Campaigning on the climate emergency and changing how BMJ operates in pursuit of a healthier world
The healthcare sector contributes 4-5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The physical health effects of climate breakdown are well established and occur through diverse pathways often disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations the most. There is increasing evidence that the climate emergency impacts mental health and wellbeing too, with “eco-anxiety” a growing problem for patients and doctors. 31
action. 35,36 The joint editorial emphasised the health impacts of the climate emergency and the need for governments to do more, and act faster to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity, and protect health. In order to align BMJ’s editorial voice with its internal operational practices, the business has become a signatory of the UN SDGs Publisher Compact and has also signed the ten commitments established by UKHACC, promoting positive impact on people and planet in all aspects of its operational activities. A healthier world requires a healthier environment and therefore BMJ is committed to global sustainability and becoming carbon neutral as a business by 2040, at the latest.
The BMJ has been raising awareness about the climate crisis since the 1990s, 32 emphasising its impact on health through changing patterns of disease, extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity and disruption to healthcare. 33,34 Our collective failure to respond to the climate crisis means we cannot reverse the damage already done. However, with urgent action we can mitigate against further damage to create a more sustainable future. Doctors and other health professionals have a key role to play in this change. The BMJ collaborated with the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC) to simultaneously publish a joint editorial in more than 200 journals calling on world leaders to take emergency
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