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Make 2017 an action year for the world’s children

| April 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

There are several pressing global environmental concerns that you and your class could do something about this year. Tell your pupils that the smog that smoulders in Chinese cities such as Beijing or Shanghai is intensifying storms over the Pacific Ocean and contributing to changing weather in the US. How could your student travel between home and school more efficiently?

Water pollution is also on the rise, thanks to industrial growth, and only 3% of the world’s people have access to safe drinking water. You can share with your class what Human Rights Watch has discovered: that in Bangladesh, for example, millions of children have been exposed to arsenic contamination via well water. In Canada, indigenous communities have been exposed to water containing naturally occurring uranium, E. coli or the presence of coliform bacteria.

In Zimbabwe, raw sewage occasionally runs from urban taps, exposing children to dangerous waterborne diarrheal diseases. All around the world, changing weather patterns are also changing the behaviour of mosquitos that cause malaria. Soil is under threat, too. In China, nearly 20% of farmlands are contaminated by toxic heavy metals, pesticides and artificial fertilisers.

Your students can join online petitions fighting for cleaner soil. Teach the children in your care what is happening to children in other countries: For example, says Human Rights Watch, children living near or working in leather tanneries in Bangladesh have been exposed to fevers; diarrhoea; respiratory problems; and skin, stomach and eye conditions. Smelters and battery factories have caused lead poisoning in children in China and Kenya, and child labourers have been exposed to fertilisers and pesticides in Indonesia, the US and Israel/Palestine.

In gold mining regions in Kosovo, Mali, Ghana, Tanzania, the Philippines and elsewhere, children have been exposed to toxic mercury used to process gold and lead poisoning. Your students should also look to join movements for change committed to preventing deforestation that kills our planet’s “green lungs” which absorb harmful CO2. In the Amazon basin, huge swathes of forest have gone forever, making many species of flora and fauna vulnerable to extinction. Much of the space in now being used for cattle ranching: and too much cow flatulence contributes to the concentration of harmful methane gas in the atmosphere. Soil erosion also affects both land and people.

Get everybody at school to sign the Greenpeace campaign for “a global food system that feeds people, enables the small farmer to thrive, protects the soil, water and climate, and promotes biodiversity. This is a system free from genetic engineering and chemical-intensive agriculture.” 

Category: Autumn 2017

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