Greening the Health System



Green Healthcare News

November 2019
Limiting climate change is about protecting human health
Read about how health professionals can make a critical difference by reframing and responding to climate change as the health emergency it is.

More than 11,000 scientists from around the world declare a ‘climate emergency’
Study outlines six major steps that ‘must’ be taken to address the situation.

Some Communities are Being Harmed First and Worst
Flash floods have troubled Kentucky for decades. Now, extreme rainstorms are worsening with climate change.

October 2019
Hospitals race to save patients — and the planet
Read this great summary of how hospitals around the country are championing green labs, waste reduction, energy efficiency, and chilling-up ULT freezers.

UC investments are going fossil free
UC’s $13.4 billion endowment went “fossil free” at the end of September

The University of California declares a climate emergency
UC President Janet Napolitano and all 10 UC chancellors have signed a climate emergency declaration letter that recognizes “the need for a drastic societal shift to combat the growing threat of climate change.”

September 2019
Can Medical Care Exist Without Plastic?
From blue wrap to IV bags, hospitals are awash with single-use plastics. Read about how sterile, reusable options are being explored.

How Extreme Heat from Climate Change Impacts Pregnant Women
New study identifies effects of prenatal exposures to extreme temperatures on the health of the mothers themselves

September 2019
Hospital uses “forest-like” design to help lower blood pressure
More than 700 native species of fragrant plants and trees were integrated into the design of this hospital in Singapore, creating a more peaceful and biodiverse environment.

Campuses Commit to Cool Food Pledge
How will the Cool Food Pledge help campuses cut greenhouse gas emissions through better catering choices? Campuses that sign on, including UCSF Health, commit to a greener menu.

UN Sustainable Development Goals are Good for Business
Sustainability initiatives that benefit humanity and the planet can also bring significant positives for business, including lowering costs, connecting with customers’ values, and attracting top talent.

Health, equity and politics in the Amazon
Deforestation in the Amazon has increased by 278% since 2018. What can we do to help?

Tree Planting Program for Hospitals
Studies show that patients who have a view of trees spend fewer days in the hospital than patients who don’t. Learn more about how the Arbor Day Foundation is partnering with healthcare to plant trees in hospitals.

August 2019

Recycling lab gloves via RightCycle program

Can laboratory gloves be recycled? The answer is yes. Learn how leading nonprofit WHOI has partnered with RightCycle to recycle old gloves into new consumer goods.

Troubled Waters in Newark: a Public Health Crisis
Lead exposure can result in growth development issues, neurological damage - even fatalities. Despite years of concern, residents of this New Jersey city still face lead contamination in their water supply and inadequate response from both city government and the EPA.

Plant-based business
Is the future of food plant-based? With the dwindling of dairy sales and the success of companies like Beyond Meat, new Bay Area startups are using plants to create exciting new alternatives.

Chronic Kidney Disease and Climate Change

Extreme heat has been linked to an epidemic of chronic kidney disease among agricultural workers. It is now the second leading cause of death in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Air Pollution Linked to Increased Cardiovascular and Respiratory Death

A new study conducted with data from 652 cities worldwide show that increases of PM10 and PM2.5 are associated with increased daily mortality.

When the Patient is the Planet
History has shown physicians mobilizing to advocate for threats against health, including nuclear war. With the multitude of threats posed by climate change, physicians can play a role in advocating for major social and economic change.

Using electricity at different times of day could save us billions of dollars

“Load flexibility” could shave 15 percent off our peak electricity needs by 2030.

Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Solve our Waste Problems
Out of the estimated 8.3 billion tons of plastic waste ever produced, a study estimates only 9% has been recycled.

January 2019

Doctors called to action in climate change efforts
Wildfire deaths. Smoky air. Floods. Droughts. Read about what medical professionals can do to limit the heavy greenhouse gas contributions coming from the healthcare industry.

Strategies for sustainable surgical units
A majority of waste coming from medical practices comes from operating and delivery rooms. See what forward thinking facilities are doing to cut down on environmental and fiscal costs.


News from 2018

68 of the greenest hospitals in America 2018
UCSF Medical Center and Benioff Children’s Hospital recognized among greenest hospitals for renewable energy generation and sustainable food procurement. See what other hospitals are doing to encourage sustainability!

Baby Steps Toward Big Goals: Dr. Gandhi’s Leadership in the OR
Dr. Seema Gandhi, assistant clinical professor of anesthesiology, is helping to lead environmental stewardship in the perioperative environment at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center.

A Greener Bill of Health: UCSF’s Dr. Seema Gandhi Tackles Sleeper Pollutants in the Operating Room
The U.S. health-care sector contributes nearly 10% of the country’s carbon footprint.Hospital operating rooms are home to more obscure greenhouse gases: inhaled anesthetics used to sedate patients for surgery and other medical procedures.

How the Health Care Industry is Addressing the Fast-growing Medical Waste Problem
About 85 percent of hospital waste is noninfectious, according to the World Health Organization, and a bulk of that is recyclable, yet most of these materials are either landfilled or burned.

How Drugged-up Shellfish Help Scientists Understand Human Pollution
Every Advil you pop or antidepressant you swallow is processed in your body and excreted, often as chemical byproducts that can still affect other organisms.In their quest to understand the effects of drugs on marine life, however, scientists have found an involuntary ally: shellfish.

How Blockchain Can Reduce Waste for Pharmaceutical Companies
The revolutionary technology that is changing the way we use money through Bitcoin can also help pharmacies reduce waste. Blockchain technology takes something that is typically centralized and operates it on a peer to peer network.

Just What the Doctor Ordered: Kaiser Powers Forward with Renewable Microgrids
You could say Kaiser Permanente has a healthy interest in solar power. The Oakland, California-based not-for-profit health care organization hosts panels on close to 50 sites.

News from 2017

Why California’s climate change fight is also about public health
In addition to mitigating extreme weather impacts, environmental policy experts say the state’s aggressive global warming program will also help solve a longstanding public health problem

US air pollution still kills thousands every year, study concludes
Air pollution is still killing thousands in the U.S. every year, even at the levels allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a recent study.

Big Pharma’s Pollution Is Creating Deadly Superbugs, While The World Looks The Other Way
A major study published today in the prestigious scientific journal Infection found “excessively high” levels of antibiotic and antifungal drug residue in water sources in and around a major drug production hub in the Indian city of Hyderabad.

Practice Greenhealth’s Sustainability Benchmark Report Shows Strong Progress in Environmental Performance Among Nation’s Leading Hospitals
On January 4th, Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading nonprofit membership and networking organization for sustainable health care, released its eighth annual Sustainability Benchmark Report.

Greenhealth Cost of Ownership Calculator
Practice Greenhealth and our partners have developed the the Greenhealth Cost of Ownership (GCO) Calculator that brings the hidden costs of various medical devices to the surface.