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New climate action resources for the eye care sector and member-survey

Published: 14.09.2021
Mitasha Yu Climate Action Working Group
Elise Moo Climate Action Working Group

The United Nations  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has revealed several devastating new facts on climate change and global warming via its latest report, released in August 2021. The IPCC is a global collaboration of scientists working to collate, assess and synthesise peer-reviewed evidence on climate change and its impacts.

The IPCC 6th Assessment report warns that human activity is “unequivocally” the cause of rapid changes to the climate, including sea level rises, heatwaves, floods and droughts, and warns that temperatures are likely to rise by more than 1.5C bringing widespread and more frequent extreme weather and natural disasters. The report has been called a “code red for humanity” by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. To combat this, country leaders must urgently act through policy changes and shifting their economy to a low-carbon footing.

The health care sector is not immune to the calls of the IPCC report to drastically cut carbon emissions. The health industry contributes 4.4.% of all global net greenhouse gas emissions.[i] The eye care sector will be impacted by predicted increases in eye diseases, disruptions of eye care services due to natural disasters, and severe impacts on supply chains.

As people working in the eye care sector, there are many things we can do to mitigate the negative effect of our work on the environment and improve environmental sustainability in our practice. IAPB’s Climate Action Working Group (CAWG) released their recommended 10 keys areas of action in the Call to Action for Environmentally Sustainable Practices in the Eye Health Sector and the Guide for Environmentally Sustainable Practices in the Eye Health Sector on Earth Day on 22nd April, 2021. These include:

  1. Lead on climate action
  2. Advocate to raise awareness
  3. Procure sustainably
  4. Reduce the use of fossil fuels
  5. Conserve water
  6. Reduce and safely dispose of waste
  7. Reduce and green travel
  8. Follow the 4 principles of sustainable clinical practice
  9. Embed environmental sustainability in education
  10. Focus your research

The CAWG are working to develop resources and tools that would assist educators, clinicians, managers and researchers to implement environmentally sustainable measures in their work.

Today we are releasing these recommended 10 key areas of action in a presentation format that  allows IAPB members to share key information within their workplaces and also with partners and stakeholders. This resource combines the critical information from the existing CAWG resources and communicates it in format that is easy to read and understand.  The newest resource of the 10 key areas of action in presentation format can be accessed here.

IAPB member survey

As we are in the early phase of development, we are keen to understand how IAPB Members are engaging with the available IAPB climate action resources and its 10 key areas for action, and identify additional information and resource needs. We are asking IAPB members to complete a 5 minute survey that can be accessed below:

What’s coming up?

The COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, will take place from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow, UK. IAPB’s CAWG are working to host an event to involve its members and the eye care sector. More details to come. Please join the IAPB mailing list to be kept up to date with upcoming events.

[i] Arup. (2019) Healthcare’s Climate Footprint. Healthcare without Harm & Arup

Image on top: A farmer doing his job/ Photo by: NIMAI CHANDRA GHOSH