Children and the Climate Change Debate

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Drought impact
The topic of climate change and its potential impact on our world has spurned much debate in recent years. The Paris Climate Talks in December 2015 seemed to reignite the masses response to issues surrounding global warming.

What is particularly interesting to me is that rising temperatures and the increase in extreme weather phenomena impact our lives, but will in some cases forever alter the lives of our own children. Still, children don’t really have as much to do with climate change discussions, as they should.

I am pleased to see that Princeton University and the Brookings Institution has taken notice of this and recently published a paper calling for the world’s children to become a “central part of the climate change debate.”

As the Princeton report points out, by 2050 the world is expected to see as many as 200 million environmental migrants. A great number of these migrants will be children. An environmental migrant is someone who is forced to leave their home region because of sudden changes to their environment that could impact their wellbeing. Drought, flooding, and drastic fluctuations in sea level are some reasons for displacement.

The paper titled, “The Future of Children”, outlines how climate change will affect children’s health and wellbeing.

“When we consider that people today must pay the price of efforts to mitigate climate change but people in the future will reap the benefits, all of these uncertainties make it harder to decide how to balance future generations’ wellbeing against our own,” said Janet Currie who is the senior editor from Princeton.

Essentially the paper zeroed in on four specific themes – that climate change will alter earth in a way that threatens children’s physical and mental wellbeing, both today’s kids and future generations will bear the brunt of the burden created by global warming, poor children face the greatest risks, and uncertainties associated with climate change make it hard to enforce appropriate climate change policies.

The paper calls for much more research to determine the impacts of climate change – social, economic and health wise on our children.

For more information about “The Future of Children” publication click on the link below:



One thought on “Children and the Climate Change Debate

  1. A very relevant post, Teresa. Children should be engaged in this conversation; it’s their future. A wonderful quote says: “We don’t inherit the land from our parents. We borrow it from our children.”

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