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Advocating for health

The fossil fuel divestment campaign is an example of health professional engagement in reducing the structural violence of climate change.

In this course we have considered many ways that health professionals can improve population health by promoting policies that reduce the structural violence that undermines basic needs.

To address the health threats that climate change poses, healthcare practitioners must understand the links between environment, health and lifestyle, which we have discussed. There are also considerable health benefits to reducing carbon emissions.

This film documents one example of this: the Fossil Free Health campaign which uses the respect and influence that health professionals enjoy to convince health organisations to withdraw financial investments (i.e. ‘divest’) from fossil fuel companies. The campaign has persuaded the British Medical Association (2014) and the World Medical Association (2016) to call on their members and health organisations worldwide to divest from fossil fuels, and reinvest in organisations upholding environmental principles in order to benefit human health in the short term and in the decades to come.

“We should push our own organisations to divest from fossil fuel industries completely and as quickly as possible, reinvest in renewable energy sources, and move to “renewable” energy suppliers.” – Editorial, British Medical Journal, 26th March 2014

Watch the video and note which aspects of the story you find most interesting.

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Global Health, Conflict and Violence

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