Bristol adults unite with Greta and Bristol youth on Climate Strike

Healthcare professionals march down Park Street with their message: the climate crisis is a health crisis.
Healthcare professionals march down Park Street with their message: the climate crisis is a health crisis.
Photography credit: Abbie Festa

On Friday 28 February hundreds of working adults turned out in support of Greta Thunberg and Bristol Youth Strike for Climate for Bristol’s biggest climate strike yet.

From healthcare workers to filmmakers, carpenters to lawyers, Bristol’s workforce came our in huge support of our children, calling on national and local government to take immediate action on the climate and ecological emergency to safeguard our futures.

Doctors, nurses, medical students and healthcare professionals marched from the Wills Memorial Building in their scrubs and uniforms at 11.15am, with their message: the climate crisis is a health crisis.

Abbie Festa, a 4th year medical student at Bristol University, who coordinated the healthcare strike, said:

“Climate change threatens every life on earth. I believe it is so important to show our support with the school strikers and speak out about how dangerous climate change is to human health. Without radical action, our training will not adequately prepare us for the reality that is to come. The health consequences of climate change will affect everyone, but it is our most vulnerable patients who are already dying.”

The striking healthcare professionals highlighted both local and global threats to human health, demanding urgent action from both healthcare institutions and the government.

Dr Patrick Hart, a GP and member of Doctors for Extinction Rebellion, added:

“We’re speaking out to raise the alarm on the impending health crisis. As healthcare professionals, our code of conduct compels us to act promptly where we notice unacceptable risks to patient health, both now and future. Climate change is the greatest threat to human life worldwide, so we’re demanding our Government take urgent action to address the crisis before it’s too late.”

A group of healthcare professionals across the UK are setting up a grassroots movement called ‘Health Declares Climate & Ecological Emergency’ which is to be launched this Spring for any healthcare professional to join. ‘Health Declares’ aims to lobby hospital trusts and Royal Colleges to declare a climate emergency and create long term system change to reduce healthcare’s contribution to climate change.

Bristol filmmakers also turned out in support of the Youth Strike, uniting with colleagues from across the film and television industry in supporting the youth strike. Dr Ben Garrod, Evolutionary Biologist, Primatologist and Broadcaster said:

“Those of us fortunate enough to be involved in making science and wildlife documentaries visit some of the Earth’s most beautiful places, see countless incredible species and spend time in the most amazing habitats. We also see the devastation wreaked across the world as a result of greed, exploitation and carelessness. By declaring a climate emergency, we can help lead change and direct the actions desperately needed to counter the impact of climate change. If we don’t act now, it will be too late.”

October 2020 will see the UN decide on a new biodiversity framework for the next 10 years under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which, alongside COP26 in Glasgow the following month, will be crucial in determining the future of the planet. Filmmakers For Future collective and the Film Strike for Climate Campaign are calling for the Film and Television Industry to make the urgent changes needed.


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