World Earth Day 2023- Climate Change Threatens the Well-being of South African (SA) Children.

World Earth Day 2023- Climate Change Threatens the Well-being of South African (SA) Children.

26 Apr 2023


In South Africa, children and young people face a grave and often overlooked threat from the devastating impacts of climate change. According to a recent report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), titled The Climate Crisis Is a Child’s Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index (2021), South African children are among the most vulnerable to the ravages of the climate crisis. Very young children, in particular, are at risk of suffering disproportionately from harsh weather conditions, water scarcity, and pollution of soil, air, and water.

Climate change is not a distant threat, but a pressing crisis that demands immediate attention. We cannot afford to waste any time in addressing its devastating impact, especially on those who are most vulnerable. However, we also need to focus on the root causes of this problem, and think about long-term, sustainable approaches to tackle it.

This is where the intersection of climate change and nurturing care for young children offers a unique opportunity. By prioritising policies, programs, and practices that support young children's well-being, we can simultaneously address the urgent and the important. This is crucial because we simply cannot afford to choose between them.

“When we invest in nurturing care for young children, we not only increase their resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change and other emergencies, but we also promote human development, build climate resilience, and foster sustainable development for society as a whole. This is a triple dividend that pays off both in the short term and the long term,” says Warren Farrer, Executive Director of the DO MORE FOUNDATION.

“The DO MORE FOUNDATION is committed to catalyzing short-term action and driving long-term systemic change to improve learning, health, and social outcomes for young children and their families. We view climate change not as an issue to be solved, but rather the very real context we are living in.”

On April 22, the world celebrated Earth Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the impact of climate change on our planet and the people who inhabit it.

Two DO MORE FOUNDATION initiatives aligned with the World Earth Day themes of ‘Sustainable Fashion’ and ‘End Plastics’ include Clothes4Purpose and B.Blox. Clothes4Purpose is a project that involves donating aged clothing inventory to women-led Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), who repurpose and resell the clothing to generate an income, thereby preventing clothing waste. Being able to generate an income contributes enormously to their ability to provide nurturing care to their young children.

B.Blox are children’s building blocks made entirely from waste material, and are used as a learning resource for young children in under-resourced communities. These innovative blocks are manufactured by a social enterprise created by retail display manufacturer Barrows in Durban. The DO MORE FOUNDATION acts as the distribution partner. This initiative forms part of an ongoing partnership with Barrows called Repurpose for Purpose, where Barrows produces early learning materials using excess business inventory that would otherwise have been disposed of.

As World Earth Day 2023 comes to a close, we call on the South African government, private sector, and civil society to prioritise policies and initiatives that increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of young children to the effects of climate change and other emergencies. We must work together to safeguard the future of our children and ensure a sustainable future for all.