To mark World Health Day (WHD), the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is highlighting the leading role the nursing profession plays in mitigating the climate crisis and reducing emissions in the health care sector.
The 2022 WHD theme, ‘our planet, our health’, shines a spotlight on the devastating impacts of climate change on the health of individuals across the world, especially our most vulnerable populations.
“Nurses are on the frontlines of the climate crisis and protecting the environment we all love and share,” ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.
“Nursing is the world’s largest health profession and we are seeing the real-time effects changing ecosystems are having on physical and mental health across all the settings we care for consumers. Australians only have to look at the floods continuing to ravage our East Coast to see the undeniable links between the health of humans and the health of our planet.”
Adjunct Professor Ward also outlined how nurses are crucial to advocating for a more sustainable future, both in society and health care settings.
“Each and every day, my nursing colleagues across Australia are using their expertise and compassion to demand greater action to address the immense toll climate change is having on our local communities,” she said.
“When nurses lead society follows, and we are helping our most vulnerable deal with the uncertainty of the climate crisis just as we did during the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“However, the health sector is also a significant contributor to global emissions. As a profession, nursing is leading the way in developing innovative strategies to reduce waste and implement sustainable processes to mitigate our carbon footprint.
“At ACN, we are privileged to have passionate nursing leaders dedicated to tackling these issues in our Climate and Health Faculty and Emissions Reduction Policy Chapter. These groups are championing best practice policies and procedures to address the urgent need for action to reduce the impacts of climate change on our most vulnerable.”
ACN’s recently launched Nursing Leadership Emissions Reductions Guiding Principles document, which provides nurses and other healthcare professionals with advice on how they can educate, advocate and act for climate change and health, is available for download here.