An editorial published in 233 health journals calls for emergency action to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity, and protect health. It underlines why the planetary health notion is crucial for our future. The editorial calls for more to be done to address the “catastrophic harms to health” caused by the climate emergency. The health outcomes of warming temperatures, combined with the air pollution crisis, are already killing our patients and our communities.
On the same day, we celebrate the 2nd International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies. This day, initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is an opportunity to further raise awareness of the health benefits of cleaner air as well as to call for bold action to improve air quality globally. This year, in 2021, the theme is ” Healthy Air, Healthy Planet”, based on the planetary health approach. This notion recognizes that human health and the health of our planet are inextricably linked. As a result, taking action to combat air pollution is also acting to tackle the climate crisis and improve human health. The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) has co-signed an open letter to support and encouragement for the United Nations to improve air quality. It is a strong call for action for decision-makers to end all new fossil fuel development and secure a just transition for every community and country to our clean energy future.
The public health community is making its voice in other ways – Medics for Clean Air is a European coalition of doctors, nurses, researchers, medical students, and other health professionals who have signed a Manifesto for urgent and sustainable actions to tackle air pollution and to protect their patients and our environment – share their call with any medic you know and encourage them to get involved!
At the international level, with the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November, and at the European level, with the new EU climate legislation, the healthcare community must be listened to by decision-makers. The protection of our planet, our health and our blue skies is all the same.