Eight-year-old Samani, taking refuge with her family after being displaced by heavy floods for almost a year, drinks her morning tea outside a makeshift shelter in Sukkur in Pakistan’s Sindh province. 10 July 2011.
One of the more contentious and fractious issues in politics (at least American politics) is climate change – the science of our deteriorating environment. Our modern technology and way of living are negatively impacting the Earth’s biosphere, creating chaotic and intense weather patterns as well as rising global temperatures (which in turn are melting our polar ice caps and causing sea levels to rise). Though scientists are uncertain about the magnitude of these effects, climate change is a fact, which makes it puzzling when politicians try to deny that our planet is in trouble.
Now a new study suggests that the climate change may have the biggest impact on girls. Researchers have found that during famines and other devastations brought about by changing environments, girls become more likely to be sold or pulled out of school to work. Girls are also less likely to be taught disaster survival skills, like swimming or climbing to higher ground. And in cases where girls are rescued from catastrophes, they are often left orphans and can encounter sexual abuse at shelters.
“Climate change is a matter of public health,” researcher Aaron Bernstein has commented, and we would do well to keep that in mind. Rather than rejecting science or arguing about nuances in the evidence, we should be concerned about our future generations. Girls will inherit the Earth, and they deserve a healthy planet.
Girl Museum Inc.