Model: Case 6 and timing of Medical Peace Work

Week 6 wrap up

In Week 1, Galtung suggested that violence is not limited to violent events. People can be killed, psychologically harmed, maldeveloped or deprived through socioeconomic or political structures. This is called structural violence and it exists at all levels of society, intertwined with the abuse of social and economic rights. In the case of anthropogenic climate change, structural violence expresses itself by undermining basic survival needs.

At the end of this week, you should now be able to:

  • Describe the mechanisms by which climate change affects health.
  • Identify the relationship between health inequalities and climate change.
  • Evaluate climate change as a form of structural violence.

You have also seen that there are powerful synergies between practices that promote environmental sustainability and those that promote health. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and moving toward a low carbon society will bring substantial health benefits everywhere, including industrialised countries.

Health professionals have an important role to play in reducing environmental degradation from health service activities, through effective use of technologies, appropriate information management, minimising low-value activities and use of natural resources (non-pharmacological) and human resources (self-care). It is possible to reduce structural violence in society through the health system itself: look for approaches that are a “win-win” for both health and the environment.

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Medical Peace Work

University of Bergen

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