Monday, 14 May 2012
Climate change in every day life
Every day last week, ‘Help Save The Planet’ hosted an International Climate Change conference at the Royal Institute of British Architects. I was asked to speak on climate change and consumer choices and whilst I was there, I took the opportunity to hear talks on climate change and the effects on health; climate change and obesity; climate change and population; and climate change and culture, to name just a few of the topics under discussion.
One of the questions posed was why do health professionals not take climate change as seriously as they might? In the French heat wave of 2003, 30-60,000 people died prematurely yet this seemed to trigger little scrutiny about how this could have happened, not to mention longer-term debate and assessment of the implications and the need to prevent such disasters in the future.
It is said that the credit crunch is borrowing from the future, but surely climate change is stealing from the future.
Health systems are currently busy focusing on making people well, reacting to demand, and time to focus on prevention is lacking. However, the NHS has a huge carbon dioxide footprint "with drugs having a larger footprint than NHS building." Alternative therapies, such as walking, talking and even singing therapies, would reduce the footprint more since they would hopefully reduce some need for drugs.
The day provided some important food for thought. Wth a recitation of the Sterne Report taking place as well as art works on global warming being produced, climate change really does permeate all aspects of human living and will not go away.
Food security is another major issue that the WI will be looking into in the coming months, especially in light of the reports that there will be an estimated nine billion people on the planet by 2050.
We can make statements all the time but mitigation and adaptation is necessary - and this means action.