Infrastructure spending is often justified on the grounds that we are ‘building for the future’. If we truly believe this, and if we are concerned to provide a safe and prosperous world for our children to inherit, then we are running out of time. This is the conclusion of “No Time for Games: Climate Change and Children’s Health’ by Doctors for the Environment Australia where they describe the many ways in which periods of excessive heat, disease carrying flood waters, storm events and rising sea levels are seriously impacting the physical and mental well being of our children. This is not a hypothetical. It is happening now. And the recent NEG decision to support coal under the guise of providing ‘reliability’ for renewables is, unfortunately, symptomatic of the hypocrisy of the time.
We can regret the loss of leadership as David Shearman did in his excellent article in the ABC Adelaide news this morning “Climate change is World War III, and we are leaderless” and urge our elected members to do more, and we should do this.
But maybe we need to DO more? Maybe in our leaderless world we need to take leadership into our own hands? In the past we have tended to leave large scale infrastructure decisions to others. Perhaps this now needs to change? No Time for Games has this to say about Infrastructure:-
Infrastructure and risk reduction
‘Protecting children’s health also requires risk reduction in sectors other than health such as housing, agriculture, urban planning and transportation. Improvement in urban and regional planning design such as relocation away from areas at risk from natural disasters or sea-level rise, or better housing design to reduce heat impacts, are examples of reducing the risk of climate health impacts to children.
Reducing socioeconomic disadvantage in children and improving baseline health, food security and education are fundamentally the best form of climate change adaptation due to their role in making children and families more resilient and better prepared for the environmental risks brought by climate change’
We can all have a say in promoting these changes, directly where we are able, and in voting for measures which improve them and against those which don’t.
That the increasing health effects of climate change disproportionally affect children challenges the most fundamental call of humanity, to nurture its young.
Failure to act is a major intergenerational injustice
My thanks to Ian Spangler for drawing my attention to this.