Blog 28: Climate change: Averting apocalpse and green jobs (02/4/19)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 28 coming at you from the watery graveyard / fiery wastelands of the future. Your monthly blog is here and it’s unapologetically apocalyptic. Climate Change should be in more headlines than Brexit, Leeds United, and any of the Queen’s new reptiles. If we don’t get a handle on Climate Change then in fifty years we won’t be campaigning to preserve the NHS, or for a pay rise, we will be scrambling onto the last raft in the spirit of the Titanic (hopefully not being serenaded by Celine Dion), and waving our grandchildren’s future bye-bye.

The Lancet Commission (hardly the Beano) have called climate change “the greatest threat to human health in the 21th century”, They have warned that climate change risks reversing the gains made in public health and development over the past fifty years, and have warned that “on the basis of current emission trajectories, temperature rises in the next 85 years may be incompatible with an organised global community“. I think this is a very powerful message from the heart of the medical establishment.

At our successful A.G.M in March (great to see you all by the way) we passed a Motion to make sure we were doing our bit. We have lobbied Leeds City Council, who have declared a climate emergency this week, alongside dozens of other local councils.

But what does this climate stuff have to do with the NHS and a Health Branch ? well….

The NHS is the largest employer in the UK and the fifth in the world. The impact that the NHS has on the environment is enormous; from contributing to 7% of road traffic, to procurement, to emissions from our utilities. Around 7% of all NHS estate is located in areas susceptible to flooding !! The NHS is to face one of its largest challenges if climate change is not brought in to check with a dramatic draw on its resources (as there is an increase in health problems associated with climate change).

The World Health Organization’ have projected a conservative 250,000 deaths per year between 2030-2050 for a narrow subset of well-understood effects of climate change (heat exposure of the elderly, diarrhoea, malaria and childhood malnutrition)!!!

Still thinking it’s not a Health’s Branch’s place to be concerned about all this?

Your UNISON Branch managed to fly our flag on March 15th when the City’s youth took to the streets protesting this very subject. Why educate us when we don’t have a future was their message. It was great to see such energy on the streets.

Climate Change is also a huge Trade Union subject. To redesign the fossil fuel design of the modern world is going to drastically change how we work.

Is this a threat to jobs then?  As a conscientious Trade Unionist I’m not going to fully support anything that will cut jobs?

NO – this is a terrific opportunity for new Green jobs. Unlike Thatcher who destroyed the coal industry, and left a gaping hole within those communities, this “just” green transformation could actually stimulate the economy and provide sustainable energy and jobs !!

UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals have been involved in a new lobby called @NhsClimate #NHSClimateEmergency – give it a follow !! Get informed, Get active….

….Speak Soon xxx