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Plant a tree or support scientific research?




Climate Change

Image source: Syahrin Seth (Unsplash)

Action and impact in the fight against climate change.

  • The impact of climate change creates complex environmental challenges, and extends into healthcare. Scientific research, although under-funded, is essential to addressing these challenges.

  • Collective action, directed towards supporting scientific research, will help us shape a sustainable future.

  • Prevention goes hand in hand with cure, reducing the future impact of climate change alongside action to mitigate its current effects.

As climate change continues to threaten our planet’s ecosystem, accelerating scientific research and innovation to combat its effects has never been more of a priority.

According to the United Nations “Everyone has a role in climate action”. Businesses, public bodies and researchers have realised that actively involving the general public in mitigating climate change by encouraging them to take measures to slow down the rise in fossil fuel emissions is essential.

As consumers we are faced with a spectrum of choices, from purchasing decisions to lifestyle practices: How can I minimise my carbon footprint? How do the businesses that I buy from embed environmentally responsible practices? Planting trees, switching to electric cars, fitting solar panels and eating less meat does make a difference, but truly lasting, impactful change requires a shift of behaviour and mindset — from mitigation to prevention.

Research funding as a catalyst for change

The effects of climate change aren’t only geological in nature; countries struggling to deal with the resulting health challenges report lack of funding as one of the major barriers to progress with only about a quarter of those recently surveyed by the World Health Organization able to fully implement their national health and climate change plans or strategies.

While it can be easy to take a gloomy outlook, scientists are equipped with a deep understanding of the issues we’re facing, and when backed by cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions, are positioned to tackle a myriad of complex environmental challenges before they occur. However, this does require investment in scientific research from the bottom up, in an environment where scientific research already suffers from a significant funding gap — as much as £4bn in the UK alone.

From framework to collective impact

Limiting (and then preventing) climate change starts with creating frameworks for action — and for this, we rely on global collaboration and government policy. Linked to the 2015 Paris Agreement, which sets ambitious targets to reduce emissions, one of the key aims set out in the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals [SDGs] is to achieve ‘sustainability and resilience for people and planet’.

Scientific research and innovation, driven by academia, industry and policymakers lies at the cornerstone of these frameworks. But all of us are also able to get involved at the project funding level, sharing in the drive towards building a sustainable future. It is everyone’s future, after all.

Fit-for-purpose, socially and environmentally responsible businesses are supporting initiatives that will have a significant impact on the health, well-being — and indeed future — of our society. With the launch of Science Card’s ground-breaking research funding ecosystem, we’ve reached a point of convergence where science, innovation and now payments meet: consumers are now empowered to take an active, impactful role in supporting scientific research by getting funding to vital research projects, fast.

When the Covid pandemic closed the world’s borders, we soon realised the power of our own individual actions as well as working collectively — as communities, companies and nations — to prevent the virus’ spread. We can use that same power again now, in the face of current, ongoing global challenges, to shape a sustainable future.

Prevention and cure — we need them both

With climate change considered ‘the defining issue of our time’, it comes as no surprise that there are over 11,000 live climate change projects currently running in the UK alone. Thanks to scientific research, we’ve long reaped the benefits of using technology to reduce emissions: wind and solar power and more-efficient lighting, buildings and vehicles — and, as consumers, we must not stop mitigating the effects of climate change by planting trees, flying less or cutting consumption. But with innovation firmly baked into the government’s climate agenda, if it’s a fundamental impact that you’re seeking, then getting involved in supporting the scientific research behind climate change is key.

If we use research-driven innovation to its best potential, can we dare to dream of a sustainable future and a planet safeguarded for future generations? We certainly think so.