Anthropogenic climate change jeopardises medical progress made in recent decades and may lead to a rise in malnutrition, threaten mental health, increase the incidence of cardiovascular, pulmonary and infectious diseases, and cause premature deaths. Following the publication in 2019 of its position paper on sustainable development of the health system, the SAMS is seeking to raise awareness of the relationship between health and the environment.
With regard to health promotion, it is sometimes possible to «kill two birds with one stone» – that is, to help protect the environment while also improving health – for example, by cycling rather than using a car. In the literature, these are known as «co-benefits». Professor Nicolas Senn (Unisanté, Lausanne) discusses this topic in the SAMS Bulletin focusing on the close links between health and the environment.
In 2020, the Biodiversity Forum of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) published a factsheet that explains how biodiversity contributes to a healthy life and shows that its preventive and therapeutic potential is still largely untapped.
Since 2016, the Lancet has published annual reports that track progress on health and climate change. This «Lancet Countdown» monitors compliance with the commitments of national governments under the Paris Agreement. It includes a series of indicators, providing statistical information on relevant developments worldwide over the past year.
In 2021, the SAMS endorsed the publication of an international commentary, emphasizing the responsibility of the health sector to reduce its own GHG emissions.