The World Health Organization states that ‘climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity’. As healthcare professionals we have a duty to raise the alarm and act to avert this rapidly escalating public health catastrophe. As part of the health community, we are in a unique position to campaign for mainstream recognition that the climate emergency is a health emergency, and one that is happening now.
We understand that some people face greater barriers to protesting than others, and we do not expect people involved with us to break the law or even be directly involved in protests if they are not comfortable. There are many other ways you can help.
2023 is currently the hottest year on record. Extreme weather events have become an almost daily occurrence, killing thousands of people and wrecking lives. Yet, in the face of this, our government is still in a state of denial. Rishi Sunak has recently granted 100 new fossil fuel licences, which we know will kill thousands upon thousands of people, predominantly in the global south. There is a consensus from climate experts that the government is failing on its climate commitments. The Climate Change Committee is clear on this, and the High Court has ruled that the government’s inadequate net zero strategy breaches the Climate Change Act.
Supporting disruptive protest is an extremely difficult decision to take as a healthcare professional. We empathise with members of the public who may be negatively impacted by these actions. However, this is a last resort after decades of the scientific community and campaigners warning governments through other routes. There has been a total failure of conventional politics to address the problem. Historically, peaceful disruptive protest is how most social change has happened, with countless examples including the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement. Put simply, it works.
Being on the front line during the government’s negligent and corrupt management of the covid pandemic, we’ve all witnessed our leaders’ incompetence and contempt for science, and how they put the profit of their cronies above the health of their citizens. Big Oil, like Big Tobacco, has gotten away with lying through its teeth for decades to make profit at the expense of millions of lives. When we think about the effect of this on the people we care for we’re heartbroken and furious. But we won’t stand by. We believe we have the power to come together and defeat them. As is the case with the healthcare worker strikes, the time has passed for asking nicely. The next few years will be an absolutely critical time in human history. Do you want to be able to look back and tell future generations that you did all you could?
Click on this link for frequently asked questions: https://healthforxr.com/frequently-asked-questions/
What is Extinction Rebellion?
We are aligned with Extinction Rebellion in terms of our values and tactics, however we organise separately.
Extinction Rebellion “is a socio-political movement which utilises nonviolent resistance to avert climate breakdown, halt biodiversity loss, and minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse”
They have 4 demands:
1. Tell the Truth. All institutions must communicate the danger we are in. We must be clear about the extreme cascading risks humanity now faces, the injustice this represents, its historic roots, and the urgent need for rapid political, social and economic change.
[There has been some progress made, however Telling the Truth must be an ongoing process involving all government departments, the media and civil society, and should include a discussion of what is needed to overcome this crisis]
2. Act Now. Every part of society must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and begin protecting and repairing nature immediately. The whole of society must move into a new precautionary paradigm, where life is sacred and all are in service to ensuring its future.
3. Decide Together. We demand a culture of participation, fairness and transparency. The Government must create and be led by a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice. Only the common sense of ordinary people will help us navigate the challenging decisions ahead.
4. The Fossil Fuel Era must end. We must end all new licences, approvals, and funding for fossil fuel projects as we begin a transition to a fair society centred on reparatory justice for all life on earth.
Do we back all 4 demands?
In short, yes.
There are 100s of groups, each with their own agendas all fighting under the same banner as Extinction Rebellion, even though there may be variations on policy.
It is our opinion that remaining united gives a much better chance of success than forming another group.
Published annually, the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change is an international, multidisciplinary collaboration, dedicated to monitoring the evolving health profile of climate change, and providing an independent assessment of the delivery of commitments made by governments worldwide under the Paris Agreement. All content on this page is either Open Access or has been made free to read with registration.
A fascinating article about the history of healthcare professionals campaigning against nuclear weapons, and how it relates to our current struggle.