Climate Change as Structural Violence

Photo of child drawing globe with different coloured pencil crayons all over the table.

Timezone: PDT



By framing climate change and the environmental emergency as a form of structural violence against children, how can we open new avenues of understanding to mobilize greater legal, scientific, and other resources to systematically redress the most impactful causes and consequences of climate change? 

Globally, we are facing a multitude of intersecting and calamitous issues underpinned by the concerning state of our planet with the unabated climate crisis, which disproportionately affects children. This compels us to expand our thinking in new ways and look to alternative approaches to redress wicked global issues. Exploring structural violence as a conceptual framework for the impacts of climate change and environmental emergencies is one such way. 

For decades we have experienced unprecedented expansion of the understanding and acceptance of human rights, particularly children’s rights, and we see an increasing diversity of voices impacting global discourse, including innovative youth activists. Beyond the rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), new areas of environmental child rights activism have emerged, including Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future, the Sunrise Movement, and the Extinction Rebellion. Although we are also more aware of the multitude of ways that violence impacts children, little attention has been paid to the ways structural violence have impacted children and young people across the planet as the climate crisis persists. Within the nexus between structural violence, climate justice, and youth voice, we weave together strands of the local and creative actions young people are taking to fight for a more hospitable planet with a coherent reflection of the impact of climate violence on children.

As part of the North American Consultation for Children’s Right to a Healthy Environment for the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, this symposium invites the audience to join Dr. Kathleen Manion, Program Head of the Graduate Certificate in Transforming Child Protection to Wellbeing, for a conversation with some leading thinkers on an interdisciplinary exploration of youth, climate, justice, and violence.

We encourage you to register even if you are unable to attend. Everyone who registers will receive a link to the webinar recording.

Meet our panelists:

Prof. Jeffrey Goldhagen - Professor & Chief, Division of Community and Societal Pediatrics; Program Director, Community and Societal Pediatrics Fellowship, University of Florida 

Dr. Jennifer Leaning - Senior Research Fellow, FXB Center, Harvard University, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, (ret.) Professor of the Practice at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Victor Karunan - Former Deputy Representative and Senior Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF Malaysia - Visiting Lecturer/Foreign Expert, Social Policy and Development, Faculty of Social Administration, Thammasat University and Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University

Thank you to our sponsors:


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