More than 1,000 doctors including 40 professors, several famous public health figures and past presidents of royal colleges are calling for a public nonviolent civil revolution in the face of the environmental crisis.
In a letter to the Guardian, the doctors state government policies are “woefully inadequate”, and call on politicians and the media to face the facts of the unfolding ecological emergency and take action.
“As caring professionals, we cannot allow current policies which push the world’s most vulnerable towards progressive environmental disaster,” they write.
“We are particularly scared by the effects of rising temperatures on health and heed predictions of societal collapse and consequent mass migration. Such collapse risks damage to physical and mental health on an unusual scale.”
The doctors back the school strike movement, which was started by the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg and is calling for a general climate strike in the autumn. They also back the Extinction Rebellion protests during which thousands of people blocked key sites in London for 10 days in April.
“Governments cancel their responsibility when seeking grossly failing policies that risk environmental collapse. Nonviolent direct action then becomes the reasonable choice for responsible individuals.”
The letter was organized by Bing Jones, a retired associate specialist hematologist from Sheffield, who said it had drained into a growing concern in the medical profession about the climate crisis.
“I am no expert in circulating or organizing this sort of thing but within a few weeks we had over 1,000 doctors signed up,” he stated.
“We have already lost most of our Arctic ice, most of our wild animals, and much of our productive land. Our trajectory is towards a catastrophic 3C of warming or more. To limit certain damage, we must act now.”
Several doctors who signed the letter compared the environmental crisis a sick patient.
Aarti Bansal, a GP from Sheffield, said: “The planet has a fever and not unlike us, its systems are breaking down. We have a decade to prevent this fever from getting out of control and we owe it to our children and all life to act as we do in an emergency.”
Jones stated the issue was like someone seeing blood when they go to the toilet but refusing to accept the doctor’s diagnosis or recommended treatment.