The climate crisis is intensifying, renewables are stepping up
The Lancet's assertion that 'climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century' (1) rings truer every year as heatwaves and other extreme weather events take their toll on public health. Meanwhile, renewable energy is proving itself as a cleaner, greener and healthier way to power our society.
In Australia, electricity production produces more greenhouse pollution than any other sector (3) with 86% of our electricity still coming from dirty coal, oil and gas (4). The health sector is no exception, accounting for 7% of Australia's total carbon footprint. However, wind and solar are now cheaper than new-build coal (5) and solar capacity installed this year is projected to more than double that of 2017 (6).
The health sector has a crucial role to play
With the health of our communities at risk from pollution and climate change, what could be a stronger show of support for clean renewable energy than installing solar panels on general practices and hospitals? With solar power our health services can act on climate, save on electricity bills and protect health.
Many health services are already taking action:
- Western Health just installed 300 kilowatts of solar at Sunshine Hospital
- Northeast Health Wangaratta is planning to install a new 100 kilowatt solar system this year (9)
- St Vincent's Health Australia recently invested in 2.7 megawatts of new solar capacity across sixteen health and aged care services (10)
- The Victorian Government has tracked 948 kilowatts of solar installation across Victorian public health services (11)
These health services are showing great leadership on renewable energy but they're only a fraction of all the health services in Australia and there's no easy way to see what other health services have taken action. How can we track, publicise and accelerate the uptake of solar by Australian health services?
Help us create Solar Health Services
In the second half of this year, we want to:
- create the first ever live online map of Australian health services with solar power
- build a website where health services can find information about the health, environmental and financial benefits of solar power and ways to access it
- help healthcare workers advocate for installation of solar in their workplaces
- get media attention on the growth of solar in health workplaces
We've received a small grant from the Climate Action Network Australia to help us get started, but to pull it off we need to raise another $4,000 by the end of June.