A health approach to climate change

Changing Environment

(European Institute for Gender Equality, 2017)

The world has more than 1.9 million medical students from over 190 countries. If all us health professionals and future health professionals team up to battle climate change, it would bring about not only a great change in the policies of the world but also the cultural and social norms of communities.

We need to acknowledge climate change as the largest threat and opportunity to global health in the 21st century, and call for human health to be placed at the centre of the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) international negotiations where it will stand as an effective framework from which to implement a fair and ambitious plan of action following the adoption of the Paris Agreement.

In this, we seek to preserve a society which promotes equity, avoids future conflicts and paves the road towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs). There exists universal political, scientific and public health consensus that climate change is both men-made and occurring at unprecedented rates, posing a very significant threat to the health of global populations.

Disturbances in climate stability will severely harm the health of humans, animals and the environment through an increase in extreme weather events, natural disasters, floods and resulting diarrheal disease, degradation of arable land, nutritional impacts, mass migration, and violent conflict. Climate change will also play a greater role in the spread of infectious diseases by widening the areas of spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever by creating more favorable conditions for climate sensitive disease vectors.

Changes to the climate resulting in water scarcity and decreased sanitation alone will have devastating effects on public health systems in affected areas. Furthermore, extreme drought linked to climate change is creating conditions that contributed to civil instability. Therefore, climate change mitigation and adaptation represent a non-regret necessity that takes the form of basic public requirements and efforts towards the SDGs: promotion of healthy lifestyles; use of sustainable clean energy sources; guarantee of food security, water and sanitation; clean air; early warning systems; vector control and disaster risk reduction.

As health professionals and Future health professionals, our duty of care will include not only future patients, but communities and public health at local, national and global levels. The impact of climate change on health is a threat that we will see in our future scope of practice if the right measurements of prevention are not taken. As a people, we need to acknowledge the significant co-benefits of health mitigation strategies such as: developments in areas of transport, agriculture, electricity generation and household energy use.

What is required is Immediate and sustainable mitigation and adaptation action be taken on a local, national and global level to safeguard global public health and preserve our accomplishments over infectious diseases and towards health care access.The future costs associated with climate change must be shared fairly between nations, taking into account equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR), in the light of different national circumstances. Health must be placed at the centre of any international negotiations on climate change for a global deal. The international health community must actively engage in the debate and negotiation progress taking place under the UNFCCC.

Health professionals as individuals and their representative organizations must take an external advocacy role in encouraging their local governments, health and other relevant ministers to act in a way that reduces national emissions adopting the health in all policies approach and prepare for the future consequences of climate change on health.

All governments and nations need to realize that there is a great need to invest time, effort and finances into mechanisms to achieve measurable carbon reduction, create jobs and contribute to a more sustainable world.

We must meet an emissions trajectory consistent with a 1.5 degree long term goal and create a society wide transition to a carbon free economy, through the divestment of fossil fuels and the immediate withdrawal of fossil subsidies, in order to accelerate the transition to sustainable societies that are beneficial to human health, through country-specific emissions reduction targets, which make steady steps for the agreed global objective to be reached and adapted according to each nation’s capacity.

The IFMSA, World Health Organization, medical students, medical practitioners, healthcare providers and organizations representing the interests of current and future health professionals to need to take the lead in educating the public on the likely effects of climate change on health, as well as directly lobbying key stakeholders including governments, to take action on the issue. There is a great need to integrate climate change and its threat to health within the curricula of medical schools worldwide and into capacity building programs targeting health professionals from a multidisciplinary approach and further continue the initiative of the WHO Country profiles on climate and health, in collaboration between NMOs, governments and WHO.

In conclusion, science and justice demands of the global community a reduction of carbon emissions to levels which ensure the survival of our planet’s ecosystem and the protection of human health. We as an individual and as a people need to fulfil that demand to keep ourselves, our family and friends, and our planet, healthy and happy.

About the author

Sheharyar Zameer is a second year medical student at Army Medical College in Pakistan and the National Public Health Officer at the International Federation of Medical Students Association, Pakistan. He is a co-ordinator at Together We Can Foundation and a member of the International Organization for Progressive Global Collaborations. He is also a member of the college research society AURF and dramatics society AEDS. His special interests include Public Health, Trauma Medicine and Surgery.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Benefits of rural migration effect often overlooked, new UN report suggests

Politicization of migrant ‘crisis’ in Hungary making them scapegoats, independent UN human rights expert warns

What do the economic woes of Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia have in common?

