Fiona Armstrong, Climate & Health Alliance - Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change


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Fiona Armstrong, Convenor, Climate & Health Alliance delivered this presentation at the 15th Annual Health Congress 2014. This event brings together thought leaders and leading practitioners from across the Australian health system to consider the challenges, implications and future directions for health reform.

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Fiona Armstrong, Climate & Health Alliance - Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change

  1. 1. Informa Health Congress 2014 Climate change, health and sustainable healthcare Fiona Armstrong, Convenor, Climate And Health Alliance (CAHA) @healthy_climate
  2. 2. 3 Me My kids My grandkids? The Critical Decade
  3. 3. Global carbon budget
  4. 4. We face considerable pressures globally that have profound implications for human health • Ecological overshoot • Peak oil • Population growth • Biodiversity loss • Climate change
  5. 5. Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the safe operating space for humanity
  6. 6. Biodiversity loss Biodiversity is our life support system. We are living in the middle of a mass extinction event, with rates of extinction 100-10,000 times higher that the natural background rate from the fossil record
  7. 7. Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
  8. 8. Climate change, health and national security “Climate change will present a threat to collective security and global order in the first half of the 21st century. This will limit access to food, safe water, power, sanitation, and health services and drive mass migration and competition for remaining resources. Starvation, diarrhoea, and infectious diseases will become more common, and neonatal and adult mortality will rise, as a result of conflict.” Jarvis et al, Climate change, ill health, and conflict British Medical Journal, 5 April 2011.
  9. 9. “Doubt is our product” - Tobacco executive
  10. 10. The global green economyGlobal investment in clean energy hits record levels (Sydney Morning Herald, January 2012)
  11. 11. What are we doing here in Australia? Since its introduction, the carbon price has reduced emissions however: • Legislation is being introduced to repeal the carbon price and scrap the Clean Energy Finance Corporation • The Climate Commission has been dismantled; Climate Change Authority threatened • Another review of renewable energy target, headed by climate change sceptic • There are no longer Ministers or Departments for Climate Change or Science • Department of Environment (now responsible for climate change, has no mandate to consider health in context of cc) • The Department of Health has no mandate to address climate change
  12. 12. Climate change is a health issue Climate change is the "biggest global health threat of the 21st century”. “We have to take more action; we need to be saying: “this is a very serious threat”. We have to add our voice to that debate.” Professor Anthony Costello, Professor of International Child Health and Director of UCL Institute for Global Health and lead author of the report: ‘Managing the Health Effects of Climate Change’ published by the Lancet in May 2009.
  13. 13. The Lancet Manifesto 2014 “Our patterns of overconsumption are unsustainable and will ultimately cause the collapse of our civilisation. The harms we continue to inflict on our planetary systems are a threat to our very existence as a species.” Sign the Manifesto to register your concern
  14. 14. Health benefits of climate action “climate change already has, and will continue to have, a major adverse impact on the health of human populations. “.. reducing greenhouse-gas emissions has unrivalled opportunities for improving public health. “Indeed, moving to a low carbon economy could be the next great public health advance.” British Medical Journal, The Lancet, and the Finnish Medical Journal
  15. 15. • Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of health groups - 517 members in 53 countries • "First Do No Harm“ Health Care Without Harm’s vision is a health care sector that does no harm, and instead promotes the health of people and the environment
  16. 16. The Ten Goals • LEADERSHIP: Prioritize Environmental Health • CHEMICALS: Substitute Harmful Chemicals with Safer Alternatives • WASTE: Reduce, Treat and Safely Dispose of Healthcare Waste • ENERGY: Implement Energy Efficiency and Clean, Renewable Energy Generation • WATER: Reduce Hospital Water Consumption and Supply Potable Water • TRANSPORTATION: Improve Transportation Strategies for Patients and Staff • FOOD: Purchase and Serve Sustainably Grown, Healthy Food • PHARMACEUTICALS: Safely Manage and Dispose of Pharmaceuticals • BUILDINGS: Support Green and Healthy Hospital Design and Construction • PURCHASING: Buy Safer and More Sustainable Products and Materials
  17. 17. Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Connect – a new online platform to connect people and organisations working on sustainable healthcare initiatives GGHH Connect that will serve as the “connective tissue for the network, allowing members from around the globe to meet, collaborate, and assist in each other in their sustainability initiatives”
  18. 18. 2013 report: The healthcare sector needs to use its ‘market power’ to encourage the supply industry to provide products and services that fit the sustainable vision of the healthcare sector. Persistence is a key success factor: • Tie spending to sustainability goals. • Choose to invest in the ‘right’ products. • Promote stories of good practice to encourage change. • When you encounter repeated barriers, move onto something else. Greening The Health Sector Policy Think Tanks
  19. 19. A national strategy on climate and health • Strategies to improve the preparedness of the healthcare sector to respond to climate change, including extreme weather • Establishment of a national sustainable healthcare unit in the Department of Health and Ageing • The nomination or establishment of a national agency with responsibility for developing and coordinating climate and health policy and research
  20. 20. Civil society leadership
  21. 21. The health sector can help lead the way to a green and healthy future
  22. 22. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? What will you tell your grandchildren? “What did you do, when the Earth was unravelling? What did you do, once you knew?” Drew Dellinger
  23. 23. Contact: Fiona Armstrong, Convenor, Climate And Health Alliance (CAHA) @healthy_climate