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One Health, One Planet: why sustainability is a necessity

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Abstract

: what is needed right now and how to change minds? This non-hysterical look at the big picture provides information regarding the crisis we are facing, and details the leadership skills for you to personally take it forward into practice and your lives to feel like you’re making a difference. The time is past where we can all sit back hoping against hope that someone else will lead us out of this situation. There are things that every individual can do, but more power to effect change comes with better strategy – this lecture focuses on the practical delivery of change into existing structures.

: Medical journal The Lancet has called climate change “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century”, but also the greatest public health opportunity. The veterinary sector has a moral obligation to mitigate against and adapt to the triple threats of global heating, resource scarcity and biodiversity loss. The transformative change required for this endeavour has been forced by the global pandemic; the question is how we choose to emerge from one crisis, in order to deal with the next? Small animal veterinary practice has a unique set of environmental impacts, not least the greenhouse gas effects caused by release of volatile anaesthetic agents, but also single use plastic consumption, hazardous waste production, and resource use. Some opportunities are clear; others present a wicked problem with interdependent impacts, inadvertent consequences of changes, and embedded behaviours all contributing to the tangled puzzle. We will need to show the best of what we can do; work collaboratively, think laterally, dissect the detail whilst seeing the bigger picture, and showing leadership in the workplace and in our communities. This lecture will highlight the excellent environmental sustainability work that is underway in the small animal sector, and the opportunities for growth and participation.

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