'Bad for the penguins ... because they need ice and that to live on': an exploratory study into the environmental views, concerns and knowledge of socially disadvantaged young people

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Environmental policies and practices have maintained a high status internationally, nationally and locally, but limited literature relates to the perspective of social disadvantage in England, with a particular under-representation of young people. The research presented in this paper has been driven by the supposition that a lack of knowledge and research into the views of socially deprived young people, and a lack of engagement with them at a policy level perpetuates the notion that such groups not only have a lack of environmental concern, but may also be seen to be part of the problem. However, exploring the local environmental comprehension of young people allows the assessment of their potential value in local decision-making processes. This research is of continuing relevance, as environmental issues are increasingly highlighted as a major concern for those who experience social disadvantage. This paper presents the findings of a research project conducted in 2008 with socially disadvantaged young people in a youth club setting and makes use of environmental images based on a range of themes. The core aims of this paper are to increase understanding about the environmental views, concerns and knowledge of socially disadvantaged young people, to contrast this understanding with existing evidence relating to socially disadvantaged adults, and then to consider any implications for participation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-168
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number2
Early online date25 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • environmentalism
  • youth culture
  • social class
  • citizenship
  • exclusion

Cite this