Latvian economy is thriving, but boosting productivity, improving social protection and transitioning to a low-carbon productive model are vital for sustainable and inclusive growth

EU elections: The louder the threats and the doomsaying the heavier the weight of the vote

Bundestag kick starts the next episode of the Greek tragedy

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

Blockchain can change the face of renewable energy in Africa. Here’s how

FROM THE FIELD: Weather reports come to aid of Uganda’s farmers

Concern rising over fate of Rohingya refugees sent home by India: UNHCR

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

We don’t need to ban plastic. We just need to start using it properly

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

How telehealth can get healthcare to more people

Eurozone stuck in a high risk deflation area; Draghi expects further price plunge

EU-Japan trade agreement enters into force

UN agency chief calls Ethiopia’s revised refugee law ‘one of most progressive’ in Africa

Digital transformation and the rise of the ‘superjob’

The next Google in biotech: will it be Chinese?

DR Congo: efforts to control Ebola epidemic continue, UN food relief agency doubles assistance to affected people

Amsterdam is getting a 3D-printed bridge

I cycled over 6,000km across the United States to document climate change. Here’s what I learned

3 ways to fight stress at work

Germany’s strong anti-bribery enforcement against individuals needs to be matched by comparably strong enforcement against companies

We all have a ‘hierarchy of needs’. But is technology meeting them?

Technology can help us end the scourge of modern slavery. Here’s how

Saudi Arabia, China, among 14 nations under UN human rights spotlight: what you need to know

European Parliament and Eurovision sign partnership for European Elections

France is building a village for people with Alzheimer’s

Greece’s last Eurogroup or the beginning of a new solid European Union?

UN ‘prioritizing needs’, ramping up aid, as Hurricane Dorian continues to batter the Bahamas

Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century

“Leaked” TTIP document breaks post 8th negotiations round silence and opens door to critics

‘Crippling to our credibility’ that number of women peacekeepers is so low: UN chief

Women must be at ‘centre of peacekeeping decision-making’, UN chief tells Security Council

This app lets you plant trees to fight deforestation

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

EU–US: What is the real exchange in a Free Trade Agreement?

Eurozone: Even good statistics mean deeper recession

The EU Commission vies to screen Chinese investment in Europe

With security improving in DR Congo’s Kasai, thousands of refugees head home from Angola

Partnerships key to taking landlocked countries out of poverty: UN Chief

These are the world’s 20 most dynamic cities

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

New Erasmus: more opportunities for disadvantaged youth

What is digital equality? An interview with Nanjira Sambuli

‘Race against time’ to help women who bore brunt of Cyclone Idai: UN reproductive health agency

At UN, Cuba slams US ‘criminal’ practices undermining country’s development

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

Migrant workers sent more money to India than any other country last year

Security Council condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ attack in Iran

Opening – Parliament expresses support for victims of Fuego volcano in Guatemala

Kenya wants to run entirely on green energy by 2020

A Sting Exclusive: “The Digital Economy and Industry are no longer opposing terms”, Commissioner Oettinger underlines live from European Business Summit 2015

Can Obama attract Iran close to the US sphere of influence?

This is what the world’s CEOs really think of AI

COP21 Breaking News: “We must accelerate the process”, Laurent Fabius cries out from Paris

Migrant caravan: UN agency helping ‘exhausted’ people home

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Виктор Родин says:

    “Mankind has three years left …” The shocking statement of the scientist about the end of the world leads to hysteria. Reto Knutti – Famous Swiss climatologist and professor of physics of Earth’s climate at the Institute of Atmospheric and Climatic Science, Zurich.
    Yes, indeed: “Mankind has three years left …” But no hysterics from this fact should be done.
    Warming is eliminated in 10 years by natural technologies, which it has already done at least twice:
    After the dinosaurs, who ate all the vegetation that they could get, polluted the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and methane, and raised the temperature.
    The same after mammoths.
    The cost of restoring the planet’s climate is one trillion dollars.
    The yield from the elimination of warming is 2.4 -2.7 trillion dollars.
    In 2018, the cost of recovery will be two trillion dollars.
    In 2019, the situation on elimination of warming will change to 50-on-50.
    In 2020, we can only take advantage of the advice of the scientist – to prepare for the end of the world.
    Sincerely, creator of environmental programs, environmental engineer, Victor Rodin.
    — — —
    «Человечеству осталось три года…» Шокирующее заявление ученого о конце света доводит до истерики. Рето Кнутти (Reto Knutti) — Известный Швейцарский климатолог и профессор физики климата Земли в Институте атмосферной и климатической науки, Цюрих.
    Да, действительно: «Человечеству осталось три года…» Но никаких истерик из этого факта делать не следует.
    Потепление устраняется за 10 лет природными технологиями, которые это делали уже как минимум дважды:
    После динозавров, которые съели всю растительность, которую могли достать, загрязнили атмосферу углекислым газом и метаном, и подняли температуру.
    То же после мамонтов.
    Стоимость восстановления климата планеты – один триллион долларов.
    Доходность от устранения потепления – 2,4 -2,7 триллиона долларов.
    В 2018 году стоимость восстановления будет два триллиона долларов.
    В 2019 ситуация по устранению потепления перейдёт в режим 50-на-50.
    В 2020 мы можем только воспользоваться советом учёного – подготовиться к концу света.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s