A National Sustainable Healthcare Program
The chair, Kate Charlesworth opens by explaining that the healthcare system has a big problem – we are, in effect, producing our own patients. We use huge amounts of resources; produce vast amounts of waste and have a big carbon footprint. Globally, if the healthcare system was a country, it would be the fifth biggest polluter on the planet. The irony is then of course that we’re therefore contributing towards the climate crisis which is harming human health. We’ve seen that with storms, fires, floods, and all the associated impact they’re having on our health.
We have a huge job ahead of us – to decarbonise or to get to a net zero health system.
Nick Watts, doctor, and chief sustainability office for the National Health Service in England says that he wants to discuss three things: why the NHS cares about climate change, what we can do about it and exactly what that change needs to looks like. He then goes on to explain the steps that the NHS is taking to reach net zero by 2045, and the exact steps that we need to take in order to do the same.
His three key messages are:
The climate crisis is a health care crisis.
The time for talking about stuff is over, the only thing that matters is what we are going to do about it.
Don’t listen to anyone that tells you that it can’t be done.
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