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Press & Media

New survey shows students think climate should be Government's biggest priority

A hard-hitting climate change advertising campaign showing condoms covering a coal station chimney, a car exhaust and aeroplane engine will be launched in universities across the country this month as part of Friends of the Earth's The Big Ask campaign.

The launch of the ad campaign coincides with the publication of a new survey which shows that the majority of students think that climate change should be the Government's biggest priority, with 95 per cent agreeing it is an important issue - ahead of issues such as the war in Iraq, terrorism and student loans.

The Friends of the Earth campaign, funded by DEFRA, will run as a series of poster and table top ads in 30 university campuses throughout England. The campaign also features a website where students can play an addictive on-line game of skill, involving a polar bear hurling ice cubes at a gas guzzling 4x4. As well as learning more about climate change, players will also be invited to enter a prize draw to win a pair of inter-railing tickets.

The campaign, urging `Protection against Climate Change', aims to highlight that solutions to climate change do exist and that students have an important role in tackling it. Students are an important audience, as many of them will be tomorrow's decision makers.

Although Friends of the Earth's survey shows high student recognition that climate change is a problem, research shows that those aged between 18 and 22 are the least informed about the solutions.

Friends of the Earth director, Tony Juniper, said:

“Climate change is the biggest threat the planet faces. But the solutions to tackle it, such as alternative energy sources and energy efficient technologies, already exist, and there is still time to act. It's encouraging that so many students recognize the importance of tackling climate change. Tomorrow's climate is today's challenge, and students have a crucial role to play in ensuring that we move towards a low-carbon economy.”


Over 700 students were questioned by The Student Panel, carrying out research for Friends of the Earth. The survey revealed that:

  • 95 per cent agreed that climate change is an important issue (with 66 per cent “strongly” agreeing);
  • 95 per cent agreed that there are things we can do to tackle climate change;
  • 59 per cent agreed that Friends of the Earth is helping to tackle climate change

Students feel that not enough is being done to combat climate change. There were low satisfaction rating for action by Government (12 %), industry (7 %) and the public (8%).

Students also said that climate change should be the Government's biggest priority, ahead of terrorism, the war in Iraq, HIV and student loans.


Copies of the ad are available for reproduction at:

The campaign, aimed at students, has been funded by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) through its Climate Challenge Fund, which aims to promote understanding and awareness of climate change with a view to positively influence attitudes towards action to tackle it.

Friends of the Earth has developed the innovative campaign in partnership with leading ad agency, Clemmow Hornby Inge. The campaign launches on 29 January and runs for a four week period. It resumes again in April for a further four week period.

The advertising campaign will be delivered to 30 universities across England. Universities taking part in the scheme are:

Birmingham University

Brighton University

Bristol University

Coventry University

Derby University

Greenwich University

Hertfordshire University

Hull University

Leeds Metropolitan

Leeds University

Liverpool University

London Uni of the Arts

Loughborough University

Manchester University

Middlesex University

Newcastle College

Newcastle University

Northumbria University

Nottingham University

Oxford Brookes University

Plymouth University

Sheffield University

Southampton University

Southbank University

Surrey University

Thames Valley University

Uni of Central England - Birmingham

Uni of West England - Bristol

University College London (UCL)

Westminster University

2. Friends of the Earth's climate campaign, The Big Ask, was launched in 2005 by Radiohead frontman, Thom Yorke. One of the aims of The Big Ask campaign is to raise awareness of the issue and highlight the fact that sustainable solutions do exist.

3. Opinion Panel Research questioned 706 students at 60 Universities across England in November 2006.

The microsite has been developed by CHI and Friends of the Earth. Prize inter-railing tickets have been generously supplied by Rail Europe.

Examples of climate change solutions can be found at (PDF)

More information

The Big Ask -

Friends of the Earth -

DEFRA's Climate Challenge -

Clemmow Hornby Inge -

†To view PDF files you will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader. Visually impaired users can get extra help with these documents from

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.


Published by Friends of the Earth Trust