Experts and university students expressed concern about the nation’s low environmental consciousness at a recent symposium in Tokyo.

Citing Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s campaign efforts to tackle climate change, Tohoku University professor Jusen Asuka warned of a lack of awareness about the issue in Japan.

“People should know more about the damage” from climate change, Asuka said at the symposium held Saturday.

A university student blamed a lack of environmental and civic education at schools for the low level of awareness. “Young people don’t dare to act to change society because they don’t think that actions can change society,” the student said.

The symposium, sponsored by a nonprofit organization, was attended by some 40 people. It coincided with a U.N. climate change conference being held in Madrid.

A graduate student studying environmental energy said that it is necessary to accept the fact that young people lack a sense of crisis. “The important thing is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without lowering the quality of everyday life using science and technology,” the graduate student said.

After the symposium, Minori Yoshimi, a 22-year-old environmental activist and Waseda University student, called on young people to raise awareness of climate change.

Young people “should strongly recognize that global warming is an issue that will directly impact everyday lives in the future,” Yoshimi said.

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