Re: Climate change is a health emergency
This week I was appointed as the CCG Clinical lead for Sustainability in Brighton and Hove, placing sustainability at the heart of the choices that are made to improve the health and wellbeing of the people who live and work in the city. We will be developing a primary care charter with the aim that all practices in Brighton and Hove become carbon ‘literate’; we will look to see if we can carbon footprint new models of care or clinical pathways as they are developed, we will be looking at developing guidance on low carbon prescribing; and promoting city-wide initiatives in partnership with the council. This makes sense because reducing carbon emissions will not only have major cost benefits which can be reinvested, but because environmental and social sustainability are consonant with other dimensions of quality healthcare.
Climate change is perhaps the most extreme example of what has been termed the ‘tragedy of the commons’: confronted with the enormity of the challenge, any individual actions appear meaningless particularly if others appear to be taking no action at all. Yet, in the face of the failure of political leadership, clinicians are ideally placed to step into the breach: even where some still prefer to put their heads in the sand, we can argue that taking action will lead to enormous health dividends, both physical and mental, as well as social returns and a reduction in health inequalities.
Competing interests: No competing interests