In this episode of the #CodaEarth podcast, host Laura Raiti speaks to Brett Montgomery, a Perth-based GP & senior lecturer at the University of Western Australia. As someone who is passionate about the climate emergency and the role each of us play in reducing the carbon footprint of healthcare, Brett is also the lead author of our Coda action plan to reduce usage of metered dose inhalers (pMDIs).
To kick off the podcast, Brett touches upon the fact that while much of society sees climate change as a political or environmental issue more commonly associated with polar bears and icebergs melting, he believes it’s important that we begin to see it as a huge public health issue to cultivate real change. Brett believes that by reframing it as an issue that has real and serious health consequences, it will ensure people who aren’t currently concerned by its effect are motivated to act when it comes to both climate change and their own health.
Brett then goes on to discuss in further detail his particular point of focus, which is the overuse of inhalers in healthcare. They discuss that while inhalers may appear to be a minor contribution to our impact as a whole when compared to the likes of aeroplanes and cars, in actual fact they have a disproportionate effect on health system’s carbon footprint.
In fact, the healthcare system in Australia contributes about 7% of our entire national footprint – so not an insignificant number - and within the 7% about a quarter is down to prescriptions, of which, a fair chunk can be attributed to these inhalers.
Laura and Brett then go on to talk about ways in which the Coda community can get involved, and Brett highlights that it’s important that everyone is more mindful about prescribing inhalers and that they employ critical thinking when it comes to ensuring that an inhaler is the right choice for both the patient and the environment.
They explore alternatives such as dry mist or powder inhalers, and consider a study that shows that between a third and a half of people who are prescribed these inhalers struggle to find evidence of the diagnoses.
Finally, they look at what the future could look like for Australia, should we work towards a collective movement against climate change, and discuss leading countries such as the UK and Sweden, both of whom are working towards eradicating overall health emissions.
To close, Brett shares his key piece of advice for those wanting to make change: the best climate action is what you’re good at, what you enjoy and what the world needs.
Join Coda Earth now to safely reduce pMDI usage in your own practice.