Caron Gremont
(202) 973-2940
[email protected]


How Environmentally Tuned-In Are Our Teens?

From the dinner table to the Web, teens take active interest in the future of our planet

Washington, DC – Parents may think their teens are absorbed in all things virtual, but a new national survey shows that teens are in touch with the environment. In fact, about 65 percent of American teens say they have participated in a community cleanup or other community environmental project. And, while they are online, teens are thinking about Mother Earth, with 43 percent saying they have searched the Web to learn about the environment.

The survey, which was conducted among teens age 12-17 by Opinion Research Corporation’s TEEN CARAVAN Omnibus Survey and sponsored by the Abundant Forests Alliance, indicates that this interest may be due to involved parents. More than half of the teens (55 percent) report that their parents have talked to them about things their families can do to help the environment.

TREES: The Original Source of “Green” As families turn their attention to “Green” issues—that is the state of the environment—a critical part of that discussion is the state of our forests. Forests play an invaluable role in the health of our environment. For instance, forests are crucial in removing carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. For every ton of wood a forest grows, 1.47 tons of carbon dioxide are removed from the air and replaced with 1.07 tons of oxygen.1 And, even when harvested, trees continue to keep their carbon out of the atmosphere for as long as the wood is in use.2

Educating teenagers—the next generation of environmental stewards—about this vital natural resource will lead to informed decision-making that will improve the quality of their lives in the future. Pertinent to this topic is understanding the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources. A renewable resource is one that can be replenished through natural and/or human processes. For instance, as a renewable resource, our forests can continually regrow themselves, especially when given proper management and care, and can be harvested sustainably. Nonrenewable resources exist only in limited amounts. For example, fossil fuels or natural gas, once used, cannot be replenished. Understanding the benefits of renewable resources will help the next generation make smart, environmentally friendly, choices every day.

Families Can Plant It ForwardSM
There are a number of things that families can do to Plant It Forward in their everyday lives. This happens every time an individual does something to renew, reuse or respect our forests. If everyone does just a few things to Plant It Forward at home, school or work, and encourages others to do so as well, it can make a great difference to the future of our forests and environment. For example,

  • Encourage children to visit elderly neighbors and offer to take their recycling to the curb. It’s a great way to teach children about being good neighbors and motivate others to recycle.
  • When carrying lunch to school or work, choose a brown paper bag rather than a plastic bag. They’re natural, recyclable and biodegradable.
  • Organize a class or family trip to a family-owned forest to learn about responsible forestry practices used by the more than 10 million family forest owners in the United States. Or, invite a local forester to visit a nearby school.
  • Families can teach children about trees by planting one in the backyard to care for together over the years.
  • Be a part of the Plant It Forward movement by visiting, where visitors can find hundreds of environmental activity ideas and can even share their favorites with friends.

Teens Are Leading The Way
The survey shows that teens are connecting with nature and taking action.

  • Approximately 79 percent of teens have visited a forest.
  • Seventy percent of teens have planted a tree.
  • Thirty-six percent of teens report being members of a club or organization that works to help the environment.
  • And, more than half (57 percent) have selected the environment as a topic for a school assignment.

Parents and teens can improve their knowledge and behavior when it comes to the environment this spring. Learn about more ways to Plant It Forward, by visiting

1. Society of American Foresters,
2. American Forest and Paper Association,

About the Abundant Forests Alliance
Members of the wood and paper products industry in the United States have formed the Abundant Forests Alliance. We share information with consumers and customers about the many ways our industry is helping to ensure that with proper care and management there will always be abundant forests. We also listen and respond to environmental concerns about our forests and products. Through sustainable forestry practices, improved recycling and new technologies, our industry is helping to maintain the delicate balance between supplying the wood and paper products people need and giving the forest what it needs to flourish. By working together to renew, reuse and respect our forest resources, we can balance the needs of people with the needs of nature so forests can remain abundant.

Our members include: Anthony Forest Products Company | Green Diamond Resource Company | The Westervelt Co.| International Paper | MeadWestvaco | Monadnock Paper Mills | Plum Creek Timber Company | Temple-Inland | Weyerhaeuser

About the Survey
The survey was conducted using Opinion Research Corporation’s TEEN CARAVAN Omnibus Survey. Telephone interviews were conducted from January 11-14, 2007 among a national sample of 510 teens comprising of 256 males and 254 females 12 to 17 years of age. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.4 percent.