Climate change - resources for child health professionals

To support our members in being more environmentally sustainable, our Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) has collated resources around climate change and health.
Last modified
28 September 2023

Disclaimer: CCWG members have identified these organisations and resources. Sharing these examples does not equate to formal RCPCH endorsement.

Sustainable quality improvement

Carbon footprinting and triple bottom line analysis - With these techniques, the Centre of Sustainable Healthcare can help your organisation to be better prepared to fulfil its goals, to become more efficient and cost effective, to show positive impact and increase its reputation. 

Improving the environmental sustainability of paediatric care - This paper discusses the principles of sustainable healthcare which may be used to help guide further efforts to reduce the environmental impact of paediatric care.

Replacing polystyrene cups with a sustainable alternative - This eco-QIP has removed all polystyrene cups from the neonatal unit at John Radcliffe Hospital, supported with the simultaneous introduction of a reusable and sustainable alternative with all proceeds benefiting a local neonatal charity.

Sustainability in Quality Improvement - SusQi offers a practical way to drive incremental change towards a more ethical and sustainable health system.

Healthcare LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) database - an up-to-date open access database of published lifecycle assessments within healthcare. The database makes it easy to search for the carbon footprints of specific procedures, services and equipment.

Why it is time for 'doughnut economics' - TED talk - Kate Raworth is an economist focused on the rewriting of economics to make it fit for addressing this century’s realities and challenges, including climate change:

Education and training

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare - This organisation offers strategic input and consultancy on sustainable healthcare research and practice to national and local programmes, and provides lots of useful information, advice, resources and courses.

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare ‘SusQI’ Workshops - Introducing 'Teaching Sustainable Quality Improvement' - the new Centre for Sustainable Healthcare course starting July 2021.

Climate change is affecting our health. Is there a cure? - TED talk - Public health is being impacted by climate change via many pathways - from alterations in infectious disease transmission to water-source compromise, malnutrition, air pollution, and other factors. This talk includes recent analyses that show how mitigating global warming provides extensive health opportunities, as well as major savings in healthcare costs:

Clean air hub - Brought to you by Global Action Plan, Clean air hub highlights the causes and affects of air pollution and makes it clear and easy to understand information about air pollution.

Environmentally Sustainable Healthcare e-learning programme - Health Education England e-learning for healthcare (HEE elfh) partnered with the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare to develop e-learning resources designed to support the healthcare workforce with knowledge and skills in delivering healthcare for financial, social and environmental sustainability.

Royal Society of Medicine Climate Change Series - The Royal Society of Medicine launched a new 10-part series focusing on climate change. Each episode positions health and well-being at the centre of the climate change debate. The series considers the wide-ranging effects on health and wellbeing, with episodes focusing on the heart, the skin, the lungs, the digestive system and much more.

The Lancet Countdown - The Lancet Countdown works to ensure that health is at the centre of how governments understand and respond to climate change. Our work ranges from ensuring policymakers have access to high-quality evidence-based guidance, through to providing the health profession with the tools they need to improve public health.

The Health Effects of Climate Change - An EdX course on how global warming impacts human health, and the ways we can diminish those impacts.

The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it - TED talk - How do you talk to someone who doesn't believe in climate change? Not by rehashing the same data and facts we've been discussing for years, says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. Hayhoe shows how the key to having a real discussion is to connect over shared values like family, community and religion - and to prompt people to realise that they already care about a changing climate.


Air pollution toolkit - Download our toolkit to support paediatricians with approaching their local councils about air pollution. This is designed to be used around local elections, or at any time when engaging with council members or local MPs on this important topic.  

Friends of the Earth - UK's largest grassroots environmental campaigning organisation

Fossil Fuel Treaty - A global initiative to phase out fossil fuels and support a just transition

Greenpeace - A movement of people who are passionate about defending the natural world from destruction. Our vision is a greener, healthier and more peaceful planet, one that can sustain life for generations to come. 

