Why Planetary Health?
The health and well-being of our society depends on the health of the ecosystem we as humans are part of. Our ecosystem is under pressure from environmental pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change, while healthcare accounts for 7% of total CO2 emissions.
Planetary Health is a solution-oriented, transdisciplinary field and social movement that focuses on analysing and addressing the impact of human disturbances to Earth's natural systems on human health and all life on Earth.
Nurses, as the primary providers of healthcare to all communities in all settings, are key to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In fact, if investment in the nursing profession is not made by governments and world leaders we cannot succeed. The ICN clearly describes the position of the global position of nurses in the field of sustainability in the Position Statement 'Nurses, climate change and health' (ICN position statement).
The Sustainable Nurse aims, that every nurse in the Netherlands works as a sustainable healthcare professional and contributes to a healthy living environment for all. To this end we focus on:
1. Promote planetary health and sustainability within the nursing profession, such as reducing waste and resource use, distributing resources fairly, and minimising environmental impact.
2. Advocate for policies and practices that promote sustainability and planetary health within healthcare organisations and institutions, politics, professional associations of healthcare, healthcare education. When working transdisciplinarily, representing nursing.
3. Actively contribute to the public debate on the relationship between human activity, climate change and environmental degradation, a healthy environment and health.
4. Educate nurses and other healthcare providers about planetary health, the impact of the nursing profession on the environment and vv, and provide them with the tools and resources they need to make more sustainable choices.
5. Collaborate with other organisations and stakeholders (such as Green Care Alliance, Care for Climate, Med-Zero) to promote sustainable healthcare practices, such as reducing the use of single-use plastic, promoting the use of renewable energy sources and sustainable transport.
6. Encourage nurses to think critically about the (local, regional and global) environmental and sustainability impacts of the products they use and advocate for the use of environmentally friendly products and degrowth.
7. Promote new knowledge and experience on healthy living and working environments. In doing so, we also, but not exclusively, focus on healthy, varied, more plant-based and sustainable food for clients/patients and staff, nature for clients/patients and staff and promoting the physical and mental health of the population, patients/clients and staff. (in line with Green Deal 3.0 goal 1)
8. Developing and sharing research on how to integrate sustainability into nursing practice and research.
9. Creating a network of nurses, nursing students, nursing teachers and researchers who can share information, skills, resources and feelings related to planetary health and sustainability in healthcare.