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COP 21 – Dr. Gina Radford – Reducing the Carbon Footprint of UK Health Sector

The University of Earth: Urgent Action Series: COP 21 Paris 2015: Dr Gina Radford – Reducing Carbon Footprint of the NHS in the UK. Education of public and health professionals, Leading by example – TLC = Turn-off equipment, Lights off and Close the door

She suggests two ways that the health sector can contribute. The first is in education. We are in an enormously privileged position as health professionals because people trust what we say. If climate change is just seen as an environmental issue because for so many people it doesn’t mean anything to them personally. It’s someone else’s problem. But when they understand that actually, it’s about their health and there well being, then suddenly it becomes real. It’s about putting people at the heart of climate change because perhaps everyone will make their contribution, so we have a role to play in education. That also means educating the health professionals about the link between climate change and health.

The second point is about the health sector leading by example. In the UK our NHS is the biggest employer, and the fifth biggest employer in the world. They contribute 40% of the public sector carbon emissions. That is a challenge. They have mapped their carbon footprint together with public health and social care. They address it collaboratively across the whole system. They know the big three that needs to be addressed. Procurement. Travel. Reducing carbon emissions.

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