From flooding in South Sudan and Pakistan to historic droughts in Somalia and Burkina Faso, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are witnessing the consequences of climate change and extreme weather on the health of our patients, staff, and their communities. That’s one reason why MSF has committed to cutting our global carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
At MSF-USA, this effort is guided by the work of Urooj Amjad, who manages our new carbon footprint reduction project. Amjad helps advise MSF-USA on ways to make our humanitarian work and support services more sustainable, while also identifying best practices from across the MSF movement and the humanitarian sector at large. After extensive research and planning, she has drafted a road map for MSF-USA to reach our carbon reduction goals.
“Carbon reduction is a part of a bigger puzzle which we in MSF are conceptualizing as ‘planetary health,’”she explained. Planetary health focuses on the connection between environment and health. Although the vast majority of excess carbon emissions are produced in the United States and Europe, people living in countries that produce far less—including many of our patients and staff —often bear the brunt of the consequences. In the contexts where we provide aid, we see how warming temperatures, heavy rains, droughts, and other climate-related disasters lead to increased rates of food insecurity and malnutrition, as well as diseases like cholera, malaria, and dengue.