On September 24th, 2021, thousands of climate strikes are taking place all over the world to demand urgent action to tackle the climate crisis. I am joining the strike in Okinawa, Japan.
Young people are spearheading these climate strikes with noble hope for their futures: “There is hope in the leadership of our young people, in our collective power, and in our unwavering faith in justice”. I cannot fool anyone by claiming to be young anymore, but I choose to remain hopeful about solutions to climate change and am joining them in solidarity.
Thousands of climate strikes are taking place all over the world to demand urgent action to tackle the climate crisis. I am joining the strike in Okinawa, Japan
Average global temperatures are now 1.2ºC above pre-industrial times and we are almost certain to see temperatures increase by 1.5ºC in the next 20 years. Rising temperatures and the impacts of climate change risk "catastrophic harm to health”. This month, more than 200 health journals co-signed an editorial calling for urgent action from governments to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity. However, based on today’s pledges of 197 countries and territories making up the Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change, we are set to see temperatures rise to 2.9ºC by the end of this century.
Kate Whitfield in the 2020 Global Climate Strike.
In this context, more and more private sector and public sector organisations like academic institutions are taking concrete action to decarbonise their own operations. ISGlobal can rise to the challenge by setting a 2030 net zero goal and taking steps to decarbonise our own operations.
ISGlobal can rise to the challenge by setting a 2030 net zero goal and taking steps to decarbonise our own operations
ISGlobal’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of populations. Given that the effects of climate change are a direct threat to global public health, decarbonising our own operations aligns with our organisational purpose. ISGlobal has rightly embraced the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a strategic framework, and this provides the solid basis for a net zero goal and implementation plan. This would include actions such as:
- Improving energy efficiency in our labs and IT systems.
- Switching to 100% renewable energy.
- Prioritizing virtual conferencing and low-carbon travel as set out in our revised travel policy.
- Talking with our funders about valuing our sustainability efforts and their role in accelerating the decarbonisation of the academic sector (two good examples are UKRI and MSCA).
- Talking and collaborating with global partners like the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM), in Mozambique to share best practices and work together to decarbonise operations in a way that is mindful of the disparities between institutions in high income and low income settings.
- Embedding sustainability into everyone’s role and responsibilities, enabling, and empowering us all to be part of the effort.
Let’s act in the interest of global public health and rise to the net zero challenge. There is no time to waste.