Hospital staff take on epic cycle challenge ahead of climate change summit
Staff from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) are taking part in an epic 750km cycle ride from London to Glasgow in a bid to raise awareness of climate change ahead of this year’s COP26 summit.
Jason Light, head of sustainability and energy at UHS, and Paul Chamberlain, associate director of estates facilities and capital development clinical services at UHS, will set off on Sunday, 24 October.
The ride is expected to take seven days to complete, and the duo will join other riders from across the south and nationwide who are taking part in the Ride the Change campaign with the mission to collect more than 5,000 climate pledges from the public.
The aim is to arrive in Glasgow ahead of the summit – which kicks off on Monday, 1 November – to deliver a strong message to world leaders to show that people are ready for action and want more than “just words”.
COP26 is the United Nations’ (UN) climate change conference and sees global leaders come together to reach important agreements on how to tackle climate change and help shape the future of the planet.
“This is more than just a cycle challenge for us, we’re taking part because it is clear that the world needs action not words if we are ever going to make a real change,” explained Mr Light.
“For this we are calling on the public not for donations but instead to make pledges on simple actions in their every day lives that will help make a difference to the very real issue of climate change.
“This can be anything from cycling, walking or running to travel, switching lights off and changing to LED bulbs, layering up to keep warm instead of raising the thermostat, switching off rather than leaving things on standby – the list goes on.”
He added: “As a Trust we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and are already making good ground with our pledge to reduce our carbon footprint by 80% by 2032.
“We have introduced a green wall at the hospital which can encourage ecosystems to flourish in built up areas, we generate renewable energy on site, such as the installation of solar panels, and bat boxes are now fitted to parts of the building to help protect endangered species – but we are all in a position to do something small that will make a huge impact.”
As a Trust we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and are already making good ground with our pledge to reduce our carbon footprint by 80% by 2032.
The Trust is developing its Green Plan with a commitment to being Net Zero by 2040, in line with NHS England targets, and has many more initiatives in place to help achieve this.
These include fitting high-tech boilers which use waste heat to generate energy on site and helping to reduce waste in landfill with nearly all materials either recycled or processed to generate electricity.
Mr Chamberlain, who is also a registered nurse, said: “While we are using the ride as the launchpad for people across the Trust to buy into our UHS sustainability programme – both at work and at home – we also want to also extend this further to all members of the public as everyone can make a difference.
“Alongside Jason and some other great people from the Solent and beyond, I will be embarking on this cycle to hopefully help inspire others and some of the attendees – maybe even the world leaders!
“It will help us through seven tough days riding if people could take a couple of moments to make some pledges on our pages at https://www.wearedonation.com/.../jason-light-ride-the.../ and https://www.wearedonation.com/.../paul-chamberlain-ride.../.”