Children’s Brain Development in a Changing Climate by Dr. Kam Sripada
Brain development in the early years lays the foundation for lifelong cognitive function, productivity and mental health. How does the changing climate threaten children’s brain development globally? Children are vulnerable to both the sudden events linked to climate change (e.g., flooding, heatwaves, and wildfires) as well as slower-onset impacts (e.g., water scarcity, shifting agricultural zones, rising sea levels, and increasing disease-vector ranges).
UNICEF estimates more than half a billion children live in extremely high flood risk areas. Living through a climate-related disaster can have traumatic impacts on children and youth. Climate change has enormous potential to undermine development gains and livelihood options for today’s children.
This presentation will provide an overview of impacts on child health and development of both the sudden climate change effects, including extreme weather events, extreme heat, and effects on natural systems; and consequences of the changing climate, such as displacement, migration, and social instability. Some key challenges towards to studying and modelling these impacts will be shared. Finally, action and commitments to protect children from climate change will be highlighted. The session concludes with reflections in small groups.