Eco Comment – World Health Day

05 April 2024

This weekend sees another ‘special’ day. At first glance you might be wondering what health has to do with either eco or environmental matters, but since its inception at the first health assembly in 1948, the celebration has aimed to create awareness of a specific health theme in order to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organisation. This year’s slogan is ‘My Health, My Right’. This message underpins the fact that at least 4.5 billion people – more than half of the world’s population – were not covered by essential health services in 2021.

The World Health Authority states: ‘Around the world, the right to health of millions is increasingly coming under threat. Diseases and disasters loom large as causes of death and disability. Conflicts are devastating lives, causing death, pain, hunger and psychological distress. The burning of fossil fuels is simultaneously driving the climate crisis and taking away our right to breathe clean air, with indoor and outdoor pollution claiming a life every 5 seconds’ (

‘The WHO Council on the Economics of Health for All has found that at least 140 countries recognise health as a human right in their constitution. Yet countries are not passing and putting into practice laws to ensure their populations are entitled to access health services. This year’s theme was chosen to champion the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working and environmental conditions and freedom from discrimination.’

A big ask!

If we consider some of the issues that we contend with in our own country, they pale into insignificance when compared with those countries who are fighting extreme temperatures due to global warming and other climatic conditions such as draught. We read of people all over the world in dire straits due to either flood or famine, war and political unrest or dirt and disease. Clean water, clean air and health seem to be in short supply when so many other factors combine to make general standards of living so precarious.

Many charitable institutions attempt to give aid and succeed in alleviating suffering for many, but surely it would be better to remedy the causes of the problems. As ever, we in our small way must show that we care, that we would like to remedy some of the inequalities of life that beset so many people on this earth. In 2021, the year that the statistics showed the true picture of inequality around the world, the theme for World Health Day was ‘Building a fairer, healthier world’. Maybe it’s time that governments put measures in place to create this by making a more equitable and just society.

We all hope and pray that this happens, but maybe we have to try nudging them a bit towards it if we’re able.

Susan Morgan
Eco Group

Want to know more about the Eco Group?

Wakefield Cathedral’s Eco Group brings together members of the congregation, volunteers and staff to work towards making the cathedral a greener place to work and worship.

The Eco Group achieves its goals through a variety of activities, including partnerships with local community groups.

We invite anyone and everyone to reach out if they are interested in joining the eco group, or simply finding out more about what we do.

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