Physicians’ responsibility toward environmental degradation and climate change

Physicians’ responsibility toward environmental degradation and climate change: A position paper of the European Federation of Internal Medicine

The current data on climate change and environmental degradation are dramatic. The consequences of these changes are already having a significant impact on people’s health. Physicians — as advocates of the patients, but also as citizens — have an ethical obligation to be involved in efforts to stop these changes. The European Federation of Internal Medicine (EFIM) strongly encourages the Internal Medicine societies and internists across Europe to play an active role in matters related to climate change and environmental degradation. At a national level, this includes advocating the adoption of measures that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and environmental degradation and contributing to policy decisions related to these issues. At a hospital level and in clinical practice, supporting actions by the health sector to reduce its ecological footprint is vital. At the level of EFIM and its associated internal societies, promoting educational activities and developing a toolkit to prepare internists to better care for citizens who suffer from the consequences of climate change. In addition to advocating and implementing effective actions to reduce the ecological footprint of the health industry, recommending the introduction of these themes in scientific programs of Internal Medicine meetings and congresses and the pre- and postgraduate medical training. At a personal level, internists must be active agents in advocating sustainable practices for the environment, increasing the awareness of the community about the health risks of climate change and environmental degradation, and being role models in the adoption of environmentally friendly behaviour.

Luís Campos a,* , J. Vasco Barreto b , Stefano Bassetti c , Monica Bivol d , Amie Burbridge e , Pietro Castellino f , Joao ˜ Araújo Correia g , Mine Durusu-Tanriover ¨ h , Carmen Fierbinteanu-Braticevici i , Thomas Hanslik j , Zbigniew Heleniak k , Radovan Hojs l , Leonid Lazebnic m, Maria Mylona n , Matthias Raspe o , Joao ˜ Queiros ´ e Melo p , Filomena Pietrantonio q , Reinold Gans r , Runolfur ´ Palsson ´ s , Nicola Montano t , Ricardo Gomez-Huelgas ´ u , Dror Dicker v

From: European Journal of Internal Medicine2022, in press