Name of the activity: AMSA Sustainable Events Guide

Country/NMO: Australia (AMSA)

Program: Environment & Health

Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Education. Education on health issues for specific societal groups, either in the form of projects (set of tasks for a certain group over a fixed period of time), events (something notable that happens) or conferences (form meeting about ideas related to a particular topic, usually over several days).

General description:

This Activity (AMSA Sustainable Events Guide) is a national resource produced by AMSA Code Green to assist medical societies, global health groups and the Australian Medical Students Association (AMSA) to recognise the environmental impact of events such as speaker nights, conferences or meetings.

The guide educates readers on the importance of environmentally sustainable event planning and empowers them with clear strategies to ensure the “green” changes are actionable. The guide also makes event environmental sustainability measurable by providing a checklist to quantify the success of events.

Our 2019 plan is to introduce a sustainability certification scheme in which events that use the guide to run greener events are recognised for their effort. Our vision is to use this certification at a local, regional and national level.

Focus area:

Climate Change

Problem statement:

This Activity addresses the lack of environmental sustainability in events run at local, regional and national levels. Events (such as speaker nights, meetings or conferences) occur all throughout the medical profession and they consume vast amounts of energy and produce significant waste. Traditionally, the impact of such events on the environment has not been considered and thus, there is a great need to prioritise environmental sustainability when organising such events.

Target groups:

Medical students, Healthcare Students, Doctors, Other health professionals

Beneficiaries:

General population, Medical students, Healthcare Students, Other Students, Other health professionals, Children, Youth, Migrants, Refugees, Homeless people

Objectives and indicators of success:

The Earth’s average temperature is 0.9 degC higher since the late 19th century and is mostly by human-made emissions into the atmosphere. This warms oceans, increases extreme weather events and affects the well-being of all species. Increasing temperatures and depleting natural resources spread infectious diseases, increase the number of climate refugees and increase the likelihood of conflict. All effects of climate change impact our health.

There is an urgent need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to prevent global warming. Further, waste reduction is necessary to avoid rapidly depleting natural resources and to avoid contaminating land and waterways to ensure ecological health is preserved.

This Activity addresses the lack of environmental sustainability in events run at local, regional and international levels. Events (such as speaker nights, meetings or conferences) occur all throughout the medical profession and they consume vast amounts of energy and produce significant waste. Traditionally, the impact of such events on the environment has not been considered and thus, there is a great need to prioritise environmental sustainability when organising such events.

Methodology:

Our 2019 plan is to introduce a sustainability certification scheme in which events that use the guide to run greener events are recognised for their efforts. The certification may be used for advertising and environmental advocacy purposes by event organisers. It is expected that event organisers will submit a proposed sustainability plan for their event and in return, they receive a standardised “green” event certification.

We aim to have all major AMSA and AMSA Global Health events and that at least one event run by each global health group (of every medical university) across Australia to be sustainability-certified. We will liaise with all major event organisers in AMSA and AMSA Global Health via email to promote this scheme. By using the Code Green Network (a network of environmental officers at each university, with whom meetings are conducted), we hope to push “green” events by mentoring every officer to plan and run at least one sustainability-certified event.

Plans for evaluation:

Over the next year (2019), AMSA Code Green (the environmental health project stream) aims put the guide into action; we plan to provide a standard certification for any “green” event that, by the Sustainability Checklist provided at the end of the guide, is deemed environmentally sustainable.

Under this certification scheme, we aim to have all major AMSA and AMSA Global Health events and that at least one event run by each global health group (of every medical university) across Australia to be sustainability-certified by December 2019.

To achieve such aims, we will be liaising with all major event organisers in AMSA and AMSA Global Health via email to promote this scheme. By using the Code Green Network (a network of environmental officers at each university, with whom meetings are conducted), we hope to push “green” events by mentoring every officer to plan and run at least one sustainability-certified event.