Health and Climate – Richard Horton, The Lancet


My name is Richard Horton and I’m editor of The Lancet. The climate emergency that we’re facing today, is the most important existential crisis facing the human species and since medicine is all about protecting and strengthening the human species it should be absolutely foundational to the practice of what we do every single day. The GMC (General Medical Council) publishes an extremely important document which guides all health professionals duties of a doctor. The duties of a doctor are first and foremost to an individual patient or the public that they serve. The climate crisis is one of the most, I would say the most existential crisis facing our communities in the world today doctors and all health professionals have a responsibility and obligation to engage in all kinds of non-violent social protest to address the climate emergency. That is the duty of a doctor. The GMC based on its own documentation should be fully supportive of all health professionals who engage in that kind of non-violent social protest. My thoughts about the doctors who’ve been arrested during the Extinction Rebellion protests are thoughts of extreme humility. I hope that those who work in the medical profession, not just recognize the contribution that they have made personally but make sure that they are protected from anybody who might seek to damage or harm their future careers in medicine we’re the only species that exists that’s created this incredible superstructure of a health system. Fundamentally human beings care about each other. We wouldn’t have built health systems if we didn’t care about each other we wouldn’t have nurses wouldn’t have doctors or any other health professionals we would have created clinics or hospitals unless we fundamentally loved one another. Surely there’s not only great hope but also great encouragement for health professionals and their organizations and other groups in society to work together to cooperate together to solve these problems that we face collectively. If every single person who’s a health professional just did one thing every single week, we’d be having millions of people committing themselves, acting in a way that when you multiply that up over time could be absolutely transformational for the politics of our country. That should be inspiring hope amongst all of us that we really can achieve social change and if you look at the history of social activism and the history of social change, that is what has done it the brave acts sometimes the small brave acts of a large number of people have made the difference and that’s our task our responsibility today in the 21st century.

7 Comments

  1. Thank you Richard Horton. Thank you.

  2. Utter bullshit.
    What a twat.
    Extinction Rebellion is a counter intelligence operation. It is run by government to steer idiots in to demarnding what the government and UN want

  3. Thank you Dr. Horton. Reporting for duty!

  4. THANK YOU!

  5. If you're serious about climate change and health you will also want to recommend to all doctors to start prescribing plant based diets. It's all very well marching for rebellion but we also have to take responsibility for the actions we take ourselves, as individuals and as part of the industries and organisations we are part of.

  6. Well said Richard, thank you for bravely standing up. Many health professionals are squarely behind you and willing to stand up to the existing crippling inertia that weighs us all down. Don't just do one thing a week, make it one thing a day, whether that be writing a letter; changing something in your personal or work-life; starting a positive action in your community; or protesting more actively.

  7. Thank you! <3

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