01-12-2021 | Commentary
‘Green podiatry’ - reducing our carbon footprints. Lessons from a sustainability panel
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research
The eyes of the world will be on COP26 as it meets in Glasgow in November, 2021. Our planet is displaying weather extremes due to climate change which cannot be ignored, and which are deleterious for people’s health. Ironically, healthcare contributes to climate change, contributing approximately 5% of carbon emissions globally. Climate change due to global warming is ‘the biggest global health threat of the 21st century’.
The Australian Podiatry Association conference held a sustainability panel, hearing perspectives of industry and science, medicine and sport, fashion, and retail. Content unified a broad planet and human health message, which is highly relevant for podiatrists. Key themes included waste as a resource, exercise as evidence-based intervention, responsibility and circular economy recycling principles for end-of-life product (footwear) purchases, and wider ethical considerations of footwear and clothing.
The Anthropocene origin of climate change requires humanity to collaborate and to live more sustainably. Innovation is essential for better energy modes, cleaner air, human health and earth care.
Green Podiatry joins the concerted activity of medical and health groups within Australia. The UK’s NHS is an exemplar in this area, having already reduced healthcare emissions by 35%, and aiming for net zero by 2045, and perhaps sooner.
People are increasingly concerned about climate change, and COP26 is an important and imminent meeting for human and planet health.
This commentary on Green Podiatry directs us all to lighten our carbon footprint. A final, and forthcoming commentary will outline practical ways of positively incorporating climate change communication into the clinical setting.