September 2022: If grief is the price of love, responsibility is the price of power

Posted by: HealthXR - Posted on:

At 10 am on Sunday September 18th, doctors, nurses, educators and scientists stood in front of 10 Downing Street (on Whitehall) to denounce the tragedy unfolding in the United Kingdom even as the nation mourns. 

If grief is the price of love, responsibility is the price of power. While the eyes of the world are turned towards the UK, we ask the government to address the concerns of the people, and to allow them to live in dignity. 

King Charles III said, at Davos two years ago: “Global warming, climate change, and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced […] I have come to realise that it is not a lack of capital that is holding us back, but rather the way in which we deploy it. Therefore, to move forward, we need nothing short of a paradigm shift, one that inspires action at revolutionary levels and pace.”

While people from all walks of life are united in grief, the new UK government’s policies will further drive the division between rich and poor.

London currently sits in the centre of the world stage during an intensive period of mourning. Meanwhile, the new UK government is facilitating the expansion of the fossil fuel industry with taxpayer money, fuelling further the climate, ecological and cost-of-living crises. 

The United Nations estimated that around 33 million people have been affected by the recent flooding in Pakistan. The World Health Organization and other health associations have just made an unprecedented call for a global fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty [1]. Meanwhile, the new UK Secretary of State for Energy, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a climate sceptic, has declared [2a] that “We will extract every ounce of oil and gas from the North Sea” ignoring recent warnings by the UN’s International Energy Agency [2b] and overwhelming scientific advice to stop all new fossil fuel expansion [3].

With inflation spiralling out of control, millions of households are facing fuel poverty. Meanwhile the UK chancellor is considering lifting the bankers’ bonus cap [4]. Meanwhile, the UK prime minister still refuses to consider a significant windfall tax on the exorbitant profits made by the fossil fuel industry [5]. 

UK lawyers warn us that the climate crisis ‘threatens rule of law and civilisation’ [6] and health organisations have put the UK prime minister on notice [7]. Meanwhile, instead of fixing Britain’s antiquated housing, the government has scrapped green levies from energy bills that were invested in renewable energy and home insulation projects [8]. 

Quotes from scientists and health professionals

“Our late Queen will be remembered for her concern for the well-being and future of ordinary people in Britain and the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, our government is undermining that well-being and wrecking those futures by ignoring the science and stepping back from our climate change commitments. By failing to support cost-saving home insulation, under-investing in green energy and focusing on renewed fossil fuel extraction that will benefit rich companies more than struggling citizens, they are leading us towards a 2 degree or more increase in global temperature and its catastrophic consequences.” 
Prof Jeff Waage OBE, University of London.

“My patients are unable to heat their homes and eat. This crisis was avoidable if the government cared for the public health, not big business.” 
Sarah, NHS Social Prescriber

“At a time when the UK should be leading the way with renewables and insulating homes to cut energy costs for UK bill payers, PM Liz Truss is instead subsidising fossil fuel companies at our expense and pushing ahead with fracking.”  
Dr Tristram Wyatt, Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford

“Our patients breathe toxic air and face huge bills for basics. We have months to stop the very worst effects of the climate crisis. Governments are wasting vital public money on boosting the profits of polluters when they ought to invest in clean energies and relieving fuel poverty.” 
Dr Juliette Brown, Consultant Psychiatrist

“Whilst attention is focused on the Queen’s life and death, those in power continue to make decisions that devastate lives and contribute to countless deaths. I’m desperate to see our government act urgently to prevent further loss, damage, suffering and grief.”  
– Dr Abi Perrin

“At a time when many are focused on the Queen’s death and a period of mourning, the government might hope we will not notice its disregard of the climate crisis. But it’s essential people know the new Truss government plans to turn its back on the science by pushing for every last ounce of oil and gas to be drawn from the north sea, all while using taxpayer money to prop up the obscene profits of fossil fuel companies. As scientists, health professionals and educators, we have a duty to speak out now about the UK government’s dereliction of duty to protect the climate and its failure to urgently reduce emissions.”  
– Dr Stuart Capstick, Senior Research Fellow, Cardiff University.












Photographs of the event: