What to do about the climate crisis?
28 September, 2021
Do you ever feel helpless and overwhelmed by the immensity of the climate crisis? As a mother the implications of the most recent IPCC report are terrifying. The report highlights that the 1.5 °C and even 2 °C limits to warming are slipping out of reach. Human-caused warming now impacts every region on the earth.
Despite decades of international negotiations and targets, emissions continue to rise. The risk of crossing thresholds, leading to continued heating until a new equilibrium is reached (even if we cease emissions) 'cannot be ruled out'. How do you plan for your children’s future in this context?
Seeing news reports of what’s already happening ('heat-domes', wildfires, floods, storms) and reading about the devastating impact this is already having on our health – a burden disproportionately felt by children, the elderly, low-income and non-white communities – many of us feel compelled to 'do something', but what?
Personal lifestyle changes (reducing meat, flying less, cycling etc.) are important and help us feel better but, at this late stage, change at the scale and pace required can only come from our government and institutions. So how can we, as individuals, influence and help them to do what is needed?
It was this question that led me to become an activist, a climate educator and most recently to leave clinical practice as an addiction psychiatrist to join the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH), with the goal of training healthcare staff to make the NHS Net Zero pledge a reality. The NHS is responsible for 5% of UK emissions, this sits uncomfortably with the imperative to 'first do no harm'.
All Trusts are now required to produce a 'Green Plan' but few staff have the knowledge required to help with this. Our new three-part course – Sustainable Mental Healthcare (starting on 20 October) was developed in collaboration with RCPsych and is an ideal way to skill yourself up to contribute, or lead!
The course will walk you through the direct and indirect impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss on mental health, while exploring how to build mental healthcare systems which not only mitigate negative impacts on the planet, but enrich the lives of individuals and communities, and the planetary systems and ecosystems on which we depend.
Having done some CSH courses myself I know how well-crafted, informative, and practical they are; giving you the tools to go back and make your contribution to building a safer future by tackling environmental impacts from your organisation.
Albert Einstein once said "The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything". None of us can afford to be bystanders in this. Check out the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare website to explore our full range of courses, sign up, and begin your journey to hope, for all our futures.