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Global Initiatives

Climate change is the greatest global health threat facing the world in the 21st century, but it is also the greatest opportunity. Gain a deeper understanding of the impact of hospitals and providers on climate change, as well as ideas on how eye care systems around the world can proactively reduce carbon emissions.

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How Global Climate Initiatives Benefit the Health Sector

There are significant co-benefits to the health sector in integrating climate and environmental strategies, starting with better public health through a reduction in environmental pollution. Within our healthcare system we also benefit from increased productivity, improved quality of services, and reduced costs. Find concrete examples below of successful reduction of medical waste and sustainability in ophthalmology throughout the world.


Why Health Care Needs Sustainable Waste Stream Management

This issue describes the moral and ethical obligation of healthcare professionals with respect to the "four prima facie moral principles" - justice, beneficence, non-maleficence, and autonomy. Clinicians can "do no harm" by minimizing toxic byproducts and waste generated from medical care, "do good" by being environmentally responsible and engage in policy change, and "provide equal treatment" by advancing the voices of developing countries that bear the consequences of disproportionate burden of medical waste.

View at AMA's Journal of Ethics


A Model for Low-Carbon Eye Care in the Race to Zero

Healthcare is a significant contributor to climate change. Rengaraj Venkatesh, MD, talks about Aravind Eye Care System's low-carbon model in India: alternate energy sources, transport, infrastructure, equipment maintenance, and more.

Carbon Footprint of Cataract Surgery: India and UK

Aravind Eye Care System in India has created an effective and efficient model for cataract surgery, which reuses nearly all of its surgical materials rather than relying on single-use disposables. Previous studies show that their surgical outcomes are better than the UK's, on a variety of metrics.

Impact of Digital Technology & Equipment Maintenance

How can digital technologies reduce the carbon footprint of the healthcare industry? The answer is much further-reaching than simply electronic medical records: from managing chronic disease to reducing patient travel to streamlining the supply chain for glasses.


Design Principles for Green Hospitals

Architect Israel Gnararaj presents ideas for delivering "care that also takes care of the environment" through green hospitals. Constructing hospitals requires significant resources and energy consumption, so a conscious approachfrom construction through the building's life cyclecan have a major impact on the environment.


Alternative Energy Sources for Healthcare

Aditi Modi, global project manager from SELCO Foundation, discusses how healthcare providers can look to alternative clean energy to be more environmentally friendly.


Leveraging Institutional Procurement for Mitigating Climate Change

Sanjay Kumar of Indian Railways explains how focusing on procurement and supply chain can be an effective intervention for mitigating climate change in healthcare delivery.

Next Steps and Commitments to Environmental Impact

Dr. Cassandra Thiel addresses the question: "how will you change the environmental footprint of your medical practice?" She also highlights several networks for medical professionals to collaborate on sustainable solutions.


How ophthalmologists can decarbonize eye care - A Review of Existing Sustainability Strategies and Steps Ophthalmologists Can Take

Understanding approaches to sustainability in cataract surgery and their risks and benefits. The authors conducted a literature review to identify the benefits and risks of sustainability interventions. These were organized into a decision tree for use by individual surgeons. Identified sustainability interventions fall into the domains of advocacy and education, pharmaceuticals, process, and supplies and waste.