Destination zero: public health leadership in a time of climate emergency
PHE ePoster Library. Brook A. Sep 12, 2019; 274477; 39
Anna Brook
Anna Brook
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Abstract UK, Scottish and Welsh Parliaments and a growing number of local authorities have declared climate emergencies, with ambitions to get carbon to ‘net zero'.The scale of the threat to public health of not ensuring a rapid and just transition to zero carbon, and the huge opportunity for positive impacts on health and inequalities if done well, make it imperative that public health actors take a lead to protect people and places. But how can public health best respond and support this agenda? How should public health professionals show leadership in a way that reframes zero-carbon and sustainability as not only a core component of public health work but of all governmental business?A public health approach to Zero-Carbon requires considering sustainability and zero-carbon in all policies. This would mean embracing the opportunities for prevention inherent in actions such as public transport infrastructure, re-wilding local areas, insulating homes, improved air quality from cleaner energy, a ‘just transition' to ‘green' jobs, a sustainable economic model and planetary health diets. Importantly, it will also maintain a sharp focus on reducing health inequalities for the whole population. There is the potential for true transformational change through re-imagining how we can live, work, and play, within a sustainable economy, to deliver rich gains for population wellbeing and social justice. This will require courageous leadership, power sharing, creative communication and adaptive responses to emergent evidence.We discuss how public health can provide support and demonstrate leadership in order to deliver on a zero-carbon future. External funding details
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