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Earth Day/Health Day

We live on a beautiful planet. With its majestic mountains, oceans of unknown depth and deep forests, the Earth offers endless vistas to explore and marvel at. April 22 marks Earth Day and it is a time for us to remember to take care of this planet. It is also a time to remember that caring for the health of our planet is also central to caring for our own health. 


In her TED talk at TED Montreal, emergency room physician Dr. Courtney Howard reminds us that a healthy planet is pivotal to healthy people. Climate change is impacting human health in many ways. Flooding, drought, famine and natural disasters have created “climate refugees”. Displacement and conflict have resulted from these mass migrations. One billion people, or one seventh of the Earth’s population, face food scarcity due to disruption in global food supply.  


There are no boundaries when it comes to climate change. Water, air and soil pollution cannot be limited by geographic and economic boundaries. In fact, the Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, has called climate change the 21st century’s greatest health crisis.  


We can all make small changes that have far reaching benefits to the health of the planet. We can become more mindful of our addiction to fossil fuels. Walk, bicycle and avoid unnecessary driving. Reduce your carbon footprint. Shift to a diet that has a greater proportion of plant based foods. Hold corporations that do not take their responsibility to the environment accountable. Make elected officials accountable. Climate change is not a done deal. It is not a fatal diagnosis. We can find a cure. 


Taking responsibility for the Earth’s health is really an extension of taking responsibility for our own health. 

Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and grandmother of one lovely princess! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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