Showing the planet you care helps to mitigate some major public health challenges.
How are you going to show your loved ones you care this Valentine’s Day? A box of chocolates? A special dinner? What about committing to an activity that will help keep them – and millions of others – safe and healthy?
According to the Climate Coalition’s latest Show the Love report, taking action on climate change is one of the most important things we can do to guard against ill health in those we care about, as well as protect the places that we love.
The report shows that the health of more than 12 million people – equivalent to the populations of Greater London and Greater Manchester combined – is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. These risks include flooding, heatwaves, infectious disease, respiratory problems and psychological challenges.
Here are some stand-out statistics from the report.
- By 2050, the annual number of heat-related deaths in the UK could increase by 250%
- 8 million people live in areas at risk from flooding – this could increase by 40% in 17 years
- One in three people suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after their home is flooded
- Climate change is linked to greater pollen release – bad news for hayfever sufferers
- The NHS sees between 2,000 to3,000 new cases of infectious disease every year.
These are certainly disheartening figures, but as the report notes, it’s not too late to turn things around. If a quarter of England’s population regularly cycled and electric bikes were used widely, for example, we could see pollution-related deaths fall by 11%. In fact, reducing air pollution overall could avoid 10,000 deaths a year.
Meanwhile, transitioning away from coal-fired power could prevent 3,800 premature deaths each year (and save the NHS £3.1 billion in healthcare costs!), while adopting a greener diet could avert around 37,000 deaths every year.
So it’s more important than ever to #ShowTheLove. Start by signing the Climate Coalition’s #ShowTheLove declaration, which requests that politicians take action for a cleaner, greener, fairer and healthier future for everyone. Then, commit to simple lifestyle changes that can make a difference to the environment and, crucially, the lives of the people you love. Here are quick and easy ideas to get started.
- Go easy on the meat. Check out our tips for a low carbon diet here.
- Make sure your home is well-insulated. Here are some super quick, low-cost hacks.
- Stop wasting water. We’ve got 10 really easy ways to do so right here.
- Leave the car at home once in a while. Here are six shocking stats that might convince you!
- Switch to a green energy supplier. It’s easy-peasy – here’s how.
And don’t forget to get online and tell everyone what you’re doing. Use the #ShowTheLove hashtag to share your top tips and look for inspiration from others!
The bottom line
The impact of climate change on the health of the planet is well documented, but as The Climate Coalition’s latest report shows, it stands to have major consequences for human health, too. Taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint with climate-friendly actions shows your loved ones that you care about their wellbeing right now, as well as their wellbeing in the future.
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