with a plan to tackle climate change.

About 63 percent of young voters said they would be more likely to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton if she supports clean energy goals, NextGen Climate said, based on results of a survey done in September. (Reporting by Angela Moon and Melissa Fares; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Unusual winter has millennials concerned about climate change

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