What does Global Warming mean for our Kids and Grandchildren
All-consuming wildfires are currently out of control in some parts of Australia, bringing devastation upon Australian families and shocking the world. As of January 6, 2020, it is estimated that between 12 and 14 million acres have been burned in the country. With these fires claiming the lives of at least 20 people. Families are emotionally spent after close to 1,600 homes have been lost across the state this bushfire season. Our Volunteer and trained Firefighters have saved more than 10,000 homes, bringing reprieve to some grateful families.
2019 – Australias hottest year on record
Simultaneously, Australia experienced its hottest day on record on December 18th 2019, when the average maximum temperature climbed to 41.9° Celsius in the country.
Climate scientists agree that global warming is causing global average temperatures to rise, which in turn is making catastrophic climatic events, like droughts and wildfires, more severe and more frequent. According to data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the rise of mean surface temperatures has been steeper in Australia than in the world on average.
Because they are still growing, children are at greatest risk of injury, disability and death caused by the impacts of climate change. They are less equipped physically, mentally and emotionally to cope with life-threatening conditions. It’s obvious that the greatest killers of children include malnutrition, diarrhoeal disease and malaria and these will get worse as a result of climate change, especially for those children living in developing countries, due to their extremely low poverty limits and their ability to respond.
Heatwaves can affect your Pregnancy
It’s a fundamental role to protect our children and provide a safe and nurturing environment for them. From early pregnancy, through childhood, to adulthood and independence, we prioritise care and safety for our children above all else.
The effects of our warming planet can even begin before birth, with evidence that exposure to heatwaves and air pollution during pregnancy can result in babies being born too small, which influences health throughout life.
Eczema and Asthma can be caused by the effects of global warming
Doctors increasingly see patients whose eczema, a type of allergic skin disease, gets out of control on days of extreme heat or air pollution. Many children already cannot safely play outdoors on days with poor air quality or on very hot days, like those we’re experiencing with greater frequency here is Australia.
Australian Doctors have launched a new campaign called ‘No Time For Games’ in response to the IPCC advice that deep emissions cuts are needed by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C. They are doing this as doctors because a rise in temperature by this much will dramatically increase the nature of extreme weather and therefore, danger the health of our children. Our Doctors are calling upon all governments and institutions to recognise it is also their responsibility to take the necessary action required to protect our country’s health.
Australia is a wonderful country to bring up children, let your children play outside when safe today. Let them splash in the ocean by the beach and walk in the rainforests. Encourage your children to appreciate the nature that we have.
With thanks to
Professor Fiona Stanley is a doctor, epidemiologist, founder of the Telethon Kids Institute and former Australian of the Year.
Dr George Crisp is a Perth GP and former WA Chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia.