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Sustainable Cop26 newspaper made with ink grown from algae highlights climate's impact on health

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By Ellen Ormesher | Reporter

November 5, 2021 | 4 min read

IPG Health agencies McCann Health London and McCann Health New Jersey have created an 8-page sustainable newspaper for charity EpiCC (Epilepsy Climate Change) to raise awareness of the effects of climate change on human health.

McCann Health

Not one of Cop26’s two-week main presidency programme schedule of debates is dedicated to discussing health/ Image via McCann

The campaign coincides with day five of Cop26 (November 5) which is Youth and Public Empowerment Day. The agency notes that not one of Cop26’s two-week main presidency programme schedule of debates is dedicated to discussing the implications of rising temperatures on human health – particularly in the so-called global south, where the ramifications of rising temperatures are already being felt.

For this purpose, McCann Health London and McCann Health New Jersey have created The EnvironMental Issue, an 8-page special edition newspaper, using ink grown from algae, with pulp from sustainable forests, and manufactured using wind-powered energy.

It will be distributed in Glasgow during Cop26 within Scotland’s broadsheet newspaper, The Herald. A digital campaign, designed to make the lowest environmental impact with no imagery, colour and simple text, will also run on The Herald site and on social media channels.

The EnvironMental Issue features a series of articles from leading scientists and epilepsy experts about the EpiCC campaign; what it’s like to live with epilepsy, why it’s vital that human health (not just neurological conditions) is on the climate change agenda and a plea for global funding for further research. It also highlights the need to fight climate change on every level possible – and that taking positive action by even changing to renewable printing ink can have an impact.

“Climate change is everyone’s responsibility, and we have to act now; But awareness of all the issues - including those that affect our neurological and mental health is critical, which is why we were surprised to see these discussions missing from the official agenda for Cop26," says Matt Eastwood, global chief creative officer at McCann Health.

"We're hopeeful 'The EnvironMental Issue' can help raise awareness around these issues, in an innovative and sustainable way.”

EpiCC is a global climate change initiative set up by Sanjay Sisodiya, professor of Neurology at UCL and director of genomics at the Epilepsy Society, after he noticed colleagues raising concerns about heatwaves and their impact on neurological diseases, including epilepsy. Initial anecdotal findings from the charity have found heatwaves increase the number and intensity of seizures in people with epilepsy, which is of huge concern for the 600,000 people in the UK alone who have the condition.

Professor Sisodiya emphasized the need for an urgent response to the challenges posed by climate change for human health saying: “It is vital that leaders don’t just pay lip service to climate change issues or those related to its impact on health – reducing carbon emissions should be a priority,” he says.

“Evidence is emerging of a possible correlation between rising global temperatures and a potential worsening in neurological disorders, including epilepsy and strokes. Urgent research is needed.”

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