It is, by any measure, a scathing indictment of modern societies, our own very much included. The charge as dark as any faced by the worst societies in history. Only we stand accused not of genocide but something far worse.
We stand accused of failing to ensure a "liveable planet" for today's children and the generations that will follow them.
Every country in the world is failing to shield children’s health and their futures from intensifying ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices, says a new report.
The report says that despite dramatic improvements in survival, nutrition, and education over the past 20 years, “today’s children face an uncertain future”, with every child facing “existential threats”.
“In 2015, the world’s countries agreed on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), yet nearly five years later, few countries have recorded much progress towards achieving them,” says the report by a commission of 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world.
“Climate change, ecological degradation, migrating populations, conflict, pervasive inequalities, and predatory commercial practices threaten the health and future of children in every country,” it says.
The commission, convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations children’s agency, Unicef, and medical journal the Lancet, calls for radical changes to protect children’s health and futures from the intensifying climate emergency.A recent article in The Guardian focused on the mental health problems spreading through children who know, all too well, that they're in our crosshairs. They've got a damned good idea of what's coming their way after we're gone. There are many scholarly reports online about research into climate change and juvenile mental health even at this early stage.
It also highlights the threat of predatory commercial practices, linking children’s exposure to marketing of fast food and sugary drinks to an 11-fold increase in childhood obesity, from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016.
They're the future of our country and they're in peril - from us. For many of us, our window of opportunity to help them, perhaps to undo some of the damage on its way to them, is limited. We probably haven't got much more than ten years to make a meaningful difference. That means we need to make them our priority, not ourselves, and definitely not those guys in the lounge at the Calgary Petroleum Club.