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. Continue reading

Climate Change Effects More Visible in Women and the Poverty-stricken

by Patrick Quarberg

Writing about the societal effects of climate change in 2002, Fatma Denton posited that women are more likely to be exposed to poverty in developing countries than men are, climate change will affect men and women differently. This is based on the idea that people in poverty do not have the willingness or means to address or cope with climate change. Denton thinks that social changes brought by climate change will increase gender welfare disparities, introducing a swath of new social issues. Therefore, it is wise to prepare to preemptively counteract these changes, so that a larger section of the population is able to deal with climate change. Continue reading

How Climate Change Is Causing Global Conflict

by Patrick Quarberg

People in lesser developed countries are more likely to move out of climate change-affected areas and cause conflict, a study by Rafael Reuveny (2007) finds. Developing countries face serious threats due to climate change, such as severe scarcity in the food and water supply. These fundamental issues cause larger numbers of people to leave the country. Reuveny analyzes this from an economic perspective. That is, when the net benefit of staying in a place is overshadowed by the net cost, people—especially in developing countries—are inclined to leave that area or country. The displacement of many people leads to greater conflicts in a few ways. Increased competition for resources in the receiving country lead to increased tension and conflict. If displaced people are of a different ethnicity than the people of the receiving country, this effect is amplified. If the trend of migration continues for long enough, the host country’s citizens develop a tradition of distrust for anyone from that country, prolonging the struggle of the migrants and providing an opportunity for conflicts in the future. A final contributing agent to conflict is when migrants move on so-called “fault lines”, which can be any sort of large change in way life. For example, migrants who move to an urban area from a rural area experience greater tension and conflict due to the transition. Continue reading