Project: bodies on damaged landscapes

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Child bodies on damaged landscapes is a global project looking at the impact of climate change past weather events and human made disasters on children’s everyday lives. It considers the impacts for family and community and also the educational opportunities that emerge in the area of science and environmental education to address these global crises. Bruno Latour affectionately tells us we should learn to love our ‘monsters’. Nothing illustrates this better than how disasters are becoming increasingly central to the everydayness of being beings with the planet. The uncertainties of risk and disaster, the monster lurking unashamedly in the shadows of children’s lives who are growing up in the Anthropocene.

There may be no greater growing threat facing the world’s children – and their children – than climate change. There are many vulnerable groups in the context of climate change—the poor, the elderly, pregnant women, and those in locations at particular risk. Children are not unique in this sense. However, they constitute a large percentage of those who are most vulnerable, and the implications, especially for the youngest children, can be long term. If discussion and policy regarding the impacts of climate change fail to take into account the particular vulnerabilities and capacities of children at different ages, measures for prevention and adaptation may prove to be inadequate in critical ways, failing to take advantage of the resource that children represent, as well as resulting in additional stresses for young minds and bodies.

Perhaps numb to the implications of climate change, the invisible build-up of chemicals in our soil, air and sea is viewed by many, including scientists, as the world’s greatest threat to the future life of human and the more-than-human beings on this planet. As identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ‘climate change exacerbates threats’ , but the threat also exacerbates climate change. For this reason, by simplifying the response to climate change into deliverable outcomes like those identified through the United Nations goals of the global sustainable development agenda is to negate the complexities of our entangled planet. As every crisis, every disaster ravishes the planet due to the impact of climate change, those least powerful and most exploited, such as the children and the non-human, are the most vulnerable.

Past research projects have included the impact of nuclear radiation and toxic pollution in cities in Kazakhstan and Japan and climate change issues due to the loss of temperate glaciers in Bolivia and inland oceans in Kazakhstan. Current funding is being sought to conduct further climate change projects in Australia, Vietnam and Honduras.