Question box #7/8
On the contrary, I would not be ready to give up the following things
Photo: Mike Von
Among the sacrifices that young people are not willing to make, there are many macro-themes that are mirror images of the potential sacrifices highlighted in the previous question. Through their answers, young people from all over the world sketch out a treasure map, depicting love for friends and family, attachment to personal ambitions, and respect for values and beliefs, all anchored in an unshakable imperative: well-being. We should note that this question received fewer contributions than the previous question.
At the core of this whirlwind of responses, there is one constant: young people categorically refuse to sacrifice their personal relationships. Family and friends—an irreplaceable emotional linchpin—account for no fewer than 20% of these instances.
Personal ambitions are another area of permanence, accounting for 17%. These ambitions constitute the framework for their future life paths. They reflect hopes and dreams that young people do not want to see fade away.
Well-being is another aspect that a significant proportion of participants (16%) are unwilling to sacrifice. It manifests itself as happiness, physical and mental health, balance, and security—all fundamental aspects that form the bedrock of their personal fulfillment. This is coupled with the desire to maintain their lifestyle, whether this relates to their personal consumption (14%) or to their activities (13%).
However, analysis reveals some interesting paradoxes. While family relationships, well-being, and physical health are the main areas in which young people are not willing to make sacrifices, material consumption (food, cars, technology, etc.), certain activities (travel, hobbies, and passions), and personal ambitions are variously cited both as aspects to sacrifice and aspects to maintain. This dichotomy highlights the difficult dilemma in which these young people find themselves, torn between the needs of the present and their desires for sustainable futures.
Overview of the main themes
You will find below a graph in which you can navigate to learn more about the themes brought by the participants. Each theme (also called “cluster”) relates to an idea expressed by participants. There are two types of clusters: macro-clusters, which relate to more general categories, and sub-clusters, which break down the ideas into finer detail and are attached to macro-clusters. The percentages displayed correspond to the number of participants who have written about this theme among all participants who answered the question. For readability, only clusters cited by more than 1% of participants are displayed.
The representation below is dynamic: tap or click on the boxes to see the clusters in detail. You can also use the filters.
Differences between world regions
To give up or not to give up: Intra-societal tensions in western youth and contrasts with the rest of the world
Comparing responses by region reveals multiple contradictions, reflecting the diverse viewpoints of young people, particularly the differences that exist between the West and the rest of the world. In North America and in Europe and Central Asia, i.e. in the West, material consumption is the leading aspect that young people are unwilling to sacrifice. While in question 6, 28% to 40% of young Westerners say they are willing to give up consumer goods such as mass consumption, plastic, or cars, in this question, 24% to 26% of young Westerners say they are unwilling to give up material consumption, with the main aspects being food and drink, the comfort of home, and cars.
This simultaneous willingness and unwillingness to sacrifice material consumption reveals a strong lack of consensus and highlights the tensions at play within societies themselves. While some young people from the West want to make profound lifestyle changes, most likely in the hope of seeing improvements in the environmental situation, others in that same group are unwilling to make such sacrifices on a personal level.
Further south, young people from Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa demonstrate a firmer attachment to their identities and beliefs or to their personal values and virtues. These aspects serve as crucial beacons in their lived experiences, in contrast with the concerns expressed in Western countries.
Tap or click on the boxes to see the clusters in detail. You can also use the filters to compare regions.
Some remarquable answers from the entire world
Question #8: Why?
Although participants mentioned certain aspects that they are willing to give up to achieve the future they seek, there are other areas in which they are not willing to make concessions. The question “Why?,” which follows the question “However, I would not be ready to give up the following things,” allows them to explain why they are unwilling to give up the aspects they mentioned.
Generally, some reasons are found more often than others in contributions to this question. Regardless of the topic discussed—whether personal (family and loved ones, personal ambitions, personal qualities) or societal (environment, commitment)—there are two main reasons given: “because it’s so important” (43%) and “because it’s essential to me” (21%). These reasons account for almost two thirds of answers from participants worldwide. Thirteen percent of participants explain that making certain sacrifices would be difficult because those aspects are a source of enjoyment for them.
Some reasons are found across all themes. However, there are differences depending on the topic being discussed. For example, 16% of participants who responded to “I would not be ready to give up”: with “my family and friends” mention the support that their family and inner circle provide. However, support is not mentioned in other themes, such as consumption or the environment.
Of participants who answered the previous question, 20% say they are not willing to give up their family or loved ones. As with other themes, the majority of respondents answered “because it’s so important” and “because it’s essential to me” (45% and 16% of participants respectively). Sixteen percent also state that their loved ones are a source of support for them. Finally, 14% of respondents mention their attachment through themes such as “I love them” and “they make me happy.”
Seventeen percent of participants who responded to the previous question do not want to give up their personal ambitions. Mirroring the other themes, “because it’s so important” and “because it’s essential to me” occupy the top spots and are represented in the same general orders of magnitude: 47% and 26%.
“Because I enjoy it” is the third most common reason, with 9% of respondents giving this answer. “Because it defines who I am” was given by 6% of participants. “Because it helps to create a better world” is the fifth most common reason, given by 5% of participants.
Sixteen percent of participants who answered question 7 are unwilling to sacrifice their well-being. It is worth noting that “because it’s important” and “because it’s essential to me” (48% and 23% respectively) are mentioned slightly more frequently in this theme than in others (by 7 out of 10 participants compared to an average of 65%). The third reason mentioned is the fact that this aspect is a source of enjoyment for them (“because I enjoy it”), a sentiment shared by 17% of respondents.
Fourteen percent of participants say they are unwilling to give up their consumption of material goods because they are important or even fundamental needs for them (56% of these participants). Seventeen percent gave more personal reasons as follows: for 13%, it is a source of enjoyment (“because I enjoy it”) and for 2% of participants, it is a question of identity (“it defines who I am”), followed by other less common reasons such as “it’s my dream, my passion” or “I want to discover the world.”
Some reasons are found regardless of the region. In general, the majority of participants gave “because it’s so important” and “because it’s essential to me” as their reasons. However, there are certain differences between regions. Using the World Bank’s regional classification system, we see that within the Latin America and the Caribbean region, the reason “because I enjoy it” is a very close second to “because it’s essential to me.” Almost 15% of the region’s participants who answered this question gave this reason.
Another significant element, this time for the Middle East and North Africa region, is the reason “it defines who I am,” given by one fifth of participants, ahead of “because it’s essential to me” and “because I enjoy it.”
Interviews from all over the world
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