Forbes reports that when it comes to climate change, the healthcare sector occupies a unique position in our society to admit its contribution to the problem and to lead the fight.  Gary Cohen, Co-Founder and President of Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth and Jeffrey E. Thompsom, MD, chief executive officer and chairman of the boards of Gundersen Health System discuss how healthcare is just as addicted to fossil fuels as the rest of us:

Hospitals use twice as much energy per square foot as our schools and offices, partly because of the intensity of their business, partly because of lack of focus to be less wasteful. Health care is a major polluter. Given that health care is underpinned by an ethical imperative to ‘First, Do No Harm”, it has a responsibility to reduce all of its pollution and lead our society toward renewable energy, energy efficient products and support healthier people in healthier communities.

Healthcare represents 18% of our entire economy and is growing. If we can harness the purchasing power of this critical sector and invest in “climate positive” energy sources, we can drive our entire economy toward a more sustainable future. This low carbon development path will simultaneously reduce our rising disease burden and reduce our spiraling healthcare costs.

In the global campaign to kick our addiction to fossil fuels and toxic chemicals, the five million health care workers in America: doctors, nurses, and other health care workers need to be powerful spokespeople for policies that understand the true cost of a fossil fuel-based economy and support the transition to a renewable energy and toxic free future.

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