Health Declares - This is a group of health professionals from across the UK. We recognise that the climate and ecological crises are health emergencies requiring urgent action, and we are committed to acting and advocating to protect planetary and human health.

Health for a Green New Deal - Support MedAct in building a grassroots-powered health movement for a just and green society, one that prioritises the health of people and planet over profit.

ISSOP Declaration on Climate Change - International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health, ISSOP, are a group of health professionals interested in sharing our experiences and knowledge in the field of social paediatrics and child health

Sea Shephard UK - A registered marine conservation charity whose primary mission is to end the destruction of habitats and illegal killing of wildlife around the UK's coastline and across the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect marine ecosystems and species.

Sustainable Paediatrics Network - An online community of healthcare professionals who are passionate about reducing the environmental impact of paediatric care. This group is working in collaboration with the Climate Change Working Group of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The tragedy of air pollution - and an urgent demand for clean air - This Ted Talk by Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah is just eight minutes long. In it, she speaks openly and honestly about the tragedy of air pollution that she experienced first-hand when she lost her young daughter. 

UK Health Alliance on Climate Change - The UKHACC brings together doctors, nurses and other health professionals to advocate for responses to climate change that protect and promote public health.

Organisational change

A new era of climate action calls for climate doctors - This article from Think Global Health outlines the importance of educating health professionals in climate resilience.

Global Green and Healthy Hospitals - This brings together hospitals, health systems, and health organizations from around the world under the shared goal of reducing the environmental footprint of the health sector and contributing to improved public and environmental health.

Green Health Wales - A network for sustainable health care in Wales

Green Ward Competition - This is an award-winning, tried & tested leadership and engagement programme to transform healthcare by cutting carbon, improving patient care & staff experience and saving money. 

Health Care Without Harm - A non-profit network of health care providers (including doctors, nursing staff)  who's mission is to transform the European healthcare sector so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability, and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.

Influencing local health organisations - Health Declares offers a guide to declaring a climate emergency in the health sector

UKHACC Carbon Literacy Guide - To become ‘Carbon Literate’ you need an awareness of how everyday activities have costs and impacts in terms of the carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) emitted, and you need the knowledge to reduce these emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis.

Global resources for adapting healthcare systems

WHO global strategy on health, environment and climate change: the transformation needed to improve lives and wellbeing sustainably through healthy environments - Read this strategy on health environment and climate change developed by the WHO to respond to the growing burden of diseases due to the climate crisis. 

WHO review of Health in National Adaptation Plans (NAP) - NAPs were developed to build resilience to climate change over the medium to longer term. This review analyses the extent to which health was considered in adaptation planning processes.    

WHO guidance for climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable healthcare facilities - Guidance from the WHO aims to enhance the capacity of healthcare facilities to protect and improve the health of their target communities in unstable and changing climates. 

Operational framework for building climate resilient health systems - The framework addresses how to systematically and effectively address the challenges in health systems presented by climate change.  

Climate Change and Children’s Health — A Call for Research on What Works to Protect Children - This key literature review looks at research into the relationship between climate change on child health. We would recommend reading this review to grasp an understanding of what is known about the impact of climate change on child health and what would be valuable to understand to develop effective adaptation strategies to improve child health.

Resources for children and young people

Stand for Nature Wales - The six Wildlife Trusts in Wales have come together to tackle climate change with the help of the young people of Wales. For the next three years, they will work to empower and inspire young people to take action for nature and wildlife in their local area in a bid to tackle climate change.

UK Youth Climate Coalition - UKYCC's mission is to mobilise and empower young people to take positive action for global climate justice. 

WWF Footprint Calculator  - For everyone and anyone to use to calculate their carbon footprint at home.

Resources for families

A Life on Planet Earth  - In this documentary on Netflix, Sir David Attenborough explains how you can play an important role in building a better future.

Eco Distress: for parents and carers - This Royal College of Psychiatrists webpage can help parents and carers understand what eco distress is, how to recognise if your child is experiencing eco distress, and provide some suggestions to help them cope with their feelings.

Make a declaration - Complete an individual declaration at Health Declares