Despite children being disproportionately affected by climate change, too frequently they are unheard and denied information, participation and association in Australia.
The leading child rights agency says it is vital that Australia provides a systematic way for children and young people to have their voices heard on climate change to ensure Australia takes stronger climate action.
Save the Children has consistently advocated for children to be consulted on climate change and disaster response planning following the devastating black summer bushfires which saw 14,000 children displaced.
Most recently, Save the Children made a submission to the Climate Change Bill 2020 inquiry calling for child’s voice to be enshrined in the proposed law.
Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds said:
“No group is more vulnerable to impacts of climate change than children, yet Australia has not taken children’s views into account in making decisions about climate change.
“In fact, they have actively discouraged children from expressing their views by participating in advocacy actions like the School Strikes 4 Climate.
“The climate emergency is here and children’s voices must be heard given the immediate and long term impact it has for them.
“Changes in temperature, air and water quality and nutrition have severe and long-term impacts on a child’s health, development and well-being.
“The devastating Black Summer bushfires highlighted the horrific impact that disasters can have on children’s physical and mental wellbeing.”
Save the Children Australia is the first and only non-environmental non-government organisation to be accredited by the Green Climate Fund, which aims to support communities at the forefront of the climate crisis, including those in the Pacific.
“Our Pacific neighbours are on the front line of climate change, and extreme events like tropical cyclones, floods, drought and king tides are becoming more intense and more frequent.
“These extreme climate events are inflicting damage and destruction on communities and placing ecosystems and the health of people, especially children, at serious risk. “Australia must do its part to respond to the domestic, regional and global impacts of climate change.
“It is important Australia acts to limit global warming and support the development of a net zero target for emissions by 2050. The plan to achieve net zero must be an inclusive and equitable process, with the views of children systematically incorporated.”
Through the recent ‘Our World Our Say’ survey, ninety per cent of Australian children and young people told us they do not feel heard by leaders on the environment.
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