Amy McIntosh is Health Planet UK's National Committee Lead.
To round off 2018 and jump into 2019, Amy McIntosh, Healthy Planet UK’s National Committee Lead, chats about highlights from across the network from the past year and ways you can get involved in 2019.
The year kicked off with the National Training Weekend in February in the Peak District. We spent two days forging new friendships, equipping ourselves with new knowledge about climate change & health, belly dancing, goal-setting, project mind-mapping, debating, vegan-cake eating and blizzard-trekking! Creating a fresh vision together has given us new heights to aim for, steering the rest of the activity for the upcoming year.
But did we make it closer to living in fair and sustainable communities, which take collective responsibility for the unified health and wellbeing of people and our planet? We are one step closer to seeing a greater number of communities living this way due to exponential growth of branches this year – we got to celebrate the launch of new Healthy Planets in Sheffield, Bristol & Cambridge! All these branches are already having huge impact encouraging their cities and universities to understand the importance of the protecting the climate to improve health. From medical students, to GP practices, to school children, these branches are making strides to encourage everyone to take responsibility for living in a healthy planet.
Working with our affiliate organisation, Students for Global Health (SfGH), we passed not one, but two policies at their spring general assembly! This means SfGH now has the mandate to advocate, educate and take action to reduce air pollution. They will also continue to take steps to make sure that their money is not funding the fossil fuel industry – key to making sure we prevent runaway climate change.
Exciting new ties were also forged with Sustainable Healthcare Education, partnering to improve sustainability teaching in medical schools. And not forgetting the March for Climate Justice, which saw network members from across the country walk across London with hundreds of others to campaign for climate justice!
We rounded off the year with a shiny new national committee in newly polished roles – with positions that specifically focus on schools projects, sustainable education, policy and political action. Get to know them through our new Instagram account – they’re a great bunch and would love to hear from you! The national committee exists to support the branches in all the groundwork they do.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of the national committee if you would like to get involved in the areas they are focussing on through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like any year, 2018 was not without its hitches and hard work and we’ve still got a long way to go to reach our vision! This includes improving the national committee structure, with better clarity about each role and improved coordination to ensure that it serves branches as best as it can, providing more opportunities for members to get involved in national projects. Gaps remain in national committee as affiliates coordinator and treasurer, two essential roles to continue our partnership with SfGH and improve funding.
We hope that this year will bring about more resources for those wanting to start school’s projects and set up branches. An urgent update of our constitution will give better clarity for those new to Healthy Planet. This year we will resurrect our historical efforts to campaign for health organisations to divest from fossil fuels, with a new partnership with Medact. Much work is still needed to ensure that the SfGH policies are put into action and used. The recent IPCC report gives us even more motivation to act fast and efficiently to complete all these so that everyone can enjoy a healthy environment!
What will your 2019 Healthy Planet year look like?
There are so many ways to play your part in working towards a healthier planet – don’t hesitate and start your year off right!