Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Can the Children Cope until Copenhagen?

As is the case with nearly any global problem, whether it is poverty, illness, or hunger, we see the same groups again and again fall disproportionately victim to its ramifications – women, children, and the elderly. The global economic meltdown and changing climate are no different; they constitute two issues that highly impact children and will continue to do so in the coming decade.

August 12 marks International Youth Day, which prompted Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to recognize the impact of the economic crisis on children—although youth comprise only 25% of the world’s working age population, for example, they account for nearly 40% of the world’s unemployment. Compounding the problem, Ban asserts, is the threat of climate change, which will cause increased economic upheaval as those in developing countries face an escalating and disproportionate ‘ecological debt.’

Fortunately, the current generation of children is growing up with an increased awareness of global warming and climate change, as well as the steps necessary to mitigate the problem. These young people can lead by example, practicing green, healthy lifestyles and making conscious decisions to preserve precious natural resources. The age-old adage thus stands: the children are our future. But, with Copenhagen looming, does that future stand secure?