COP26 – implications for Green Podiatry
You will have been following the discussions occurring in Glasgow this last week, as world leaders gather for vital discussions to commit to urgent global climate action.
It is well evident that we cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener and better future for us all.
The impetus for Green Podiatry comes from the indisputable connection between healthcare and climate change – some 5% of global carbon emissions come from healthcare as an industry, but in Australia, it’s over 7% – the highest in the world:
What has COP26 set out to achieve?
The first of four COP26 goals is:
1. Secure global net zero by 2050 and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
Countries have been asked to have ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets, and to reach net zero by 2050.
This requires us to:
- phase-out coal
- stop deforestation
- switch to electric vehicles
- use renewables
The further three COP26 goals are:
2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
- protect and restore ecosystems
- build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives
3. Mobilise finance
To deliver goals 1 and 2, developed countries must mobilise their promised $100bn pa (at least) in climate finance by 2020.
International financial institutions need to unleash trillions in private and public sector finance to secure global net zero.
4. Work together to deliver
We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together. COP26must:
- finalise the Paris Agreement to make it operational
- accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses, and civil society.
Further information at: https://ukcop26.org/cop26-goals/
What can Podiatrists do to be GREENER?
First of all, educate yourself. Our younger colleagues and students are going to be so important in adapting to a Green Podiatry strategy.
It was very timely to deliver a lecture to the 2021 final year podiatry students at University of Western Sydney, just prior to COP26. This invitation came from our APodA President, Dr Ainslie Davies, who introduced the session.
This is a 45 minute undergraduate lecture, so settle in, and glean a basic summary of the crucial interrelationships between healthcare and climate change. Note too, the opportunities, and indeed imperatives, that involve podiatrists as an allied health discipline, and all of us as global citizens.
The lecture can be viewed here.
Then, for some wonderful and high-level inspiration to act to protect ourselves and our beautiful world, please watch:
Sir David Attenborough – who has urged leaders to turn ‘tragedy into triumph’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6Biv7u8HAs
We must see the bigger picture – as global citizens, and as podiatrists. This was addressed in APodA Stride (August, 2020 PP 30-34): https://stride.podiatry.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/202008-apoda-stride-issue.pdf
Barbados PM Mia Mottley, has urged leaders at COP26 to ‘try harder’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN6THYZ4ngM
We can all do more – and here are some podiatry-specific ideas for you to adopt now, if you can: https://jfootankleres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13047-021-00483-7#readcube-epdf
Follow the APodA activity in the sustainability space. Together, we can do much more! Watch out for the next Commentary in JFAR!
Please join the Green Podiatry campaign: https://angelaevanspodiatrists.com.au/green-podiatry/
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Thank you for reading this Evidence Essentials blog post.
Dr Angela Evans AM
PhD, FFPM RCPS(Glasg)