The Climate and Ecological Emergency is one of the greatest challenges of our time. It threatens all
Human activity has caused atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations to soar, with CO2 emissions rising to levels not seen for the past 3.6 million years.1, 2 Despite a short stall related to pandemic shutdowns, their concentrations have continued their relentless rise.2
The climate crisis is a matter of life and death. The time to act is now - and the Intensive Care Society is committed to doing so.
At our 2023 State of the Art Congress in Birmingham our Cheif Executive, Sandy Mather, officially declared the climate emergency is a health emergency.
Read our full declaration, including the actions we've already taken and our plans for 2023, below.
In November 2021 we joined the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC), an alliance of UK-based health organisations representing about 1 million health professionals.
They coordinate action, provide leadership, and amplify the voice of health professionals across the UK. Their work is focussed on three key areas; raising awareness, empowering people and influencing change.
In 2023 they launched their committments for health organisations, of which the Society is a signatory, and we're working hard to make sure we meet each one.
Disposable gloves are one of the biggest environmental hotspots in hospital, with more than 100 used per patient per day in intensive care.3 Despite this usage there are many circumstances where glove use is unnecessary.
Using gloves when you don't need to not only contributes to environmental damage but it also disrupts good hand hygiene practice.
To mark World Hand Hygiene Day 2023 we've produced a series of posters for you to use in your unit, outlining when glove use isn't necessary and the questions you should ask yourself before you reach for gloves.
Download them today and make sure you share them with colleagues to help spread an important message that can have a big impact on planetary health.
Our friends at Wirral University Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been doing some excellent work in this space, and if you like our posters you'l be sure to be impressed by their work!
Sam Clark and the team have produced an excellent long form document and series of posters sharing the message of unneccessary glove use, and we'd recommend checking it out!
We've endorsed the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society's (ANZICS) Beginners Guide to Sustainability Toolkit. It provides practical solutions and suggestions that intensive care units can implement to help reduce their carbon emissions. It collates ideas and actions you can take, no matter what your profession, to contribute to a sustainable future for intensive care. deal with this problem.
The Intensive Care Society and the British Association of Critical Care Nurses (BACCN) are proud to endorse the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare’s (CSH) Critical Care Susnet.
The Susnet is a network where those working in intensive care can come together to share their sustainability-focussed projects and ideas. We are strongest and most effective when working together, which is why the British Association of Critical Care Nurses and the Intensive Care Society are delighted to announce our endorsement of the platform. Many useful resources are already available via the Susnet, to help our community tackle climate change, and we look forward to seeing this expand in the future.
As part of the Critical Care Susnet we support bi-monthly Sharing Hours hosted by Heather Baid, one of our Sustainabilty Working Group members.
These hours are open to anyone working across the multi-professional team in intensive care and are designed facilitate the sharing of ideas and sustainability projects in our specialty all over the UK and beyond. With a variety of guests on hand to take questions and share their work, these Sharing Hours are a great way to get inspired for your next project.
Keep an eye out here, or on our social media channels to find out when we'll be hosting the next Sharing Hour and how you can register.
Sustainabilty is a critical enabler of our 2023-27 Strategy, which determines all our work now and in the future. As part of this strategy we've committed to calculating our Scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint, so that we can identify our hotspots and what we can do to reduce them.
This work will be underway during 2023, and we're looking forward to reporting on our findings as soon as the project is complete. We'll be using the figures we find to help us meet our commitment or reucing our carbon footprint by 50% by 2030.
But Scope 1 and 2 is just the beginning, we'll also be undertaking a Scope 3 analysis, which we aim to complete by the end of 2024, to make sure we've factored in all our emissions, including those associated with our State of the Art Congress..
The project is a large and complex one, but it's vital to us achieving the commitments in our strategy and to meeting our sustainability goals.
The best place to start if you'd like to minimise your carbon footprint, is to understand what it's made up of. We're calculating ours to help us determine what changes we can make to reduce our impact on the planet. And you can calculate yours too!
The WWF environmental footprint calculator tool is easy to use and can help you understand the impact your daily choices have on the environment, like food, travel, your home, and the things you buy. It's a great place to start if you're not sure how you can start to make difference.
Are you a member of the Society and passionate about sustainability? Then we need you to be part of our working group and help us develop plans to operate sustainability as an organisation, and to drive sustainable intensive care practice.
We’ll be working with partner organisations, setting standards and guidelines to embed sustainable operating throughout healthcare, and facilitating educational sessions to increase knowledge of carbon literacy and environmentally sustainable practice in our community.
The group is open to all members of the Society, and if you’d like to know more you can check out our Terms of Reference.
To express your interest please complete the form below and return it to email@example.com.
In the lead up to the UN climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow we ran our Climate Change Urgency and Action webinar series, to help us understand what actions we can take to make a difference.
The programme ran across seven lunchtime sessions and included presentations from outstanding speakers, all of whom are experts in their fields.
If you missed out on attending any of the sessions you can find the recordings below, or catch up on our YouTube channel.
IPCC, 2021: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson- Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S. L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M. I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J. B. R. Matthews, T. K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2021, April 07). NOAA research news - Despite pandemic shutdowns, carbon dioxide and methane surged in 2020. Retrieved from https://research.noaa.gov/article/ArtMID/587/ArticleID/2742/Despite-pandemic-shutdowns-carbon-dioxide-and-methane-surged-in-2020
Hunfeld N et al (2023) Intensive Care Med 49, 65–74