Global warming effects on children

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There is broad consensus that children may be especially vulnerable to the effects of global warming. According to Save the Children UK estimates, children are already bearing the brunt of climate change and there will be millions more caught up in climate-related natural disasters every year.


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  • With climate change, the earth’s geography also will change, leading to a host of health risks for kids. The result could be malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies and waterborne illness due to disruptions in the availability of food and water and the displacement of coastal populations.
  • The Save the Children[1] charity said up to 175 million children would be affected every year over the next decade by climate-related disasters like droughts, floods and storms.
  • Global warming is expected to cause mass migrations as regions become uninhabitable. Children fare very poorly in these major population shifts as they are more fragile medically and nutritionally. [2]

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Being society's vulnerable members, children would be hurt disproportionately, and millions more would be killed, forced from their homes or hit by hunger and disease. [3]

Because of their age, children have the least physical, political, intellectual, and therefore economic power available to affect the changes that can benefit themselves. They have very little and can do very little to change their plight in any way. In fact, they often find themselves fighting for their very survival while the adults around them wage wars over resources that leave them scrambling for scraps to survive.

The figure of 175 million children likely to be affected by climate change every year over the next one decade is 50 million a year more than in the 10 years prior to 2005 because being society's most vulnerable members means that children are hurt disproportionately, and that millions more will be killed, forced from their homes or hit by hunger and disease due to climate change if we do nothing to stop it.

The American Academy of Pediatricians [4] researchers say global warming exacerbates common childhood diseases such as asthma and allergies. Children are also at risk of losing a parent or caregiver due to extreme weather.

[edit] Effects global warming

According to the group's report, examples of the effects global warming could have on children's health include: [5]

  • Increased susceptibility to injury or death, posttraumatic stress, loss of caregiver, disrupted education and displacement as a result of weather events such as floods, hurricanes, and droughts.
  • Damage to lung function and growth due to increased air pollution.
  • Increased waterborne and food-borne illnesses, including infectious diarrhea, from increased temperatures and disrupted food supplies.
  • Increase in infectious diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks, such as West Nile virus, malaria, and Lyme disease.
  • Increased exposure and vulnerability to heat-related conditions such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

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  • Air pollution does more damage to children's lungs, causing asthma and respiratory ailments, because their lungs are still developing, they breathe at a higher rate than adults and are outdoors more. [2]
  • Waterborne diseases, such as diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems, hit children especially hard. These infections rise sharply with more rain, which is expected as the climate warms. [2]
  • As mosquitoes are able to move to higher ground, the malaria zone is expanding. Kids are especially vulnerable; 75% of malaria deaths occur in children younger than 5. [2]

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[edit] References:

  • Kids bear brunt of climate warming
  • Global Warming: Threat to Kids' Health
  • Children At Increased Risk From Effects Of Global Climate Change

[edit] Source

  1. Save the Children
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 USA TODAY
  4. American Academy of Pediatricians
  5. WebMD