Pegasus Health signs OraTaiao ‘Climate Change and Health’ Call For Action

Pegasus Health is pleased to announce that we have signed the OraTaiao Health Professional’s Joint Call for Action on Climate Change and Health.

OraTaiao is a climate response group, who advocate for a health-focused Te Tiriti o Waitangi-based climate response that will achieve international and ethical obligations to keep global heating to less than 1.5 degrees celcius above preindustrial levels. They recognise that climate change is the biggest public health threat of the 21st century.

Pegasus Health signing the OraTaiao Climate Change and Health Call for Action is a significant milestone.

“Having Pegasus Health as the first Primary Health Organisation (PHO) to sign, is a major step in strengthening our collective voice, and in bringing to the fore the central importance of primary care in both advocacy and climate response itself,” says Dermot Coffey, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: NZ Climate & Health Council.

Pegasus Health has joined 18 national bodies and 1,000 individual members, calling for more action to address the threat to health and equity posed by climate change.

“Primary care needs to be mindful of environmental harms, as we will be at the forefront of efforts in Waitaha Canterbury with the increasing risk to health from global warming,” says Anna Thorpe, Population Health Specialist at Pegasus Health.

OraTaiao is encouraging all health bodies and individuals to join OraTaiao and support the Joint Call for Action.

“Our voice is what gives us strength, and we should use our privileged position as health workers to advocate for a healthier world,” says Dermot.

Anna says being a big PHO it is important that we set a positive path for primary health and do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint and be proactive in this area.

While healthcare is responsible for only 4% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s overall climate emissions, OraTaiao strongly believe in addressing areas where the most rapid gains can be made.

“Switching from metered-dose inhalers to drypowder inhalers is an example of something that is often overlooked, it minimises the use of gases like nitrous oxide. Most of the emissions in primary care are generated indirectly through service use,” says Dermot.

Some actions Pegasus Health has planned to lower carbon emissions include:

  • reducing energy use
  • reducing heating and cooling for business hours
  • reducing paper use by implementing recycling trays
  • reforming the Pegasus Health Environmental Network
  • Te Ohu Tautaiao
  • continuing initiatives, such as battery collection tins, bottle top collection, Plant Lovers of Pegasus (where people can trade plants) and Book Lovers
    of Pegasus (book trading for staff).

“It’s about together making modest changes, integrating these changes to become normal, then moving on to the next small change you can make together until this too becomes a part of our lives,” says Anna.

For more information on the joint call to action, click here.

Read the full August newsletter here