Healthcare workers stand with the Student Climate Strikers

Millions of children and young people from around the world have been striking from school on Fridays to highlight political inaction on the climate crisis. The Youth Climate Strikers called on adults everywhere to get behind them on the 20th September and demand urgent climate action. Medact has been working with health workers in London, Glasgow, Oxford, Leeds, York, Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield and the Scottish Highlands, to show health sector support for the youth climate strikes. 

Today, groups of healthcare workers took to the streets across the UK to participate in student-organized demonstrations in their towns and cities. Workplace-based actions, to show support for the students’ demands, were also organised by healthcare workers who could not leave their patients to join the demonstrations. GPs spoke to their local media outlets about the health impacts of climate change and organised creative photo-ops to show their support for the students outside their surgeries. Other medical practices hosted climate and health information stalls or showed films about climate and health. Climate engagement activities also took place in some hospitals. Other health workers organized evening “vigils for planetary health” after work.

Medact member and nurse, Gay Lee, who was part of the health bloc at the London Climate Strike said:

“The youth strikers’ clear, urgent calls for political action to address the climate crisis have inspired me to join them on the streets. The climate crisis is a huge public health issue and we need deep, structural changes to our current economic systems if are to address it. Campaigning for these changes is now an essential part of my duty to “do no harm”. 

Commenting on the strikes, Jessica Ahmed, 16 of the UK Student Climate Network said:

“The government’s failure to tackle climate change and implement effective policies can’t be ignored anymore. On September 20th, millions of people will be taking action globally, demanding change and policies that will protect our future, such as a Green New Deal. Instead of focusing all their energy on Brexit, we desperately need our politicians to put their time, resources and money towards dealing with the worsening climate emergency. Time is running out.” 

Medact has encouraged healthcare workers and healthcare professionals to use their non-working days, or break times, to take to the streets in support of the students. We have not encouraged patient facing healthcare workers to strike but have supported them to take alternative actions to show their solidarity with the students and to back up their demands for urgent climate action. 

For more information, or to get involved in our climate work, email [email protected] or sign up to our Fossil Free Health mailing list.

A selection of photos from today’s actions are included below.

Healthcare “Die-In” at the London Climate Strike

Highland GPs support the Student Climate Strikes

Health Action at the Glasgow Climate Strike

Action to support the Climate Strikes outside St George’s Trust, London

Health workers at Weston General Hospital support the Student Climate Strikes

Medact Yorkshire at the York Students’ Climate Strike

Health workers in Dorset show their support for the Student Climate Strikes

Birmingham health workers at the Birmingham Student Climate Strike

Bristol health workers and health students support the Student Climate Strikes

Health workers at the Oxford Climate Strike