Children, climate change, and the intergenerational right to a viable future

Kirsten Davies, Gil Tabucanon, Pamela Box

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Climate change is arguably the most serious challenge faced by the world in recent times. Its effects are projected to be long term and will impact future generations. Children with their whole lives still ahead of them, and unborn generations, are expected to bear the brunt of the impacts of these long-term climatic changes. Amidst existing literature, there is a noticeable lack of attention given to children, their views on climate change, and their (and the unborn generations’) intergenerational rights to a viable environmental future. Children’s voices deserve to be heard. They represent the link between the current adult and unborn generations and are our closest connection to future generations. This chapter explores the doctrine of intergenerational equity and justice while simultaneously reflecting on what children have to say about current environmental and climate concerns. It counters the main critiques raised against intergenerational equity: that future generations are not capable of having rights and that there is no certainty surrounding what future generations want. This chapter argues that a consideration of children’s rights, preferences, and voices, in part, answers the arguments raised against intergenerational equity. More importantly, it calls for increased duty of care actions by present generation adults, including a wider legal acceptance in both international and domestic law of environmental protections for children and future generations’ right to a viable future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeographies of global issues
Subtitle of host publicationchange and threat, geographies of children and young people
EditorsNicola Ansell, Natascha Klocker, Tracey Skelton
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9789814585958
ISBN (Print)9789814585538
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameGeographies of children and young people



  • Climate change
  • Intergenerational equity
  • Intergenerational justice
  • Children and the environment

Cite this

Davies, K., Tabucanon, G., & Box, P. (2016). Children, climate change, and the intergenerational right to a viable future. In N. Ansell, N. Klocker, & T. Skelton (Eds.), Geographies of global issues: change and threat, geographies of children and young people (pp. 1-21). (Geographies of children and young people; Vol. 8). Singapore: Springer, Springer Nature.