Veteran activist Dr. David Swann explains why it’s important for doctors to engage in direct action.
Should doctors get involved in direct action and physically place themselves on the front lines over threats to human and environmental health? My experience testifies to my belief that the answer is yes.
So far my actions have stayed within the law, but it’s clear to me that in those rare instances that threaten present and future generations, there may be a need to push legal boundaries. Where I live in Alberta, it is apparent – after 43 years under one government – that a lack of science-based policy and some current practices threaten our future. Every responsible citizen, including doctors, must summon their courage to stand up against such political failure.
Dr. Richard Denton argues that physician-activists should stay within the law.
As doctors or nurses, our greatest asset is our professional standing in the eyes of the public. That’s why organizations such as Physicians for Global Survival (PGS) or Canadian Associations of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) are so often sought out by other groups to lend credibility to their causes. Civil disobedience can undermine that professional standing – anything we do that erodes it is unhelpful to our cause.
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