Climate Change Is a Grave Threat to Children’s Survival

Right now, in the U.S. and around the world, children's lives are under threat due to climate change. Nearly 710 million children are currently living in countries at the highest risk of suffering the impact of the climate crisis. However, every child will inherit a planet with more frequent extreme weather events than ever before.  

Extreme events, including wildfires, floods and hurricanes, have become a frightening new normal. Hotter temperatures, air pollution and violent storms are leading to immediate, life-threatening dangers for children, including difficulty breathing, malnutrition and higher risk of infectious diseases. 

With your help, Save the Children is working in the U.S. and around the world to help children and their communities prevent, prepare for, and recover from climate-induced disasters.      

What Are the Effects of Climate Change on Future Generations? 

Children have contributed the least to the climate crisis but will pay the highest price.

  • Extreme temperatures leave many families living in poverty with less food, less clean water, lower incomes and worsening health.
  • Children’s immune systems are still developing, leaving their rapidly growing bodies more sensitive to disease and pollution.
  • Extreme events can destroy homes, schools, child care centers and infrastructure critical to children’s well-being.
  • Droughts and flooding can destroy crops and cut access to clean water.
  • The UN warns that many families will have to choose between starvation and migration.
A young girl stands in front of a damaged shelter in Nicaragua following Hurricane Iota.

"The storms destroyed my house and left us with no place to sleep,” 12-year old Mirna says about Hurricane Iota and Hurricane Eta, the two Category 4 storms that ravaged Nicaragua in 2020.

Statistics About Climate Change and Children

The climate crisis magnifies inequality, poverty, displacement and may increase the likelihood of conflict.

  • 90% of diseases resulting from the climate crisis are likely to affect children under the age of five.
  • By 2050, a further 24 million children are projected to be undernourished as a result of the climate crisis.
  • By 2040, it is estimated that one in four children will be living in areas with extreme water shortages.
  • Almost 160 million children are exposed to high severe and prolonged droughts.
  • The education of around 38 million children is disrupted each year by the climate crisis.
  • The climate crisis is forcing families to migrate. By 2050, there could be 143 million more migrants due to the climate crisis.

What's Happening with the Climate Crisis Right Now?

The climate crisis severely risks deepening inequalities within and across borders and generations.  

In East and Southern Africa, an estimated 33 million people - including over 16 million chilren - are in danger of not having enough food due to the climate crisis. 

Children’s learning and development is also disrupted when extreme weather damages or destroys schools. This means children lose out on days at school due to the climate crisis. 

Today, more than 3 million children are out of school in Somalia because of COVID-19, conflict and climate shocks. 

If we don’t address the climate crisis right now, we risk undoing years of progress made towards realizing the rights of children

Learn More About the Impact of the Climate Crisis

How to Help Children Impacted by Climate Change

Save the Children helps communities affected by climate change, ranging from families suffering severe drought in the Horn of Africa, to those suffering from more frequent wildfires or hurricanes in the U.S. 

Your donation today to the Children's Emergency Fund can support this important work. 


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