Climate Change and Health Promotion
This virtual issue of Health Promotion Journal of Australia devoted to climate change is timely and important. The recent Paris Agreement in which the world’s nations committed to try to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures will mean our efforts to transform into low carbon societies and economies over next few decades will be both dramatic and disruptive. The nature and scale of disruption will depend on the extent to which industries, sectors, businesses and professions prepare for and are involved in this 21st century low carbon ‘revolution’.
As Brown et al. point out, climate change ‘is an issue without boundaries – impacts will cut across administrative and geographical borders and be felt by every sector of society’.
This is also true of the response required to transform our world. We need more systems thinking and collaborative approaches like the Sustain Northern Rivers model; we need to build resilience by working across boundaries, and expand on some of the great examples of climate sensitive health promotion practices.
Most of all, as health professionals, we need to make our voices heard on climate change. This means taking this message beyond our journals, and into parliamentary offices, into the media, and into the street. Time is very short to avert escalating and irreversible climate change. Becoming strong and visible advocates for urgent climate action is now the most important kind of health promotion strategy – not only for us, but for future generations.
Fiona Armstrong March 2016, Executive Director, Climate and Health Alliance