#ridefortheirlives & #pollutiondrift together
Child health experts unite with art to urge COP26: stop preventable child deaths now
Children’s health workers cycle 800km to demand action on health and climate crisis
Award-winning artwork Pollution Pods travels north with cyclists
Press event at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London: 24 Oct, 08:00 BST
Open letter and WHO report will be handed to riders at Granary Square 08:45 BST
Cyclists leave 09:00 BST Sunday 24th Oct, arrive Glasgow Sunday 31 Oct 13:30 GMT
Today, children’s hospital staff and award-winning climate art start a synchronized journey from London to the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. They are demanding world leaders act now to prevent the 7 million unnecessary deaths from air pollution that occur globally every year. Children are particularly vulnerable due to their small, developing lungs.
Ride for their Lives, an 800km bike ride by children's healthcare providers, is travelling north with Pollution Pods, an art installation which simulates the most polluted air on the planet. There are 70 riders overall - with thirty nine setting off today.
The cyclists are carrying the World Health Organisation’s COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health, and the Healthy Climate Prescription, an open letter signed by organisations representing 45 million healthcare professionals worldwide. Both spell out the many and inseparable links between climate and health, and call for urgent action.
Cyclists and pods will finish their journey at Gartnavel Hospitals in Glasgow, where a young cyclist, who is a GOSH patient, will deliver the documents to COP26.
The cyclists will take delivery of the report and letter just before they set off. The documents are being handed over by Dr Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, WHO Head of Climate Change and Health, who has cycled from Geneva where they were launched earlier this month.
Dr Campbell-Lendrum said: “By cycling all the way to COP26, health professionals are demonstrating their incredible commitment in tackling this crisis. We know what we have to do to address the climate crisis and save lives, and that includes switching to more active transport options such as cycling. I’m glad I was able to be part of it.”
Samantha Drew, Paediatric Diabetes Clinical Nurse at GOSH, said: “I’m riding for my own kids’ future, but also the children with respiratory problems I care for at the hospital. They shouldn't be worrying about the air they breathe. The ride with the pods, and the fact that we are medical professionals, could make a huge difference and really get people to listen.”
On their way to Glasgow, the pods and cyclists will stop for combined events in Birmingham, Sheffield and Newcastle, to raise awareness about the links between air pollution, the climate crisis and health. A single pod will go on to the WHO climate and health conference at Glasgow Caledonian University on November 6th.
The Pollution Pods have previously featured at major climate change conferences, such as the COP25 UN climate conference in Madrid, the UN climate action summit in New York in 2019, and the first ever global conference on air pollution, hosted by the World Health Organisation in 2018.
The Pollution pods are equipped with portable air purification technology, provided by AirLabs, to protect against transmission of COVID-19. The AirHavn Pro units remove more than 95% of airborne pathogens and pollutants and provide an extra layer of reassurance for visitors.
Notes to Editors
The handing over of the WHO report and open letter will be livestreamed on WHO’s twitter
For more information, arrange interviews or to join our journalist WhatsApp chat, please contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org, Jo: 07960 83 371 & Tom: 07740 647 023.
Photos and videos are available here
Link to WHO video of Dr Campbell-Lendrum cycling from Geneva here
Additional quotes from cyclists can be found here
World map of people taking part in the virtual ride here
Tags: #podsandride, #headandheartforclimate #artandscienceforclimate #PollutionPods #PollutionDrift #RidefortheirLives
The dedicated riders are self-funding their participation in Ride for their Lives, and are now inspiring worldwide support.
Child and adult healthcare providers, as well as the public can join the virtual ride by signing up on Strava and pledging the distance they cycle during October. More than a thousand people around the world have already joined the ride remotely. The goal is to reach a million km by 31 October.
Air pollution and climate change - quick facts
Air pollution has largely the same causes as climate change - burning fossil fuels for power, transport and industry, as well as burning crops and plastics. The solutions are also largely the same - renewable energy, electric mobility, public transport, walking and cycling.
Poor air quality is one of the most tangible health impacts of the climate emergency. It is a killer on a par with smoking and unhealthy diet. It takes an estimated 7 million lives globally each year, and the annual estimate for the UK is 28,000-36,000 deaths. It contributes to respiratory illness, cancer and heart disease. Increasingly, it is being linked to mental illness as well as physical illness. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects because they are closer to exhaust fumes, their lungs are still developing, and they breathe faster than adults.
It is estimated that the average Londoner, exposed to the current levels of pollution recreated in the installation, would lose up to 16 months of their life, with a resident of New Delhi cutting their life short by 4 years.
Michael Pinsky / Pollution Pods
Pinsky is known for his artwork in the public realm. He originally created Pollution Pods to test whether art can change public perceptions of, and action on, climate change. The Pods are made up of five interconnected geodesic domes whose air quality, smell and temperature accurately recreate the pollution of five different locations on three continents: London, Beijing, São Paulo, New Delhi and Tautra, a remote peninsula in Norway. Walking through the domes provides an unforgettable bodily experience of the best and worst air on the planet.
