According to a recent report, the American Academy of Pediatrics or the AAP urges climate change action for the sake of children, who are the most vulnerable group. The group requested that politicians and physicians work together to shield children against the health consequences brought by global warming.
Dr. Samantha Ahdoot of the Virginia Commonwealth School of Medicine and AAP senior member explained that we should have no other priority than protecting the future and health of our children.
Ahdoot added that climate change affects the world in which today’s children live and tomorrow’s adults would raise their families. She also said that children do not have a political voice since they aren’t allowed to vote. But we do have a ‘moral obligation to act on their behalf,’ Ahdoot also stated.
AAP’s recent report and policy statement underlines the direct effects of climate change that may harm children. For instance, extreme weather, such as floods and storms can kill, injure, and separate children from their parents. These events can also lead to mental health issues later in life.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, 5,000 children were separated from their caregivers, and authorities needed six months to reunite the last child with her parents. Additionally, up to 300,000 children had to leave their homes temporarily or for good because of the hurricane. This event affected their grades, behavior and mental health, the AAP reported.
Another risk factor is heat weaves which can cause the death of children or expose them to diseases. A recent study shows that death caused by heat waves among infants should increase by up to 8.7 percent by 2100. Plus, heat waves take their annual toll on high school athletes with 9,237 new cases of heat-related deaths or impairments.
Children are also at risk of developing respiratory diseases including asthma and allergies as the quality of air continues to decrease. Rising temperatures worldwide also contribute to the spread of diseases that otherwise were found only in tropical regions such as malaria and dengue fever. Lyme disease is one such example of disease that spread to the U.S. in the past decades amid rising temperatures.
And extreme temperatures also put at risk the food security of children especially n developing countries. Drought, floods, and loss of fertile land can severely alter crops. Greenhouse gas emissions can also alter the nutritional value of foods. For instance Co2 can lower the levels of proteins, zinc and iron in wheat and rice.
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