“From heat waves to hurricanes and unsafe air, the devastating effects of climate change have become all too common. But the realities of what climate change and environmental damage mean for young children and those who care for them are often hidden from view,” write Joan Lombardi and Estelle Berger.
Citing a report by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Climate Change and Children’s Health and Well-Being in the United States, they note that climate change has contributed to extreme heat, poor air quality, changes in seasonality, flooding, and different types of infectious diseases, all of which affect health, learning and behavior, especially among children.
Lombardi and Berger point out we need to act within the next few years to reduce carbon emissions and improve the environments where children live and grow.
“The good news is that awareness of climate and environmental issues is growing, and more and more people are getting involved in making change. With such awareness and action, hope grows…As we continue to raise awareness of the impact of climate on child development and family well-being, the organizations serving children and families, parent and youth voices, and the climate and environmental justice communities need to be partners for change. It is only together that change can happen, and hope can grow. There is so much we can do and not a moment to wait.”
The article cites a number of helpful resources on the intersection of early childhood and climate change.
You can also engage the issue first-hand in a live conversation with Sheldon Schaeffer and Elliot Haspel in the World Forum Global Café next Wednesday, September 27, at 11 am US Eastern time. (Register for free). The conversation will continue and deepen as a key theme at the 2024 World Forum on Early Care and Education in Vancouver, Canada, next April 16-19.
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