Working on climate solutions is not all sunshine and rainbows. Health professionals who take on climate work have strategies to develop, teams to build, and hurdles to jump. And who has time for that considering our already busy work days? Climate for Health thinks you may be surprised at how taking climate action can impact your work in a positive way. Implementing sustainability practices in your health care facility or teaching medical students about the value of highlighting the most impacted populations from climate change are only a couple of ways in which positive action spurs positive feedback. This is what János Pásztor, senior climate change adviser to the UN Secretary-General, calls a “virtuous circle” of positive action, as mentioned by Sarah Czunyi below. A cycle of positive action leads to events that beneficially impact each other. Think of climate action as the "pay it forward" approach that will help subsequent generations. Not only will it brighten the future, but you'll feel good about it, too.
By Sarah Czunyi I March 25, 2016
Despite the fact that the final Paris Agreement has several shortcomings, compared to its predecessors it was a momentous achievement. The very fact that the text includes not only the aim to keep the increase in global average temperatures “well below 2°C” – but also “efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C” is a small miracle in and of itself. Yet despite such ambitious language, and regardless of how difficult the negotiations were – the real challenge remains with how these ambitions are to be implemented on the ground. This begs the question: how are real actions being taken into account, and how can these be scaled up?
In a recent talk given by János Pásztor, senior climate change adviser to the UN Secretary-General, he reflected upon the COP21 process and outcome. In particular, he discussed the role of the Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) that aimed to encourage a “virtuous circle” of positive examples of action on the ground, in order to inspire and motivate actors in and around the COP. A virtuous circle is a positive feedback loop: where a cycle of events has an increasingly beneficial effect on the next. From Pásztor’s perspective, the effect of the LPAA demonstrates the virtuous circle at work: it resulted in real-world actions for the first time to have played a significant role during the COP21 negotiations, and in the final text of the agreement – and its impact is set to continue growing. He also pointed out that this was in large part due to the fact that the circle was extended beyond the intergovernmental realm, including the impressive work being undertaken by both civil society and businesses around the world.
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