Borders doctors back COP26 climate campaign

Two doctors from the Borders were among 400 colleagues to demand urgent climate action during COP26.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 11:36 am

Doctors Racel Hardie from Greenlaw and Shelagh King from Galashiels cycled up to Edinburgh via Stow, Herriot and Dalkeith in support of calls from doctors in Scotland for a global Green New Deal.

Dr King then continued the journey to Glasgow by bicycle the following day.

She said: “The beautiful weather made even the steep hills a pleasure to cycle.

"We stopped at the Cloud Cafe in Stow for coffee and scones and discussed the climate problems with some of the locals.

“After a night in Edinburgh I continued my journey to Glasgow alone, along the Union Canal and the Forth and Clyde canal. The weather was almost as good, but no hills.

"I proved to myself I could go to Glasgow without a car, but I must admit, public transport is a good alternative when time is limited.”

Dr Hardie and Dr King were among 400-plus doctors in Scotland demanding that world leaders take urgent action on climate change in a letter delivered to the leaders of the seven richest nations taking part in the talks in Glasgow earlier this month.

The doctors’ letter said the climate crisis was “the greatest public health threat of the 21st century”.

Its demands included a global Green New Deal and immediate, equitable action to keep rising temperatures below 1.5°C. It warned that allowing warming to rise above 2°C would sentence millions to death.

The doctors also insisted that the adaptations required to mitigate climate change – such as better home insulation to address fuel poverty, investment in green public transport to slash air pollution, and restoration of green spaces which would improve physical and mental health – would lead to health improvements and lessen health inequalities, both domestically and globally.

GP Dr Alice Scriven said: “As a GP I see how inequalities affect people and their health on a daily basis. I know that climate change will have the greatest impact on the health of the world’s population, and in the most unequal of ways.

"World leaders must act urgently to reduce the impacts of global warming on it’s most vulnerable populations. There is no time to lose.”