Blog: The climate crisis is a health crisis. This has to happen

Three generations of healthcare professionals with the same passion, the same enthusiasm, and the same drive flew – and with some trepidation – to COP28. Because for the first time at this global climate summit, health and healthcare were also on the agenda. Now that they’re back, Doctor Evelyn Brackma, Healthcare Director Jock Boonstra and Catering Director Kathy Van Beek are calling out for help. The climate crisis is a health crisis, but health care cannot solve it alone.


The 28thH This year, for the first time, the Global Climate Summit also addressed health and healthcare. We, three generations of healthcare, have the same passion, the same fire, the same thing Driving He flew there – with some trepidation. Finally, the climate crisis is explicitly linked to health and is also recognized as a health issuecalamity. Finally, promises are made, autographs are signed, and funds are released. Rightly so.

The code is red

Because it is a crisis. According to The Lancet, it is a “red symbol” for a healthy future. The planet is sick and climate change is making its people sick too. Globally, malnutrition, dehydration, infections and chronic diseases are on the rise due to climate change. In Pakistan, floods displaced 33 million people. In Europe, 20,000 people died due to the heat wave last year. We also see health effects in the Netherlands. Asthma, skin cancer, heat stress, Lyme disease. These are just a few examples of the conditions that are increasing. No organ was saved.

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Care as a pollutant

Ironically, our health care system itself is also a major source of pollution. Each year, the US healthcare system alone, including its suppliers, is responsible for the loss of 614,000 years of healthy life, 5.9 million tons of hazardous waste, more than half a kilo of single-use plastics per patient per day, and 7 percent Of hazardous waste. Water use. Globally, carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for about 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions – in the Netherlands, they even reach 7 percent. Also, health care itself is making people sick and this must change.

It changes

In Dubai we had good and interesting discussions on this matter with relevant companies, policy makers and lobbyists. A frequent question was: “How can we help you?” Indeed, healthcare players cannot solve this climate and health crisis alone, and it requires a change in systems, but also in thinking and action. This change affects us all. What can you do as an employer, supplier, insurer, policy maker, financier, or concerned citizen?

  1. The most sustainable form of care is care that does not have to be provided. Cherish your health and make a healthy lifestyle a priority. Whether you do it for yourself and your family, as an employer for your employees or as a community organization. Did you know that The Lancet EAT recommends eating plant-based foods for your health and climate?
  2. The climate crisis is a health crisis, and climate policy is also health policy. This awareness could be spread much better. The media, educational institutions, and the business community have a major role to play in disseminating knowledge and encouraging healthy behavior, and we call on them to do so.
  3. 60% of carbon dioxide emissions originate from the production of what we buy. Medicines, medical devices and food are the main items. Our producers can contribute to this climate and health crisis by making their production process more sustainable, through more reusable products and less packaging.
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With every effort for the climate, no matter how small, we gain health. In order to make significant strides in this climate and health crisis, we must work hard with stakeholders across the healthcare chain. Are you with us?

Kathy Van BeekDirector of Catering for Health and Sustainability and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Vegetable and Fruit House

Boonstra jokeVice Chairman of Erasmus MC and Head of Sustainability NFU

Evelyn Brakmaphysician-scientist at Leiden University Medical Center and president of the Green Care Alliance

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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