Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editor's Choice

A world on the edge of climate disaster

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2441 (Published 07 October 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2441

Read our latest coverage of the climate emergency

Rapid Response:

Re: A world on the edge of climate disaster

Dear Editor

Well done for putting this editorial in. There is so much inertia, yet doctors and health care providers have a strong voice.

The most striking thing we can do to help reduce our patients’ climate emissions whilst hugely improving their health is to inform and encourage them to transition to a plant based diet. It has been shown that food production and processing represents the largest single emissions contributor (possibly 51% of total emissions when one includes the farming processes, transport required and externalities; some authors put it higher, Goodland and Anhang 2009). A plant based diet also reduces the chances dramatically of our most prevalent chronic diseases, including many cancers (numerous major meta analyses eg EPIC, nurses and health professionals studies, NHANES). It really is the silver bullet for the climate and health crises.

We have to be informed and bold: it is our duty. If patients know this option, then they frequently change their diets in mine and many colleagues’ experiences. The excellent articles and resources produced by the Plant Based Health Professionals Group UK are an excellent place to start. As someone who against all my inclinations has changed my diet and health greatly, I can recommend this action. It is our duty to pass this information on gently and with encouragement.

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 October 2021
Mark F Craig
Lifestyle medicine doctor GP
TrueSouthMedical, Auckland, NZ
Auckland, New Zealand