As part of Unicef’s recent Outright campaign, our P6s spent much of last term learning about climate change and how it affects children’s rights to advocate for adaptations that protect them. As part of this, they wrote ‘good luck’ letters to the UK Minister for Energy, Security & Net Zero in the UK Government ahead of the Minister’s attendance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.
With the conference ending in December, have a read of some of our pupils’ points, highlighting why action needs taken sooner rather than later:
Global goal health and wellbeing is something to seriously consider - 146 countries are on track to reduce the mortality rate for under 5s to 0.025% but please note, one woman dies every 2 minutes due to illnesses linked to pregnancy and childbirth. This is really bad for the world's population.
I think that gender equality is very important - 119 countries were studied and 55% lacked laws to protect against female discrimination. Although child marriage has declined from 21% in 2016 to 19% in 2022, this issue still needs addressed.
It is crucial that we achieve a world of no poverty. Globally there has been a progressive decline in deaths due to poverty-stricken disasters but in 2022, 8.4% of the world’s population were living in extreme poverty.
Did you know that for every 100,000 children born worldwide, 227 mothers die in childbirth? In addition 381 million people have been pushed even deeper into extreme poverty due to healthcare payments. This global goal is number SDG 3: good health and wellbeing and I think you should really consider it.
For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, there is £4.30 saved in healthcare costs for individuals and society. However in 2022, 2.2 billion people lacked safely managed drinking water. Without a doubt people will become unwell if you don’t do something about it. This is global number SDG 6: clean water and sanitation.
Even though the global population with access to electricity increased from 87% in 2015 to 91% in 2021, 675 million people still do not have access to electricity. Four fifths of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa and if people don’t have clean water, they will not be able to go to school - they will be ill.
Climate change is getting worse and multiple areas in Europe are being affected by extreme temperatures, high winds, snow storms and floods. We are lucky to live on earth (most specifically as part of the Western World) and shouldn’t be taking that for granted - a place where we have water, food, supplies and everything we need to survive. Without earth, humans will become extinct.
Similarly, we need to stop keeping our lights on, littering, burning coal, oil and gas. If we don’t, climate change will be so bad that by 2030, it will be irreversible - the temperature may rise up to 1.5°C (2.7°F) and wildfires may happen. Due to climate change, children are losing out on their education and their physical and mental health are getting more severe. I firmly believe that this is the strongest issue facing the UK and other places.
In the North and South Pole, climate change is causing ice to decay, killing polar bears and penguins - both of which are increasingly at risk of becoming extinct. Sadly, more than one million species face extinction. Climate change needs to be less horrific - we need to get past the point where it's going to end us.
We know that previous generations have ignored and neglected the environment. This has caused the current and future generations to be severely impacted. If very little is done quickly, the children of the future may have nothing left.
We have seen on the news and social media the impact that climate change has had. Schools across Europe have needed to close due to snow storms and dangerous flooding. This impacts children’s learning. In Scotland, there is regular flooding in parts of the country that continues to cause disruption to people’s lives, year in and year out.
Furthermore, global warming is continuing to have serious implications on many aspects of our lives. As the Earth heats up, crops and farmers continue to struggle to produce food for the global market. This has a knock on effect for the world's population and food consumption. The less food we have, the more that people will go hungry. Is this what you want?
The impact from climate change is affecting how hot it is in the Summer and the extreme weather including floods and storms. In September, there have been extensive heat waves averaging around 30° daily here in the UK. Similarly, because of car fumes, children are now having to breathe in polluted air everyday.
This extreme weather is affecting children's rights around the world every day due to droughts, floods, heatwaves and storms. These extremities mean that some children have to take boats to school while other children are forced to drink dirty water because of droughts. A lot of children are forced to leave their home due to flooding, interrupting their daily life and education.
We have to mitigate climate change. Otherwise by 2319 all the trees will be gone and animals’ habitats will be depleted because of the sea’s rising temperatures, the lack of trees and the melting icebergs. This means that animals will have a harder time finding somewhere to live that is safe and suitable. Some animals might not make it.
In the UK we are lucky to live in a safe and happy country however, some places across the globe are not so fortunate. We take our water for granted but some children walk miles just to have a drink of clean water. In many hot countries there can be droughts where people cannot grow crops leading them to die of severe hunger and poverty. It is estimated that 774 million children are suffering under the effects of climate change.
Even in Scotland there has been some extreme weather causing some people to evacuate their homes. Climate change impinges on many children’s rights such as the right to an education. Some children have to go to a school on a boat while others don’t have a home to go to or food to eat. Many children have to leave their family and friends just to find a better place to live. Infectious diseases like malaria, polio and tuberculosis are among some of the diseases that kill children in many countries.
As well as humans being affected, plants and animals are also being killed. Plants are vital to the earth’s ecosystem because they produce clean oxygen for living creatures to thrive. Pollution and erosion kills these plants which are so important to us. Animals and fish are what many people rely on for a multitude of purposes - to eat but also breeding for financial security. Without our animals, many would lose their jobs or earn significantly less.
COP28 was the biggest of its kind. Around 85,000 participants, including more than 150 Heads of State and Government, were among the representatives of national delegations, civil society, business, Indigenous Peoples, youth, philanthropy, and international organisations in attendance.
The UNFCCC website noted that the conference was "particularly momentous as it marked the conclusion of the first ‘global stocktake’ of the world’s efforts to address climate change under the Paris Agreement. Having shown that progress was too slow across all areas of climate action – from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to strengthening resilience to a changing climate, to getting the financial and technological support to vulnerable nations – countries responded with a decision on how to accelerate action across all areas by 2030. This included a call on governments to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels to renewables such as wind and solar power in their next round of climate commitments."
For more information on the key highlights from the conference, please click here.
Well done to all our P6s who articulated their thoughts on climate change and were part of the change we all wish to see in the world.