Further to the recent Croakey post asking whether the Australian health sector is dragging the chain on climate change, here are some some tips for what health organisations can do.
They come from Chris Rissel, who was one of the authors of a recent article in the NSW Public Health Bulletin on the subject. He writes:
“If Australia is going to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets, then everyone will need to do their bit, and this includes the health sector.
Like any large organisation, it consumes a lot of resources in delivering its services, and has a lot of people working for it that can do things to help reduce the carbon footprint of the organisation.
There are fundamental things that all organisations should do, including saving power with energy efficient lighting, turning off equipment with standby lights that are not being used, and turning off lights in rooms that aren’t being used.
Adjustng air conditioning/heating a few degrees (in buildings that have to use it) to reduce energy consumption is easy.
For staff and visitors to health facilities, using public transport, walking or cycling will all provide health benefits from physical activity, and reduce emissions at the same time. Most people could use their motor vehicles less, with about 30 per cent of car trips under 2km – might even help the waist line.
New facilities should be built to minimise energy use, and take advantage of natural light and heating. An additional investment in solar power and water tanks is soon repaid.
A lot of the things that reduce carbon emissions also save money or are healthier, and should be done regardless of environmental benefits.”