Every time I look at my little daughter the question whether she is blessed or cursed to be born in this era constantly haunts my mind and I regret my question immediately! It even makes me angry when someone tells her that she has a bright future in this world with her smartness and intelligence. Despite being highly talented, working hard, dreaming big and striving for success she belongs to a generation of children who have been brought into a planet that’s fast collapsing-many countries are close to reaching day zero in water facilities, malnutrition rules worldwide, famine is predominantly present and health issues overpower everything else.
We can feel the sun getting hotter by the day, glaciers melting away and the rivers going dry. Climate change is causing a dire impact on people around the world with its worsening chronic diseases, deadly diseased insects and the common occurrence of the harmful heat waves. Cold and fever that vanishes in three days generally requires 5-7 days of antibiotic medications nowadays, heart diseases strike the young and we are becoming victims to a number of viral infections and diseases. The effects of climate change are unevenly distributed and kids exist as the most-harmed individuals of the lot, according to a new study published in the highly renowned medical journal ‘The Lancet’.
Kids: The Greater Victims of the Cruel Climate Change
Air pollution seems to be a global problem with most of the countries lacking pure air for breathing-one of the basic necessities for survival! It has been the reason behind the loss of millions of lives. This can be contributed to the rise in the number of personally owned vehicles, the absence of sustainable living practices and burning of fossil fuels such as coal that add to air pollution rates thereby affecting the lungs and hearts when inhaled by individuals. This causes climate change and the air pollution from fossil fuels that exist as driving factors to pose a threat to a kid’s health right from its formation in the mother’s womb and thereon. It’s the kids who are maximum threatened by climate change owing to their physiology (a child’s heart beat is much faster and breathing rates are higher which makes them absorb more polluted air compared to an adult). According to a clinical instructor at the Harvard Medical School, with every degree of warming, a child born unto this world today faces a future where their health and well-being are increasingly impacted by the realities and dangers of a warmer world-such as rise in low-birth-weight infants and presence of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma. Learn more about asthma and how it can disrupt quality of life of the individual by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com. Physicians show living proof of better health in kids belonging to previous decades-these children had better and more functioning lung tissue comparatively.
A kid born today might experience a world that’s warmer by 4 degrees that’s well above the 1 degree of warming we have experienced until now. These children are bound to eat yield procured from less nutritional crops and struggle more to make ends meet as working outdoors becomes a greater burden with rise in temperatures.
But the study also shows that there is still some hope left if action is taken immediately. First would be to try limiting warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, also the goal of the Paris climate agreement, and this requires the combined efforts of all countries of the world in order to shower benefits on all people, especially the younger generation. Old-modelled cars and engines are already being prohibited from functioning and the future would definitely pose a ban on petrol and diesel cars. Battery-operated transportation would be the only ray of hope. Individuals are also coming up with significant measures to improving global health via tracking high climate risk cities in different countries, calculating the spread of disease vectors and providing alternate solutions to help people cool off during extremely hot conditions.
Kids born today who should not suffer for no mistake of theirs are bound to suffer for the very mistake of ours! Remember, you and me have a role to play-what we do and how we act now can impact how hot the world would be around 2090 or 2100. Each of us born unto this world has a right to enjoy nutritious foods, the pleasant weather and the greenery and climate changes should not hinder our quality of life in any way. We must dedicate more resources into building a sustainable food system that’s sure to shower benefits on the future generations to come. Carpooling, using public mode of transportation, consuming more plant-based foods and curtailing air pollution are some ways in which we can contribute towards a greener planet and a healthier generation of kids who hold the keys to our future.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.
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