Two of the most urgent problems in the world now are the marriage of minors and climate change. They appear to be unrelated at first, but closer inspection reveals that they are, in fact, intertwined.

Girls under the age of 18 are routinely wed to males much older than themselves, a practice known as "child marriage." In addition to putting girls at risk of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, this terrible tradition also robs them of their childhood and educational possibilities. UNICEF estimates that annually 12 million children—or 23 girls per minute—are married off before turning 18.

The phrase "climate change" is used to describe the gradual shift in global weather patterns that has been linked to human activities like the combustion of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests. Sea level rise, harsh weather, and food shortages are only some of the effects of climate change. Its consequences are felt by everyone, but especially by the most vulnerable groups, making it one of the greatest risks our world faces.

How therefore do global warming and marriages between minors fit together? Firstly, poverty and a lack of opportunities are major contributors to the practice of child marriage. When a family is struggling financially, they may regard marrying off their daughter as a method to lighten their load. Parents may also see marriage as a way to safeguard their daughters from physical harm and sexual harassment in societies where girls are not accorded the same status as boys.

Reduced agricultural output, infrastructural damage, and an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural catastrophes are all ways in which climate change contributes to people living in poverty. For many couples, the inability to care for their children means that marriage is seen as a way to weather the economic storm brought on by climate change.

Additionally, the effects of poverty and climate change are made worse by child marriage. Girls who are taken from their families at an early age often have their educations cut short, which severely affects their future earning potential. The repercussions of climate change, such as food shortages and natural disasters, will hit them harder because of this. It also hinders their ability to fight for their rights and gain access to resources that could help them adapt to the climate change.

The ecology is also negatively affected by child marriage. Younger girls who are married off tend to start having kids sooner and have more of them altogether. This increases carbon emissions and stresses natural resources like water and land. Another contributing factor to deforestation and habitat loss is the relocation of families caused by early marriages for girls.

So, how can we combat the two interconnected problems of climate change and child marriage? As a first step, ensuring that girls and women have access to resources like education, healthcare, and economic opportunities is crucial. This has the potential to end the cycle of poverty and decrease the number of marriages between minors. Women and girls can benefit from this because they will be more equipped to speak out about the effects of climate change and to push for solutions.

Second, it's crucial to deal with the underlying conditions that lead to child marriage, such as economic disparity, sexism, and damaging social norms. Supporting families economically and socially, as well as promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls, can all contribute to a safer world for everybody.

Third, supporting sustainable development, lowering emissions of greenhouse gases, and assisting communities in adapting to these changes are all crucial to mitigating the impacts of climate change. Investment in renewable energy, support for environmentally responsible farming practices, and disaster relief funding all contribute to this goal.

In conclusion, climate change and child marriage are two of the most critical problems facing the world today. In the same way that climate change increases the likelihood of child marriage and deepens the cycle of poverty, it also exacerbates its impacts. The effects of climate change must be mitigated, and efforts made to empower girls and women are essential if we are to break this relationship and prevent child marriage. If we all do our part, we can make this world a better place where everyone can thrive. The rights and wellbeing of girls and women, as well as the health and resilience of our planet, must now be prioritized.

About the Author: Maryam Eqan is an environmentalist who is passionate about creating awareness and promoting action towards building a sustainable future. Her writing focuses on the relationship between humans and the environment and the impact of human actions on the planet.