Leading Climate Change

Posted Monday February 28, 2022

Hopefully, in the Society’s February panui article on Climate change we got you thinking, What can I do? How can I, one person in Aotearoa New Zealand, make a difference? 

The Society recognises there are many gastroenterology professionals in Aotearoa and globally looking to make positive sustainable change to gastroenterology practice. We have been in touch with several individuals globally who are committed to a green gastro and endo practice. We will be holding hui with them over the next few months to kōrero and consider NZSG’s contribution.

In our sustainability journey, we have heard of some terrific initiatives in centres around Aotearoa. These include: 

  • benchmarking to know where we are and look at where we want to be 

  • finding solutions for the anaesthetic gases used during procedures - first discussed in 2019 by Counties Manukau

  • reducing waste by considering the types of supplies used, packaging, and alternate solutions

  • disposal options instead of the current landfill or offshore shipments of medical waste

  • journal clubs on the environmental harm of single use endoscopes

  • Joining grass-roots groups such as Green Endoscopy

At the local practice and hospital level, there are already green initiatives taking place with no fanfare.  It is just done as best practice. These pioneers in sustainability understand the need for change to ensure the profession supports global climate change. The Society thanks them for their leadership – and are keen to hear from these unsung environmental heroes.

In the article ‘Climate Change and Gastroenterology: Planetary Primum’ by R Haddock et al (American Journal of Gastroenterology January 2022) the complexity of sustainable leadership when added to an already hierarchal structure is discussed in detail. We suggest reading it for inspiration. It gives an excellent model of the characteristics, competencies, and behaviours sustainable leaders’ display. 

Are you a potential leader in sustainability? We encourage you to get in touch. There are significant opportunities coming up for international collaboration and research for gastroenterology and climate change.

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