The World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA), the Planetary Health Alliance, and the Clinicians for Planetary Health Working Group have published a declaration that any Family Doctor can commit to. It asks Family Doctors to take action:
We ask family doctors to take action by raising awareness within their communities about planetary health and opportunities for solutions, preparing for and responding to the negative health outcomes associated with disruptions to our natural systems, and to directly work against accelerating environmental change through healthcare sustainability practices, advocacy efforts, and community activism.
As to why Family Doctors should play a role, the declaration explains that family doctors are on the frontline of protecting health, and it is therefore important that they understand the relationship between environmental health and emerging health impacts. As one of the most trusted sources of information in a shifting planetary health landscape, Family Doctors have a unique opportunity to safeguard both the health of their patients, and that of the planet.
The declaration introduces Planetary Health as:
Planetary health is a field focused on characterizing the linkages between human-caused disruptions of Earth’s natural systems and the resulting impacts on public health. It aims to develop and evaluate evidence-based solutions to safeguard an equitable, sustainable, and healthy world.
It cites the health risks of environmental change as Increasing non-communicable disease burden, Declining nutrition, and New infectious disease exposures. The declaration is clear that these challenges are simultaneously opportunities to make a difference, and gives doctors nine clear, actionable routes to being catalysts of change.
Park.Doctor supports this declaration and the general call to action for doctors to take an active role in addressing our environmental crisis. Park.Doctor’s work with protected areas speaks to many of the interventions cited in the declaration, and we encourage any doctors who have committed to this declaration to get in touch to find out how they can get involved with us.
Read the declaration here: Declaration calling for Family Doctors of the World to Act on Planetary Health.