Meet the climate babies six years on
27 November 2015
In 2009 on the eve of the Copenhagen climate talks, we worked with the Observer newspaper to speak to parents of newly-born babies around the world about what impact they thought climate change would have on their children’s lives.
Now we've revisited these families – and their six-year-old children – to see how life has changed for them and what their thoughts are on climate change ahead of the Paris climate talks starting on 30 November.
In 2009 the Mutonka family had just welcomed the arrival of their baby boy. But the family were fearful for their future; their cattle were dying and droughts were increasing in frequency and intensity.
Today they say life has become much harder. The family belong to the Maasai people, for whom owning cattle is a crucial part of their social status. But in the past six years the Mutonkas have lost 271 of their 284 cattle and, as in 2009, they regularly go to bed without eating. Their son today is a happy child with an infectious smile who wants to be a pilot when he grows up.
In 2009 Fretelina was born into an East Timorese community that was struggling with unemployment, with her father one of few people to have a job. The family were reporting dryer weather, less rains and that crops didn’t grow as well. Today, they say life has not improved much and the heat is starting to impact their lives.
In 2009 Denislania’s family, part of the indigenous Macuxi tribe in northern Brazil, had just won a 30 year legal fight entitling them to stay on their land. But the family was concerned that the heat was increasing; they were reporting lesser rainfalls and the deforestation of the rainforest was a huge issue.
Today they say the river, which they rely on for fishing and food, is drying up and that their community is dealing with the impact of drought.
In 2009 the family of Maria in Bangladesh were fearful for their children’s future, which they felt would be characterised by poverty and hardship. Today, her father’s gruelling workdays pulling a rickshaw means Maria and her siblings can attend school. But the family say the impacts of climate change pose a constant threat, and they are concerned about rising sea levels and what will happen if a natural disaster strikes.
CAFOD supporters and staff are in Paris for the important December climate talks. They journeyed there by train, bike and on foot and will be sending us updates throughout the fortnight of talks.