Declaration calling for family doctors of the world to act on planetary health (2)

23 April, 2019

Dear Neil,

I could not agree more [ Flying half way around the world to conferences is disastrous for the planet. We health workers are inclined to think that our individual contributions are so important that they should be an exception, but there are plenty of other people who know in rational, cognitive ways of the harm of climate change, but make exceptions for themselves. And those of us working in international development are among the worst, about as damaging to the planet as any superannuated conference speaker.

For many, perhaps most, of us capitalism with its need for consumption has grown up around us so gradually as to be almost imperceptible. Indeed, most of us were born into it. Yes, conferences aim to promote medical or scientific progress, but they are also part of the consumer industry. We healthcare professionals can be just as avidly caught up as consumers of conference opportunities as are younger people hooked on social media and their numbers of followers or “likes”.

Best wishes,

Stewart Britten

HIFA profile: Stewart Britten is advisor to the British NGO, HealthProm, on its project to reduce maternal and child deaths in Northern Afghanistan. He has worked for the reduction of institutionalisation of babies and small children in Russia by introduction of parent support programmes.

stewart.britten AT