Climate change and other environmental challenges (biodiversity loss, pollution, soil depletion, etc.) are critical threats to health. Climate change alone has been identified as “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.”
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world has little more than 10 years – until 2030 – to make major modifications in how we live, work and play if we are to avoid the kind of catastrophic changes that will make the maintenance of complex human societies impossible.
The health system has a large role to play in this undertaking, because despite its mission to support health, its practices are actually part of the problem. With large physical facilities that operate 24-7, care arrangements that foster substantial travel by patients, caregivers and providers, and a profound reliance on carbon-intensive and polluting technologies and other products (drugs, devices, disposables, etc), health systems are significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and broader environmental impacts, including through air pollution.
Read our a snapshot on this topic here.