The International Federation of Environmental Health, the London-based global organisation for environmental health professionals, declared 26 September to be World Environmental Health Day in 2011.
A decade on, IFEH continues to promote worldwide coordination of environmental health campaigns to slow climate change and strive toward a more sustainable global economy. The highlight in the organisation’s calendar, World Environmental Health Day focuses on actions we can take to create a healthier and greener world.
This year, the IFEH’s theme for World Environmental Health Day is Prioritising Environmental Health for Healthier Communities in Global Recovery, acknowledging that Covid-19 is unavoidably playing a role in the world’s response to climate change.
While Covid-19 has had certain positive outcomes in the form of reduced global and domestic travel and associated pollution, climate change statistics show that not even a pandemic as devastating as Covid-19 on the global economy can reverse the trends of climate change. It will take a sustained and coordinated effort on our part to maintain a liveable planet.
According to The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970–2019), compiled by the World Meteorological Association, there has been a fivefold rise in climate-related disasters over the last 50 years. Insurance and recovery costs are rising alongside this incidence of disasters.
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows unprecedented climatic changes caused by humans, such as continued sea level rise, are not reversible within hundreds of thousands of years. However, the IPCC says with strong and sustained reduction of emissions such as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, global temperatures – which have risen by 1% on average since industrialisation began – can be stabilised.
Unless targeted interventions begin now, the IPCC estimates that the Earth will cross the 1.5°C global warming level that will herald devastating heat waves, shorter cold seasons and threatened agricultural activity – not to mention worsening natural disasters such as flooding.
Sustainable building materials group Eva-Last co-founder Nathan Chapman says the world’s rapid rate of urbanisation has placed responsibility on the industry to come up with cleaner and greener alternatives to building materials that destroy the planet’s natural ecological buffers.
“Sustainability is the Eva-Last ethos, which is why we use recycled plastics and fast-growing bamboo fibres in manufacturing our products. Our manufacturing facility is also powered by solar power, and we are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council because as much as our customers desire the look and feel of natural timber, we stand for the preservation of the world’s natural forests,” says Chapman.
“We celebrate World Environmental Health Day because our business is geared toward providing clean, green and sustainable building products that perform for decades. We back the IFEH’s credo of creating sustainable working and living spaces that can allay the worrying climate change trends we are seeing. We call on all businesses and individuals to learn more about what they can do to fight climate change and join hands to make this world liveable for generations to come,” he adds.