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ICRC survey finds majority of millennials see catastrophic war as real possibility

January 30, 2020

A survey of more than 16,000 millennials in 16 countries and territories last year – roughly half in peace, half experiencing conflict – commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) explored millennials’ views on conflict, the future of warfare and the values underpinning international humanitarian law, such as the use of torture against enemy combatants.

The results indicate that millennials are nervous about the future, and heightened tensions globally are likely to deepen these fears.

A plurality of respondents, 47 percent, think it’s more likely than not that there will be a third world war in their lifetime. And although 84 percent believe the use of nuclear weapons is never acceptable, 54 percent believe it is more likely than not that a nuclear attack will occur in the next decade.

Read the entire ICRC news release.


One Comment
  1. Mary-Wynne Ashford permalink
    February 7, 2020 1:32 pm

    This survey shows the disconnect between the knowledge of millennials about the actual consequences of a nuclear explosion and the urgent statements of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist. Dr. Jonathan Down and I have spoken to close to 2000 high school students in the past two years and have found that their conception of nuclear weapons comes from games, and thriller movies. They have deep anxiety about climate change and although they are shocked to learn about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, they seem to be in a state of overload.
    They cannot take on another existential threat.
    We are now focusing on raising their awareness of the successes of civil society to bring about major changes, and the important role of youth. The Bans on Landmines, B&CW and cluster munitions, the almost total eradication of polio (Rotary has spent $5 billion on this), the ICAN Treaty, and the ICC. We engage them with the ICAN Cities Appeal, and on sharing our powerpoints with other classes. We stress the enormous financial and environmental benefits of abolition of nuclear weapons. We have to talk much more about diplomacy because they see very little of that today. We are finding we need ongoing relationships with teachers and that it matters if we turn up at climate strikes led by youth.

    Our experiences with older audiences is similar in that they feel overwhelmed and unable to decide what issue is most important to address. Making them more alarmed about nuclear weapons seems to paralyze them, but asking them to do one small task like speaking to their town council seems to get them on board to do more.
    Mary-Wynne Ashford

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