Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action

“It is clear that a failure to address climate change is a failure to protect children,”- UNICEF UK director David Bull. Climate summits, conventions and conferences across national and international borders have helped establish that human behaviour has largely contributed to the climate crisis we face today. Climate change we realise is not a distant prospect, it is happening here and now. While the world and India in particular, is struggling with problems of poverty, education, health, sanitation and nutrition, what we choose not to see is the interconnectedness and the multiplier effect that climate change has on all these problems. Climate change is not only restricted to the erratic change in seasons but also contributes to the risk of migration, lack of education, slow development, malaria, diarrhoea, hunger and malnutrition amongst children. ‘At its very core, climate change is not just an environmental issue. It is an issue of rights, with the the rights of children at the centre.’ We’ve seen images of the floods in Chennai, cyclone in Tripura, earthquake in Kutch and the cloud burst in Uttarakhand. We’ve witnessed first hand hotter summers, colder winters, unpredictable monsoons, increased floods, droughts, earthquakes, pollution and an overwhelming change in our environment. What we choose to ignore is the frequency of natural calamities and their increasing effects on the vast majority of people, especially our children.

What’s our call to action?

Children, more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than any other population group, should loom large in climate change policy,research and action. While the challenge is huge, India has started taking its first tentative steps, as is evident from its actions in Delhi, to show it cares for its youngest citizens and that it means business in its promise to prevent further damage. We need to follow it up in other towns, other areas and ensure both short and long-term goals are met. We need to ensure specific needs of our children are at the centre of these plans. Failing this, we’re in for some rough weather! Here’s an attempt to build a picture of what climate changes means for children of today and tomorrow:

Loss of life and family members during severe climatic conditions and natural disasters…

Photo- Nina masih, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- Nina masih

The trauma of having to live through devastating experiences impacting their emotional and mental well-being…

Photo- Parth Sanyal/Reuters, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- Parth Sanyal/Reuters

Contribution to economic stability owing to loss of land and livelihood of family members…

 

Photo- Steve McCurry, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- Steve McCurry

Living the life of a refugee or migrant… in camps, make-shift homes or on the streets of new towns and cities…

 

Photo- RJ Clicks, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- RJ Clicks

 

Always on the move… with no permanent homes..

 

Photo- RJ Clicks, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- RJ Clicks

 

Inhuman living circumstances… having to fight for their basic rights…

 

Photo- IndiaCSR, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- IndiaCSR

 

Restricted access to education…

 

Photo- IFAD, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- IFAD

 

Exposure to pollution, green house emissions, contaminated water amongst others…

 

Photo- Getty Images
Photo- Getty Images

 

Limited access to water and sanitation…

 

Photo- Water.org, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- Water.org

 

And almost no food security…

 

Photo- RJ Clicks, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- RJ Clicks

 

Compounding their vulnerability to diseases and deteriorating health conditions…

 

Photo- Unknown, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- Unknown

All of which add up to a crippled childhood for our future generation- a result of irresponsibly managed climate change.

 

Photo- PTI, Our Climate, our Children, our Call to action | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo- PTI
Photo Credits : Caisii Mao/NurPhoto/Corbis

Words By : Leher

Leher

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