Connecting countries to climate technology solutions
English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French Russian Spanish Yoruba

Climate change and children

Publication date:
Author:
A. Veneman
Type of publication:
Objective:
Approach:
Collection:

This publication seeks to give children a voice on climate change, which has become a growing concern for them. This paper discusses the effects of climate change on children and young people focusing in particular on the following issues: Natural Disaster, Disease, Water, Food Security, Trees, Energy, Action and Advocacy. The paper explains that the dramatic and harmful effects on the environment caused by climate change threaten the basic elements of life for people throughout the world, harming health and limiting access to water, food and land. Evidence is growing that climate change is contributing to the burden of disease. It has been estimated that climate change is responsible for approximately 2.4 per cent of worldwide diarrhoea and six per cent of malaria in some middle-income countries – diseases that disproportionately affect young children in developing countries. Moreover as rains fail, crops will wither and livestock will die, exposing children to starvation and diminishing water supplies for drinking and hygiene. Particularly a change in precipitation patterns is likely to affect the quality and quantity of water supplies, thus compounding the impact of poor water and sanitation, as well as malnutrition.
The paper continues to say that while the accelerating deterioration of the global environment has its most profound effect on children and young people, environmentally aware and empowered children and adolescents are potentially the greatest agents of change for the long-term protection and stewardship of the earth. Young people’s knowledge of water, environment and health is a largely untapped resource. The capacity of these young people to live in harmony with nature and to manage and maintain local water, air and land resources effectively is absolutely vital. However according to the paper increasing children’s and young people’s environmental awareness is not enough. For them to become effective agents of change, avenues must exist for their knowledge to be translated into advocacy and action. Programmes that promote children’s participation in local environmental initiatives that strengthen children’s clubs and networks, and that provide a voice for children in local, national and global development processes are all ways to help realise the potential of children to shape their own world.