RCPCH members cycle London to inspire action on air pollution

Today a group of RCPCH members cycled around London as part of Ride for Their Lives (RFTL) – a global campaign aiming to protect children from air pollution and the climate crisis.

Setting off from the RCPCH building, the group successfully completed a 16-mile route which took them via five hospitals with children’s units: the Royal London Hospital, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital. 

The cycle was one in a global series of rides organised by paediatric healthcare professionals to raise awareness of the effect of air pollution and climate change on children’s health in the run-up to the UN Conference on Climate change, COP27, in November. Ride for Their Lives campaign aims to start conversations, inspire action in their institutions and put pressure on policymakers to act now to address the climate crisis, protect people’s health and phase out fossil fuel emissions.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: 

I am always grateful for an opportunity to spend some time outside with colleagues, and I’m proud to take part in the Ride for Their Lives campaign for a second year. As a Paediatrician, the effects of air pollution and climate change on children and future generations are clear and worrying. The Ride for Their Lives campaign shows the paediatric workforce's dedication to tackling climate change. This is reflected in the College’s five climate change working groups full of brilliant RCPCH members using their unique position as paediatricians to bring change and make a difference. I hope we can inspire others to join us in our mission to protect children and future generations globally against air pollution and climate change.

RCPCH members taking part in Ride for Their Lives

With 90% of the global population already living in places where air pollution exceeds WHOs guidelines, the Ride for their Lives campaign calls on health providers and organisations to sign the Healthy Climate Prescription letter which represents 46 million health workers worldwide, and calls on governments to take the steps needed to address the climate crisis and protect people’s health.

Last year, before COP26, RCPCH launched a position statement and in January 2022 launched the Tackling Climate Change Action plan which is carried out by the RCPCH climate change working groups. Led by 80 College members, the working groups meet regularly to advocate for change in the UK and internationally, advance research, support members, develop training, reduce the College’s carbon footprint, and, importantly, promote children and young people’s advocacy on the climate crisis.