Telling the Story, Building the Momentum, and Mobilizing South-east Asia towards a Healthy Climate and a more Equitable Future
A climate and health communications & advocacy toolkit for Southeast Asia Advocates and Campaigners
We are living in a moment in which the twin crises of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have merged. Their convergence aggravates the destructive power of each. Their link exacerbates ecological deterioration and health issues, building on one another, becoming increasingly turbulent and damaging to the very fabric of our society. However, one must realize that unsustainable use of resources and climate change have been jeopardizing people's health long before the pandemic happened.
If we look closely at the capacity of South-east Asian countries on access to health, defense systems against climate-related disasters, and providing a safe environment for all, the region lags behind the rest of the world. This is because countries in South-east Asia are plagued by unequal socioeconomic policies that put the concentration and control of wealth and resources in the hands of a few political dynasties, their associates, and multinational corporations that are often foreign-owned. Until public health is prioritized over profit, progress in health across the region will be slow and inequitable.
This means that these environmental and health problems are putting enormous pressure on the capacity of an already weak/resource-challenged healthcare system in South-east Asia.
The prolonged Covid-19 crisis challenges the strategic flexibility of climate and health advocates given the necessity of quarantines, physical distancing, movement restrictions that result in setbacks in predominantly face-to-face activities such as network meetings, advocacy plannings, and policy lobbying.
The reality of the situation and social implications brought by the pandemic response of governments are mostly the focus of news stories, media interviews, social media posts, and Covid-related conversations at home or online. Nonetheless, our current state of affairs also offers a crucial health opportunity to provide evidence-based connections between the coronavirus and the climate crisis; to educate the public on how climate change impacts their health; and to mobilize the healthcare sector towards transformative solutions.
Health is a human right. For that reason, making the case for urgent action on climate change to protect the health of this generation and the next remains as urgent as ever.
As we move forward to take on bigger challenges for our health and the planet’s, let us speak up to uphold health for all. Let us speak up for those sectors and communities affected by climate inaction, let us speak up to protect the future of this generation and the next.
Class Photo taken during the October 27, 2021 virtual Toolkit Launch
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