Climate change is undoubtedly one of the greatest public health threats of our time. Therefore, doctors play an important role as climate advocates. The science is clear: carbon dioxide emissions must be significantly reduced. Air travel accounts for a significant proportion of carbon dioxide emissions. Thus, choosing not to fly is one of the most effective ways for a person to reduce their impact on the climate.

According to the World Medical Association (WMA), all national medical societies and associations should act as role models and reduce their emissions [1]. Despite this, the Swedish Medical Association (SLF) continues to offer holiday accommodations for its members in places like Gran Canaria and Marbella on the Spanish coast.

Environmentalists submitted a motion to the SLF Council in 2021 regarding the association’s recreational facilities, asking that these properties be in places you can access without flying. The request was denied with the answer that it was possible to access the Federation-owned properties without choosing the flight. But what percentage of your visitors actually do?

We want the medical association to follow through on the WMA’s call, among other things, by encouraging its members to travel more climate-friendly. In the first place, holiday homes and holiday apartments should only be offered in locations easily accessible by train or bus; Alternatively, the SLF could offer a discounted fare to those who choose to reach their destinations without flying.

Advertising of holiday homes in Marbella and Gran Canaria in newspapers and social media indicates that the SLF does not prioritize its climate policy but encourages environmentally harmful behaviours, which is unfortunate because it goes against what we doctors stand for: protecting people’s health.

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By recognizing the severity of the climate crisis and seeking to influence the social base regarding, among other things, air travel, our chance of success in implementing the necessary climate transition increases.

Read the response:
Response: The climate is one of the most important issues