The Impacts of Climate Change on Children

by Ethan Kurz

When thinking about climate change, usually children do not come to mind. However, according to Rema Hanna and Paulina Oliva (2016), children in developing countries are an important aspect to remember when discussing climate change. Climate change is more dangerous to children in developing countries than in developed countries because of the developing countries’ limited social safety nets, extreme poverty, poor or no health care systems, and weak governments unable to help the poorest of the poor adapt to climate change. Children in developing countries already start off at a disadvantage, and climate change just increases the difficulty in raising a healthy and thriving child. Most of the population in developing countries relies on agriculture for income. With climate change and the resulting new extreme weather patterns, agriculture becomes even less reliable as an income source. A drought could cut off the chances of a child getting medical attention because the family cannot afford it. Children in developing countries also face greater risks of interaction with air or water pollutants. Because of the lack of a strong central government or regulation, children in developing countries have fewer things protecting them from airborne and waterborne contaminants. They also face threats from more parasitic diseases, plagues, and anything that can be contributed to changes in weather pattern or climate change.

According to Hanna and Oliva, the international community must come together to help shield children from threats due to climate change. But, the international community must also respect each nation’s sovereign rights. Some policies that should be developed include funding of research, creating more weather resistant crops creating better access to clean water, and help developing countries create safety net programs for all of their citizens. If we come together as a globe, we have a chance of helping the most in need.

Hanna, R. & Oliva, P., 2016. Implications of Climate Change for Children in Developing Countries. The Future of Children, vol. 26 no. 1, pp. 115-132. <https://muse.jhu.edu/article/641237/pdf&gt;.

 

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