World Health Day is a global, annual initiative which is spearheaded by the World Health Organisation. This year’s event occured on Thursday, 7 April 2022 and its theme was ‘Our Planet, Our Health’. 

With the multiple impacts of a global pandemic and recent natural disasters such as the floods in NSW affecting all of us, this year’s theme emphasised how much the health of the planet and the health of individuals are intrinsically linked. 

To help support and celebrate World Health Day, Council’s #AYearInADay campaign aimed to inspire 365 people – including Council employees and community members – to take one positive, action that’s new for them, on 7 April 2022. That meant that together, if achieved, the Blue Mountains community would respond to the urgency of our global health crisis by creating the action of a WHOLE year in ONE day.

UPDATE 8, April 2022

WE DID IT! On #WorldHealthDay2022 we reached, and exceeded, our target of 365 new actions to restore planetary health in a day – thanks to the extraordinary efforts of all the dedicated people who made such an effort to be part of this community groundswell demanding urgent action – action at the rate of a whole year in one day!

Council and community contributed to exploring and sharing a wide range of actions. These will now provide inspiration to many, and this uplifting effort demonstrated what we, as a community, are capable of if we set our mind to it.

The day ended with Blue Mountains City Council’s Mayor, some of the Councillors, the CEO, Blue Mountains Planetary Health Advisory Committee members, as well as academics and researchers coming together for a World Health Day event held at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.  

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Image: Guests attending the World Health Day event at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre hold up Climate Action Now signs holding up Climate Action Now signs, which they then took home to display.

Background to the event 

From 1 January this year, Council’s Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative launched the #AYearInADay campaign to help grow local action for planetary health. With the mantra of ‘think global and act local’ the campaign has to date, seen 72 community members take 456 new actions to support planetary health.

This year's World Health Day theme emphasises the role that individuals can take to support the health of the planet. This view has been recently been endorsed in a new report by the C40 Cities Climate Group, academics at Leeds University, and engineering firm Arup, who identified that 73 per cent of all changes needed by 2030 to keep the world on course to meet the Paris agreement targets need to be made by governments and industry. But private citizens have considerable influence over the remaining 27 per cent. 

Some examples of how individuals can help to restore Planetary Health are:

•    Changing the system: At least one life shift to nudge the system, like moving to a green energy company or a green pension supplier
•    Holidaying local: One flight every three years
•    Eating green: A plant-based diet, with no waste 
•    Arranging a meeting with your local MP to discuss about how they can advocate for stronger climate action.

For more information on the campaign and to get involved go to: ayearinaday.org