As the world is facing degradation of the ecosystem and suffering from the effects of climate change, it is time humankind wake up to the realities of imminent disaster. While people seem to race towards crass materialism unmindful of the destruction of the environment, it is time that children take the lead to negotiate the challenges of ecological degradation. Children are the worst sufferers of environmental degradation and as future leaders they can play a pivotal role in sensitizing adults on the need to adopt sustainable lifestyle and thereby contributing to sustainable peace. This chapter through perspectives of children from different countries will aim to underscore their concerns and the solution they are looking at.
Keywords: Environmental degradation, sustainable peace, child-led environmental campaigns
Senior Broadcaster Sir David Attenborough in the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos warned that humankind has the power to exterminate whole ecosystems “without even noticing”, and urged world leaders to treat the natural world with respect.
During an interview, he said, “We’re now so numerous, so powerful, so all-pervasive, the mechanisms we have for destruction are so wholesale and so frightening, that we can actually exterminate whole ecosystems without even noticing it. We have to now be really aware of the dangers of what we’re doing, and we already know that of course the plastic problem in the seas is wreaking appalling damage upon marine life, the extent of which we don’t yet fully know.”
The concern raised by Sir David Attenborough had been accentuated by eminent primatologist, Jane Goodall who expressing her anguish on the scenario had said, “We must remember that we have not inherited this planet from our parents, we have borrowed it from our children. But we have not been borrowing their future, we have stolen it and we keep stealing it.”
Children are the worst sufferers of environmental degradation and climate change. Lake (2015) said, “There may be no greater, growing threat facing the world’s children – and their children – than climate change. This mounting global crisis has the potential to undermine many of the gains we have made in child survival and development – and poses even greater dangers ahead.”
Lake further notes, “In every crisis, children are the most vulnerable. Climate change is no exception. As escalating droughts and flooding degrade food production, children will bear the greatest burden of hunger and malnutrition.