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Death in the climate crisis era

Health professionals discuss how the climate crisis, the pandemic, and the way we die now are linked and innovative ways for how we can best respond.

The climate and ecological crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the way we die now are all linked by our delusion that we are masters of nature not part of nature. The pandemic arose either because humans and wild animals have been brought too close by humans destroying the environments of animals or because humans have been manipulating viruses in laboratories. The climate crisis has been caused by us being far too slow to recognise and respond to the damage we have caused to the environment by producing large amounts of greenhouse gases. If the health care system were a country it would be the fifth-largest producer of greenhouse gases, and much of the cost and carbon consumption comes from excessive treatment at the end of life, which increases not decreases suffering. We need to find a better relationship with nature, the environment, and death, and we will describe how.

This discussion will comprise presentations from each of the speakers followed by a Q&A session which will be chaired by Dr Richard Smith:

  • How are the climate crisis, the pandemic, and the way we die linked? Professor Seamus O’Mahony, physician and author;
  • Death during the pandemic and how we might do better next time, Professor Scott Murray MBE FRSE;
  • A better relationship with death, Dr Libby Sallnow;
  • The pursuit of immortality and countering the climate crisis, Dr Richard Smith.