Climate change has captured much attention, but it is just one part of a much larger set of massive and rapid global ecological changes. While the UN has taken to referring to the ‘triple planetary crisis’ of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, even this does not capture the full extent of human impact upon the Earth – and thus upon human well-being. Canada’s ecological footprint is equivalent to five planets worth of biocapacity, and healthcare’s footprint is probably greater. So while health systems need to become low-carbon or net-zero, they need to go further. If healthcare is to stand by its ethical duty to do no harm, it must become a ‘one planet’ system. In addition to becoming a ‘net-zero system, healthcare must reduce the consumption of material resources, the use of toxic substances and production of all forms of waste, and protect and restore nature.
Trevor Hancock, Professor Emeritus
Dr. Myles Sergeant, MD
Presented on July 6, 2023