A recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics urges leaders to think of the children when considering action on climate change.
Climate change affects every single person on the planet, but few people have it worse off than the children of today. According to a press release from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the group has urged pediatricians and political leaders to consider the effects on the incoming generation of Earth-inhabitants while considering appropriate climate action.
The policy statement was titled “Global Climate Change and Children’s Health,” and updated a statement from 2007 to reflect our current understanding of climate change. The report acknowledges humans’ role in climate change, and cited a WHO statistic that states more than 88 percent of the additional disease burden placed on global populations by climate change falls on children under the age of 5.
The statement asserts that children are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and that leaders have a moral imperative to consider these children when drafting climate policy.
According to Samantha Ahdoot, the lead author of the recent policy statement, “Children are uniquely at risk to the direct impacts of climate changes like climate-related disaster–including floods and storms–where they are exposed to increased risk of injury, death, loss of or separation from caregivers and mental health consequences.
“They are also more vulnerable to the secondary impacts of global warming, like disease. For example, Lyme disease affects approximately 300,000 Americans each year, with boys, ages 5 to 9, at greatest risk. Climate warming has been linked to northern expansion of Lyme disease in North America, putting more American children at risk of this disease.”