Print Friendly and PDF
sustainable healthcare media analysis
Environmental Health News

Code Green: Burnout, climate change and equity

A look at the year in sustainable healthcare coverage shows public moving beyond PPE and Covid.

Welcome to summer. Let's step back and take in a year's worth of sustainable healthcare coverage in one sweep.


The above graph shows the 1,553 stories, each represented by a dot, published since last June that our software picked up.

  • X-axis: Number of media outlets publishing the story
  • Y-axis: Count of social media posts sharing that story
  • Colors represent thematic clusters.

Note that both axes are logarithmic.

Focus this week on the upper right quadrant: Stories that proved popular by media editors and social media users alike.

  • They got seen and shared, and they drove conversations.

Three main themes dominated the most widely read and shared stories:

  1. Staff burnout & shortages (red dots)
  2. Climate change (purple)
  3. Healthcare inequity (teal)

Stay abreast of sustainable healthcare coverage

Get our Code Green newsletter in your inbox - FREE!

A bi-weekly newsletter for people who care about reimagining health care, sustainably.
Better than coffee.

Staff burnout & climate change

sustainable healthcare coverage climate change

The big red dot, with some 27,000 media shares, is a Texas Tribune article from August about Texas' acute healthcare worker shortage amid staff burnout and a Covid-19 surge. It wasn't just Texas: Quite a few red dots representing stories focused on staffing sit in this most popular quadrant.

What we find encouraging is the number of purple dots in that quadrant, representing stories focused on climate change – such as this piece from ABC News national correspondent Chris Conte on doctors incorporating climate change into their practices.

It's going to become a more frequent topic for healthcare globally, with reports just this week of more than 1,000 people hospitalized in Iraq as dust storms ravaged the Middle East.

Inequity in healthcare

healthcare equity coverage

Equally heartening is the plethora of teal in the graph's upper quadrant. Each of those represents a story on inequity in health care, such as this Stateline piece from September on how pandemic health inequities highlight the need for better obesity prevention.

Stay with us on that last point, as Environmental Health Sciences will be hosting a conference this fall on obesogens – hormone hijacking compounds in medical and consumer products that alter our body chemistry and contribute to obesity.

Overall, we'd say the coverage trend suggests the media and public are moving on from the intense focus on PPE and Covid we've seen in the healthcare sustainability space since the pandemic hit.

Become a donor
Today's top news
From our newsroom

WATCH: Pete Myers addresses US Senate committee on the dangers of plastic

Environmental Health Science founder and chief scientist was one of four witnesses testifying for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment & Public Works.

LISTEN: Valerisa Joe-Gaddy on tribal water justice

“They’re still fighting for water rights.”

Western Pennsylvania can meet its climate goals — if the region stops subsidizing natural gas

A new proposed plan would lead to a 97% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and create 15,353 new jobs by 2050.

Op-ed: What the pesticide industry doesn’t want you to know

Confronting pesticide industry science denialism.

Op-ed: Why academic journals need to embrace youth

We’re tired of hearing leaders say we need creative solutions to climate issues, and then ignoring the creative solutions youth present.