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Millennials: We care more about the environment

A solid majority of millennials say the earth is getting warmer -- and they believe humans are to blame.
Students protesting against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline chant slogans in front of the White House, March 2, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Students protesting against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline chant slogans in front of the White House, March 2, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Millennials say they are more focused on the environment than their parents’ generation, 76% to 24%, according to a new poll.

The poll -- commissioned by the Clinton Global Initiative and Microsoft, and provided exclusively to msnbc -- found that 66% of millennials say there is “solid evidence” the earth is getting warmer, and 75% of those respondents say human activity is responsible for it.

The survey aimed to identify millennails' top priorities, and it coincides with this weekend's Clinton Global Initiative University conference at Arizona State University, where students from across the country are gathering to focus on global issues, including climate change, education and food security. 

"The students who come to CGI University are passionate and driven, and their Commitments to Action are proposals to address their generation's greatest challenges. Their impressive work has the potential to affect real change," former President Bill Clinton said in a statement to msnbc Saturday.

These commitmenets—a key part of CGI's mission—are projects each conference attendee promises to complete. One notable example: A soccer ball, called SOCCKET, that generates energy simply by being kicked around.

But despite the weekend's air of optimism, millennials are unsure they can solve the problem of climate change, according to the poll. Fifty-four percent of millennials feel they’ll make a significant contribution to better the environment, while 57% believe they’ll actually worsen the earth's condition in their lifetimes.

Respondents were also divided on the best route to address global warming: half said governments and political action, and half said individuals can best combat it on their own.

But more than two-thirds of respondents said they are willing to pay more for products from sustainability-focused companies.

The poll highlighted one issue that might impede progress from the millennial generation.

“While millennials describe their generation as more ambitious than their parents’ generation (59% to 41%), they view themselves as far less hard-working (24% to 76%),” a press release announcing the poll said. 

The poll found more than half of the respondents optimistic about their chances at improving the state of human rights during their lifetimes. Millennials also appear to be optimistic that they can fix gender income inequality, with 69% of respondents saying they think their generation will make progress in closing the pay gap between men and women.