A global demand for action
20 September 2019
By Hayley Carmichael
Friday 20th September sees the entire world come together to demand that we act on climate change. We consider what this means for taking on the challenge of a climate emergency.
The whole world is watching
For some months now young people around the globe have been striking on Fridays to draw attention to the action that is needed to tackle climate change.
On September 20th and 27th, they have invited all people of the planet to join them regardless of age. Over 115 countries are taking part with action happening in over 1,000 cities across the world.
This is a first, and highlights the growing awareness that we face a true climate emergency – and as with any emergency the time to act is now.
What does it mean for healthcare?
Two NHS Trusts (Manchester and Newcastle) have declared a climate emergency and will be producing action plans to meet a net zero target for carbon emissions by 2040.
At Sussex Community we have long recognized that climate change is one of the biggest threats to human health, and we are well into a plan of action to mitigate our role in contributing to climate change. We’ve already met our 2020 target of a 34% reduction in carbon emissions with the next target set at 51% by 2025, and an ambition to be net zero beyond that.
It can be difficult to balance the desire to care for patients with the desire to join the strike action and this is something that all healthcare professionals face – healthcare is not a service that can be put on hold for day.
But is possible to support the spirit of the strike without physically taking part – use the day to reflect on where you might be able to create change in your own life, or within your work context.
What the strike represents is the need to take action – and that action could be ensuring you and your colleagues are switching off lights, or finding more active ways to commute to work instead of driving.
More useful info
The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare offer some good information on what is happening within healthcare for the day of action on 20th September.
They also suggest that if you can’t join in the strike, instead you could plant a tree on Trust land to help create a greener space for the delivery of healthcare.
Action can take many forms, but if we all do act in some way then together we can create the change we need in time – ensuring a healthy future for everyone.