It’s his first minute in a brand-new world, and he’s taking in big gulps of the air that will sustain him for the rest of his life. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could promise him a childhood—and a lifetime—filled with clean, fresh, breathable air? If we don’t act now to find a viable, global solution to air pollution and climate change, that’s a promise we can’t keep—and the one baby gift he truly needs will be denied.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, for one. They issued a report within the last two years stating that children are especially at risk from the effects of climate change. Babies and children are more susceptible to heat, toxins, etc. because their immune systems are not fully developed.
The overarching message in the report: Anticipated direct health consequences of climate change include injury and death from extreme weather events and natural disasters, increases in climate-sensitive infectious diseases, increases in air pollution-related illness, and more heat-related, potentially fatal, illness.
- Air pollution does more damage to children’s lungs, causing asthma and respiratory ailments, because their lungs are still developing, they breathe at a higher rate than adults and are outdoors more.
- Waterborne infections, such as diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems, hit children especially hard. These infections rise sharply with more rain, which is expected as the climate warms.
- As mosquitoes are able to move to higher ground, the malaria zone is expanding. Kids are especially vulnerable; 75% of malaria deaths occur in children younger than 5.
Here’s how you can start giving…
- Do not burn leaves and other yard waste.
- Take public transit, Rideshare, walk or bike.
- Use a charcoal chimney instead of lighter fluid when grilling.
- Turn off and unplug electronics.
- Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Every baby, every child, all of us would benefit from the gift of clean, breathable air and a stable climate. It’s a gift we can give each other—and to every baby born anywhere in the world. It’s a keepsake that would better their lives and last forever.
To learn more, visit: https://www.pewclimate.org/