Raising awareness of people and planet on World Health Day 2022

Did you know that each year, 13 million people die from avoidable environmental causes (like climate change)?

Today (Thursday, April 7) is World Health Day – a day, celebrated annually & developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), that focuses attention on a global health concern.

This year’s theme is ‘Our planet, our health’. WHO are bringing the reciprocal human-environment relationship to the forefront. The health of our planet is directly related to the health of us as humans. We are currently facing a climate crisis and the environmental effects of this crisis are taking a toll on human health.

9 in 10 people in the world are still breathing polluted air (due to fossil fuels). Every 13 seconds, one person will die from diseases associated with this pollution such as stroke or heart disease. “The climate crisis is a health crisis,” says WHO.

World Health Day 2022 pushes for urgent action to be taken to keep humans and our beautiful planet healthy. WHO encourages us to reimagine a society whose focus is on ‘well-being’.

Through the ‘Our planet, our health’ campaign, WHO are urging governments and the public to share stories of the steps they are taking to protect the planet and prioritise well-being in our society.

According to WHO a well-being economy has human well-being, equity, and ecological sustainability as its goals. These goals can be translated into long-term investments, well-being budgets, social protection, and legal strategies.

Political, social, and commercial decisions are driving the climate crisis which is having damaging effects on our health. Polluted air, extreme weather events, land degradation and water scarcity are displacing thousands of people all over the world and having determinantal effects on their health. Plastic pollution has been found at the bottom of our deepest oceans, highest mountains and this pollution is ending up in the food chain.

Amid a pandemic, World Health Day has never been so important. Although the pandemic brought about advances in science and technology, it has also highlighted inequalities in access to healthcare around the world.

Breaking cycles of destruction for the planet and human health requires legislative action, corporate reform, and individuals to be supported, and incentivised, to make healthy choices.

Individually, we can all take small steps to reduce pollution, thereby helping to protecting our health and the health of others. We can do this by choosing sustainable options where we can. You can shop sustainably by doing your research before going to the shops, finding out which food or clothes are sourced/made ethically and sustainably.

Reducing our water usage also reduces the energy required to process and deliver it to homes, businesses, farms, and communities. This, in turn, helps reduce pollution and conserve fuel resources.

To learn more about World Health Day 2022, head to: \who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2022

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