Taking action to improve health: Advocacy resources and success stories from health care sector

By Ella Schwotzer Climate and Health Communications Manager, Health Care Without Harm, US and Canada

Health professionals have an ethical responsibility to take action to protect the health of our patients and communities. They have a unique opportunity to influence public opinion and policymaking in support of climate solutions as trusted messengers. Health Care Without Harm’s new resource, “How to get started as a health professional advocate for climate policy solutions,” is a great way for health professionals to get started in climate advocacy.

Hospitals and health systems play an integral part in leading our country to a climate-smart, clean energy future. The 19 health systems in Health Care Without Harm’s U.S. Health Care Climate Council are already operationalizing climate solutions, inspiring and encouraging hospitals to engage further in climate action. The council’s “Climate Action Playbook” provides a path forward by sharing success stories with measurable progress and outcomes on energy, food, sustainability in operating rooms, leadership, sustainable procurement, infrastructure and community resilience, transportation, and waste.

The Health Care Climate Council and Health Care Without Harm visited Washington, D.C. in 2019 to educate policymakers on the importance of clean energy and a resilient health care infrastructure to protect the public health from the impacts of climate change. They met with members of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis to share their stories and challenges, beginning a relationship with the committee that helped inform future policy, including the recently released “Solving the Climate Crisis” congressional action plan.

The Select Committee’s “Solving the Climate Crisis” plan is a 538-page report with ambitious and actionable solutions to address climate change. The report states, “Health issues and emergencies caused by surging climate impacts can strain the capacity of hospitals, public health professionals, and the entire health sector.” Read Health Care Without Harm’s 7 takeaways from the report to learn about recommendations supporting the transition to a climate-smart, climate-ready health care sector while also supporting the health of communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.

 

Health Care Without Harm is a partner of Climate for Health, a coalition of health leaders committed to caring for our climate to care for our health.  Founded by ecoAmerica, Climate for Health offers tools, resources, and communications to demonstrate visible climate leadership, inspiring and empowering health leaders to speak about, act on and advocate for climate solutions. Learn more about our partnership and the resources available to you here.

 

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