Save our Planet, Save our Girls
Climate action is more urgent now than ever. When humans continue to poison the earth, the earth suffers and so does every resident on this planet. The butter effect of climate change takes a toll on people’s health, and their social lives. Global warming and rising sea levels are putting the lives of over 19 million children in Bangladesh in threat, according to a report published by UNICEF. One of the biggest threats faced by children belonging to poorer communities, especially girls, is child marriage. Child marriage can be life threatening because it leads to early/ teenage pregnancy.
When sea levels rise, poor families living on islands are most vulnerable as they are unable to provide food or education for their children. In such cases, families choose not to invest in the education of their daughters, and look at marriage as a better solution to ensure their security. They also see marriage as a better solution because it eases the family’s economic burden as there will then be one less person to feed. Little do they realise that by giving away a young girl into marriage, they are pushing her into mental violence, sexual violence, and risking her health and life.
Children living in coastal areas are not the only ones to bear the brunt of climate change. Three million children living in the inlands have to face long periods of drought. A conversation with locals living in these regions will reveal in simpler terms, how child marriage is connected to climate change. Apart from child marriage, exteme weather events caused by climate change push children into dangerous forms of child labour, and takes away their acces to education which risks their future.
When a person chops a tree, or when a corporation dumps smoke into the air, little do they realise that the damage they cause result in life threatening consequences for others who are living thousands of miles away. The only medicine that will heal the earth is EMPATHY. Empathy means to have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is only when we will be able to feel the same pain faced by people who are living on the other side of the planet, will we be able to heal the world. The situation enforced by COVID-19 has taught life lessons to all human beings. It has taught us the importance of co existing with animals on the same planet, and respecting their boundaries. The lockdown has reduced emissions and allowed wildlife to reclaim its territory. If we continue to live by respecting other species even after the lockdown, then the earth will, climate will no longer change, and as a domino effect, vulnerable families will no longer have to give away their little daughters in marriage.
- AFP, Dhaka. The Daily Star. April 2019. https://www.thedailystar.net/country/news/climate-change-blights-childrens-lives-bangladesh-unicef-1725337
- UNICEF. Learning to Live in a Changing Climate: the Impact of Climate Change on Children of Bangladesh https://www.unicef.org/bangladesh/media/1941/file/UNICEF_Bangladesh_Climate_Change.pdf