A healthy response to climate change

Climate change is often thought of through its physical manifestations – sea level rise, increased rain variability and more severe weather events. We envisage flooded buildings, melting ice caps and dams going dry. Does the perspective of extremity somehow put distance between us and these impacts?

In our efforts to curb and adapt to climate change, we can reframe the impacts and focus on the everyday implications of increasingly severe weather events. A good place to start is our healthcare system.

Extreme weather – droughts, storms, floods and especially heatwaves all have dramatic, sometimes immediate consequences for hospitals due to increasing admission rates and a compromised population. The success of our healthcare infrastructure during these periods is crucial if we are to avoid crises such as those experienced in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria. Extreme weather episodes are impartial to economic wealth and national boundaries.

The Australian healthcare system is uniquely placed to take action on climate change mitigation as it, more than most sectors, has serious skin in the game. It is not only responsible for 7% of our national carbon footprint, but also is responsible for managing the massive implications of climate change on public health.

We have identified two key opportunity areas:

  • Mitigate climate change through carbon emissions reduction. Reducing emissions from the sector can reduce costs and will result in improved public health outcomes through reducing the magnitude of global climate change.
  • Prepare for projected climate impacts through climate risk analysis and adaptation. The climate is changing and the continued operation of our healthcare system and infrastructure under increasingly extreme climate conditions is essential.

So, let’s get started. These are both great opportunities for change towards a healthier population and a healthier planet, and the team at Edge has the expertise to support health organisations in this journey for true adaptation, social and environmental responsibility:

  • Our work to develop Science-based targets for a variety of enterprises (including our own) provides a robust emissions reduction framework to keep climate change below 2°
  • We facilitate climate risk and adaptation workshops with diverse stakeholder teams from both the public and private sector looking to manage and reduce climate-related risks.

Get in touch with us to learn more.

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