The Sustainable Development Special Interest Group (SIG) has been established to drive forward strategic action to embed the principles of sustainable development into all FPH does and stands for, in order to create a healthy, equitable and sustainable future.
The SIG will work to inform and develop the FPH's approach to sustainable development and climate change through developing, promoting and advocating for:
- Whole systems approach to health and care services
- Partnerships with alliances that achieve positive, sustainable development
- Good health through engagement with the natural environment
- Management pro-actives that take account of the limits of the Earth's resources and that reduce our impact
The SIG is co-chaired by Anya Gopfert (email@example.com) and Maria van Hove (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Previous events, recordings and resources
Have you ever found it hard to convince your organisation to prioritise sustainability and climate/environmental change? Would you like to learn how to inspire those around you to take action? Hear from a series of public health professionals on how they did it and what they learned along the way in our webinar on communicating and influencing on climate and health within our public health workplaces.
This webinar, hosted by FPH's Sustainable Development SIG, took place online on 6 September 2023.
We co-hosted the Climate & Health Conference on the theme of climate adaptation in the UK on 21 June 2023. This event was opened by Baroness Brown of Cambridge, representing the Climate Change Committee, who gave an overview of the importance of adaptation in the UK considering current and future challenges.
We learnt how we have a physiological need to adapt to increasingly hot temperatures as we are expecting heatwaves to become more intense, longer, and more common in the near future. We also learnt about how the UKHSA and Met Office are collaborating to protect the population from extreme events, which are expected to become more frequent due to climate change.
We understood that the built environment has a key role to play in adapting to a different climate as our traditional buildings are no longer suitable to keep us safe and comfortable. Finally, we discussed how adaptation is happening across the four nations and what else is needed to do.
Links to the presentations, as well as the event recording can be found below.
- The event recording can be viewed on the FPH YouTube channel here.
- 'Adapting to a Warming World' by Baroness Brown - view slides here.
- 'Adapting to extreme events and the role of the Adverse Weather and Health Plan' by Agostinho Sousa - view slides here.
- 'Assessing progress in adapting to climate change - Northern Ireland 2023' by Stephen Jones - view slides here.
- 'The Met Office and our Changing Climate' by John Hammond - view slides here.
- 'The “physiological” need to adapt' by Mr Andrew Mackenzie and Professor Mike Tipton - view slides here.
- Abstract presentations - view slides here.
- Further resources relevant to the topics discussed at the conference are available here.
In this meeting, a range of speakers gave an overview of the basics of climate change communication for public health. Watch the webinar recording and hear from:
- Professor Ed Maibach, Director of the Centre for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University in the USA;
- Kate Llewellyn, Head of Training and Engagement at Heard, a UK charity working with people and the media to inspire content and communication that changes hearts and minds;
- Matthew Green, global investigations editor at DeSmog, leading coverage of the global climate crisis, energy politics, and the struggles for environmental justice through an international lens.
This webinar took place on 13 June 2023.
Climate change is the single biggest threat to population health. Public health professionals have a key role to play in climate mitigation and adaptation. Therefore, public health registrars need to gain the competencies required to lead in this field.
Acquiring these competencies requires experience and exposure to the myriad organisations and sectors involved in mitigation and adaptation.
This FPH workshop discusses how these competencies can be achieved as part of a balanced training programme, including examples presented by current registrars.
In April 2023, FPH’s Sustainable Development SIG organised a webinar which covered the links between air pollution & climate change, as well as explored the co-benefits of interventions addressing both problems from a public health perspective.
This event included an opening lecture by Professor Chris Whitty and Professor Kevin Fenton, which was followed by a roundtable with many experts in the field of air pollution and climate change in the UK, chaired by Professor Stephen Holgate.
A recording of the webinar is embedded below. Slides from the event can be found here.
In January 2023, FPH’s Sustainable Development and Poverty SIGs co-hosted a workshop on how to ensure the public health response to the cost-of-living crisis was environmentally friendly and sustainable. The workshop presented a ‘Thinking Guide’ that was developed by the SIGs to help public health professionals prioritise sustainable interventions in tackling the cost-of-living crisis.
Public health thinking guide to the cost of living crisis
This thinking guide offers tools and prompts, embedded within a systems thinking approach, to support a sustainable and equitable public health response to the cost-of-living crisis.
In September 2022, the Faculty hosted an international Climate and Health Conference to support our action on climate change, and to bring together public health professionals from across the UK and overseas to discuss matters related to climate change, environmental protection, and sustainability.
Access the resources and recordings from the conference here.
The Faculty's Climate and Health Committee and Sustainable Development SIG has co-produced a checklist for running sustainable events.
The Sustainable Development SIG responded to the recent consultation and call for evidence on Greening the NHS, a programme designed to reduce the health sector's impact on public health and the environment, save money and – eventually – go net carbon zero. The SIG response was submitted in March 2020.
In December 2019, the Faculty responded to two Government consultations relating to the planning process for Hydraulic Shale Gas extraction (fracking) in England. One consultation related to the proposal that exploratory drilling should be covered by Permitted Development Rights (thus not needing planning consent), the other related to the proposal that Hydraulic Shale Gas extraction should be part of the National Significant Infrastructure Programme, which would mean that planning decisions are reserved to National rather than local level.
The Sustainable Development SIG also published a statement on the 2016 report from Medact on the issue of fracking:
FPH Fracking Statement, December 2019
Fracking is a term used to describe the process of high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) for unconventional shale gas deposits deep underground. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.
Health concerns have been raised in the US where fracking has been practiced on a large scale for over a decade, relating to management of the waste water produced, the risk of leakage of gases and chemicals into surrounding air and water, the nuisance effects, and socio-economic impacts.
The Faculty of Public Health endorses the findings of an updated 2016 report from Medact that examines the evidence set out in over 350 academic papers published since the original Medact report in 2015, looking at the impact of fracking on local communities, the natural environment and climate change. The Faculty supports the call for an ongoing and permanent moratorium on fracking due to the possible serious public health risks involved, which include:
- Adverse reproductive outcomes due to exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals;
- Risk of respiratory effects resulting from ozone and smog formation;
- Stress, anxiety and other psycho-social effects arising from actual and perceived social and economic disruption; and
- The indirect effects of climate change produced by greenhouse gas emissions.
The 2016 report from Medact is supported by a detailed and fully referenced set of long notes about fracking as a public health issue, covering climate change, energy policy, carbon budgets and alternatives to shale gas.
The Public Health Forum North West of England recently held the webinar ‘Climate Change and Health – the role of health professionals’.
Attendees heard from Professor Sue Atkinson, Chair of FPH’s Climate Committee and Dr Marc Davies, Public Health Speciality Registrar, as they discussed the impacts of climate change on health and the ways in which health professionals can help tackle the climate crisis.
Read the resources from the event here.
On Wednesday 9 October FPH's Sustainable Development Special Interest Group held a seminar at Strathclyde University on building environmental sustainability into UK public health research. Speakers at the event included Professor Karen Turner, Lynne McNiven, Dr Helen Walters, Phil Mackie and Sir Harry Burns. Read the full report and summary of discussions here.