In the last year, there has been a real increase in momentum among the health community in calling for action and working on solutions to help us progress to a sustainable, just, healthy world. At the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, we play a central role in supporting, coordinating and facilitating interactions between the many organisations that are now part of this movement. This illustration gives a sense of the huge numbers of groups working together to advocate for climate mitigation and adaptation solutions for the benefit of our health and our planet. Please do feel free to share this graphic, and get in touch if your organisation would like to join UKHACC or work with us. You can also find out more in our End of Year Report 2021.
In February, we joined with a number of health organisations and individuals in adding our support to the health community Stop Cambo letter, which was handed in to Downing Street on 14 February. The letter called for a just transition away from oil and gas to tackle the climate crisis and fuel poverty. The hand in was reported in the Financial Times and covered extensively across social media channels.
The Stop Cambo team are continuing their work on mobilising the health community for a just transition for the UK – you can follow @StopCambo @Health4GND or sign up for updates to find out more or get involved.
Would you like to live in a world with a safer climate and recovering nature? If the answer is yes, you may want to make your commitment to vote with the health of the planet at the heart of your decision. Thecommitment.uk invites people to make their commitment and write their own personal message explaining why they’re doing this. Individual responses are pulled together and brought to local politicians, giving them a powerful reason to act on the climate and the natural world.
Have your say
NHS Scotland Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy
The NHS Scotland Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy 2022-2026 is currently open for consultation. UKHACC is coordinating a joint response with a number of our members and partners. Other health professionals working in Scotland may also wish to review and consult the strategy which can be accessed here. Consultation closes on 10 March. You may also be interested in this BMJ opinion piece written by UKHACC Director, Elaine Mulcahy.
Zero Hour – CEE Bill
The campaign for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, or CEE Bill, was first launched in August 2020. The Bill was drafted by scientists, legal experts, ecological economists and environmentalists. The Bill requires the UK to take responsibility for our fair share of greenhouse gas emissions and commit to a carbon budget for 1.5C. It would also connect our response to the climate and nature crisis ensuring we actively restore biodiverse habitats and halt the damage to our natural world through the production, transportation and disposal of the goods we consume. Find out more and add your support to the Bill here.
Chief Sustainability Officer’s Clinical Fellow Scheme
Applications are currently open for the Chief Sustainability Officer’s Clinical Fellow Scheme, which is sponsored by NHS England and NHS Improvement and is managed by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management. The scheme offers clinicians with a passion for sustainability a unique opportunity to develop their leadership skills and positively impact the healthcare system’s green agenda. The scheme is open to allied health professionals, doctors in training, nurses, public health specialist registrar trainees, pharmacists, healthcare scientists, dentists and midwives from across the UK and is aimed at aspiring future clinical leaders who have not held a senior leadership role within their specialism. Further information is available here.
Plant-based diet information and webinars
Plant-based diets are an important part of the solution to the climate and ecological crises. Our member organisation Plant-Based Health Professionals UK provides education on transitioning and sustaining a healthy plant-based diet. Their website has a number of free resources including factsheets, articles and a 21-day plant-based health challenge with live Q&A sessions. They also run a regular webinar programme and would be happy to provide a bespoke webinar or plant-based cookalong for your workplace or institution. You can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.’
Climate Action is Good for Our Health
The Australian based Climate and Health Alliance has produced an excellent fact sheet that outlines the many benefits that climate action can have for our health and the health of the environment around us. The fact sheet includes information on the co-benefits linked to active travel, plant-rich diets, connecting with nature, greening our homes, going gas free, and buying local. It’s free to download and share.
Climate Change and Health Inequalities Conference
9.00-17.00 | Friday 20 May 2022 | Milton Keynes (in person)
Milton Keynes University Hospital in collaborating with BAPIO (British association of Physicians of Indian Origin) Women’s Forum is organising a face-to-face one day national conference on Climate change and Health inequalities. The event organisers say, “We believe that climate emergency and health inequalities are closely related and are the important factors that will affect healthcare system if not addressed soon. This conference aims to share the challenges, possible solutions and vision for the future.” The abstract submissions are now open. If you are involved in projects linked to climate change, sustainability, or health inequalities, please share your experience. The top four abstracts will be invited to present in the conference. Please see the flyer for details on abstract submission.
Leading through the climate crisis
19.00-20.30 | Wednesday 2 March 2022 | Online
The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management Trainee Steering Group are hosting a session that aims to bring hope and resilience in our collaborative efforts to tackle the climate emergency. Suitable for doctors in training, all clinical colleagues are welcome to the session which will explore that leadership in this challenging area really means. Further details available here.
Articles and videos
We’ve pulled together a list of recent articles and videos that are worth reading, watching and sharing.
This Ted Talk by Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah is just eight minutes long. In it, she speaks openly and honestly about the tragedy of air pollution that she experienced first-hand when she lost her young daughter. She calls for an urgent demand for clean air.
A new era of climate action calls for climate doctors. This article from Think Global Health outlines the importance of educating health professionals in climate resilience.
Are humans financing their own extinction? This The Guardian article reports on a new study that says the world is spending at least $1.8tn every year on subsidies driving the annihilation of wildlife and a rise in global heating, prompting warnings that humanity is financing its own extinction.
Pollution is causing more deaths than Covid according to a UN environmental report published this week. While the covid pandemic has caused closed to 5.9 million deaths globally, pollution is estimated to be the cause of 9 million premature deaths a year.
Do you really need to drive? This article in The Guardian asks whether it’s time we came to see the car journey as a last resort when no other options are available. We know polluting cars are killing us. So why do we put up with it? Good question.
UKHACC Chair, Richard Smith has written this CAMH debate piece on “health professionals have a chance every day to lead on mitigating the ecological and climate crisis”
Paramedics are in a powerful position to act as climate change communicators. This article by Alex Randall from Climate Outreach reports on the findings of a project between the Climate Engagement Lab, UKHACC and the College of Paramedics.
Look out for: UN IPCC report due to be published end February is expected for the first time to include impacts of climate crisis on mental health.
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