Climate Acceptance Studios
Ride for their Lives has been brought together with the Pollution Pods by Climate Acceptance Studios (CAS). CAS brings together experts and creatives in unique projects to communicate the climate crisis. CAS also produces CPD-accredited training for professionals on the link between planetary and human health, combining creative and expert voices to explore the challenge of accepting this growing threat and taking action. CAS’s first webinar series, Every Breath Matters, is on air pollution.
Organisations supporting Ride for their Lives/Pollution Drift
Clean Air Fund: Pollution Drift is funded by the Clean Air Fund. The Clean Air Fund is a philanthropic initiative with a mission to tackle air pollution around the world. We bring together funders, researchers, policy makers and campaigners to find and scale solutions that will provide clean air for all.
Bupa: Bupa is a sponsor of the Ride for their lives. Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world. It is an international healthcare company serving over 31 million customers worldwide. With no shareholders, Bupa reinvests profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers. It directly employs around 85,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Chile, Poland, New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, the US, Middle East and Ireland. It also has associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India. For more information, visit www.bupa.com.
University of East London: The University of East London (UEL) School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering has a strong focus on sustainability and community, building on effective connections with the capital's businesses to provide students with practical experience and the impetus to make a positive impact locally and globally. Michael Pinsky holds a research and teaching position with the university.
International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF): At IFF (NYSE: IFF), an industry leader in food, beverage, scent, health and biosciences, science and creativity meet to create essential solutions for a better world – from global icons to unexpected innovations and experiences. With the beauty of art and the precision of science, we are an international collective of thinkers who partners with customers to bring scents, tastes, experiences, ingredients and solutions for products the world craves. Together, we will do more good for people and planet. Learn more at iff.com, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
IFF perfumers Stephen Nicoll, Nelly Hachem-Ruiz, Laura French, Avinash Mali, Dino Kong and Gabriela Maldonado, worked with Pinsky on the Pollution Pods, leveraging the art of perfumery and IFF proprietary technologies and ingredients. They used the powerful sense of smell to give visitors a visceral, sometimes unpleasant experience, to increase people's awareness of world pollution issues. Norway, London, Delhi, Beijing, Sao Paulo: each city with its own pollution issues, and pollution scents.
Build with Hubs: Build with Hubs is a start-up based in the UK. They have created 'hubs' – simple to snap together joints that make durable geodesic domes fun, easy and quick to build.
Airlabs: AirLabs is a leading pioneer in clean air technology. With more than 90% of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, AirLabs’ mission is to deliver measuring, monitoring and cleaning solutions that provide valuable insight, enable action and clean polluted air to make it safe for people to breathe. Its international team of atmospheric chemistry scientists, airflow engineers and sensor specialists has developed cutting edge and scientifically proven solutions for use by government, business and individuals to tackle the growing problem of urban air pollution. AirLabs is headquartered in London and has its R&D labs in Copenhagen.
AirHavn Pro portable air filtration technology will be used to create the atmosphere of Tautra. This also removes airborne coronavirus, and will be deployed across the other pods to protect visitors. The drivers transporting the pods to each city will be protected on route via the installation of AirLabs’ AirBubbl devices in their vehicles, which remove more than 95% of airborne pollutants and pathogens, including coronavirus, and provides 30,000 litres of clean air per hour to keep drivers safe from airborne threats.
Lime: Lime is working to create a future of transport that is shared, electric and zero-emission. It is the largest micro mobility provider in the UK, having safely delivered over 4 million zero carbon rides across its service areas in London, Manchester and Milton Keynes. Lime is supporting Ride for their Lives by donating an electric support van for the journey, in addition to providing e-bikes to riders as needed.
Bikeworks: Bikeworks is a community evolved London-based social enterprise, with headquarters in the Olympic Park Velodrome, Stratford. It delivers programmes and services using the bicycle as its tool of engagement. These include six inclusive cycling hubs with a focus on Londoners with disabilities and barriers to cycling, adult and child cycle training, employment and training courses for those furthest away from the labour market, cycling for wellbeing, and Ride Side-by-Side cycling taxi service to people who are isolated or have mobility issues. Bikeworks is supporting Ride for their Lives by providing two qualified mechanics who will both ride in the event and drive an electric vehicle as technical support.
Patagonia: Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California. A Certified B Corporation, the company is recognized internationally for its commitment to product quality and environmental activism—and its contributions of more than $145 million in grants and in-kind donations to date.
Additional supporters of Pollution Pods: Pollution Pods has also been generously supported by the following organisations:
Arts Council England
Norwegian Research Council
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
The Norwegian Institute of Air Research (NILU)
World Health Organisation.