In the largest ever mobilisation of the health sector, DEA has joined over 370 health organisations and 40 million health professionals demanding a healthy recovery form Covid-19. This means reducing air pollution, reforming fossil fuel subsidies, scales up renewable energy, ramps up public transportation and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. #HealthyRecovery
Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty and former Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley are among more than 180 health professionals and leading health groups who have signed an open letter, warning the federal government must strengthen Australia’s weak environment laws to protect health.
The letter warns that a failure to conserve our environment is in effect dismantling our life support systems, exposing humanity to potentially even more deadly pandemics than COVID-19, as well as catastrophic climate change, which fuelled the horrific Black Summer bushfires.
DEA in conjunction with the Climate and Health Alliance recently wrote to the Hon. Sussan Ley MP and the Independent Review Panel. With support from a number of individuals and health organisations, the aim of the letter was to draw attention to the current review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and its importance to the health of Australians.
DEA doctors across the nation from a wide range of specialities are experiencing fundamental changes and challenges in their work practices and expectations.
GPs are screening and consulting patients in their clinic car parks; interns are working in COVID clinics; “front line” emergency department, intensive care and anaesthetic doctors are planning, training and caring for patients under situations that were unimaginable 4-6 weeks ago.
DEA has provided a submission to the Senate inquiry, Lessons to be Learnt in relation to the 2019-20 bushfire season. DEA recommendations include the need for more research into the effects of long term exposure to
bushfire smoke and better public health advice on how to best protect ourselves from its health impacts. It must be recognised that the underlying driver of Australia's worsening bushfire seasons is climate change.
Big problems require big solutions at government level. But positive individual action can build collective strength towards the transformational change we need to ensure our health and wellbeing. Will you join us?
Solutions to the climate emergency involves whole-of-system changes. But the individual actions we take are crucial. Four DEA doctors at the frontline of care speak on the steps they and their communities are taking for a healthier and more resilient future.
DEA believes that the flaws in the EPBC Act are too significant to be addressed by amendments alone. A new generation of environmental law is needed to restore past damage and cope with the scale of future challenges. This law must provide the Commonwealth with the powers it needs to fulfil a greater leadership role in the protection of Australia’s environment, as compared with the current situation where much of this task is left to the states and territories
Doctors for the Environment Australia would like to invite members, friends and interested parties to a webinar on Australia’s place in the global loss of biodiversity: inevitability of a degraded future for our children
Relying on fossil fuel projects to help with a COVID-19 recovery is like planning to recover from a heart attack by adopting a deep-fried diet, or treating diabetes with mountains of sugar, writes Dr John Van Der Kallen.
Yet as we try and restart the economy, we are seeing the expansion of environment and economy-wrecking fossil fuel projects.
For healthy communities, a renewables-led recovery is what this doctor - and everyday Australians, economists, energy experts, scientists and the like -ordered.
Doctors for the Environment Australia appreciates the contribution of all members. If you renew your membership each year, that is a valued contribution.
If you’re looking to do more, this short brochure lists the many additional ways in which you can make a difference, including opportunities to engage with like-minded colleagues.
Although natural gas is often seen as a ‘clean’ fuel, this is a myth. All gas-burning appliances produce pollutants. Our latest fact sheet examines the health impacts of indoor gas use and to how to reduce the risks. It also lists five major recommendations to reduce the negative impacts of gas on our homes, our planet and our hip pockets.
Dr Trudi Beck says she knows that coronavirus is no small matter, and as a doctor, she takes it as seriously as anyone can. But, Dr Beck writes, "I also want to urge our leaders to take the climate crisis equally seriously. As a doctor and a mother, I'm deeply concerned about, the increasing climate threat, and the rapidly closing window we have to safeguard our future as a society, and that of our children."
The health impacts of last summer’s devastating bushfire season are serious, complex and wide-ranging and health is integral to making decisions about emergency and disaster responses. More research is needed to fill the gaps in our knowledge, especially about the long term impacts of prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke. Importantly, the main driver of our longer and more intense bushfire seasons is climate change.
Greta, Rebeca, Milo et al: Young people leading climate emergency change
This Doctors for the Environment Australia video, which we have launched today, has a strong yet clear message: we need to address two emergencies in our midst - Covid19 and climate change . DEA members Drs Kate Ahmad, Trudi Beck, Michelle Hamrosi, Arnagretta Hunter, Kim Loo and Ingo Weber speak out powerfully and urgently on the challenges we are facing and the actions we need to take to protect our health and survival now and into the future.
New research has linked pollutant PM2.5 and air pollutant nitrogen dioxide with increased mortality rates. Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) spokesperson Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM told the RANZCP's newsGP publication that the Government ‘can’t ignore these figures’ and that local research is required to validate the results.
New figures showing worsening sulphur dioxide air pollution from three NSW coal-fired power stations must be met with tighter license conditions on power plants to reduce the significant risks to the health of millions of people in Sydney and across the state, says medical group Doctors for the Environment Australia.
Putting aside the inadequacies of government in addressing climate change, many Australians are coming to recognise that the fate of the planet resides mainly in numerous corporate board rooms, writes Dr David Shearman. The recent Santos AGM is one battleground for our future.
Public health expert Prof Melissa Haswell asked an important question at Santos' 2020 annual general meeting which was held online due to Covid-19: How will the oil and gas giant protect our communities, especially our unborn children, infants and children, from their current and proposed gas projects?
The argument that LNG is good for Australia and good for the world cannot be substantiated by scientific or medical facts, states Dr David Shearman. Many studies confirm that the emissions profile of gas is little different to that of coal.
A moratorium was placed on onshore conventional exploration and drilling in Victoria in 2014. This is due to expire on June 30, 2020.
In the next few months, the Victorian government will decide whether to extend the moratorium or let it lapse.
At this time of climate crisis, we need to show our politicians that we do not want ANY new gas developments in our state.
The Climate Change Bill 2020 being introduced into the Federal Parliament by Hon Zali Steggall is a bold attempt to halt 15 years or more of dithering within that Parliament while climate change has become increasingly obvious, destructive and dangerous and responses to it have been woefully inadequate.
As the initiative has come from a non-aligned independent member of the Parliament, the Bill could be a circuit breaker to achieve sufficient bi-partisan support.
The Federal Government is currently undertaking a once-in-a-decade review of Australia’s national environment laws and is asking for public input. This is a critically important opportunity for us to speak up about the need to protect our environment for the sake of human health.
Dr Marion Carey writes that with an estimated 40% of insect species now threatened with extinction, we can all do more to notice and appreciate our wonderful native bees and give them a helping hand- and with so little effort also comes great personal reward.
The commitment by the ALP to a target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 is a welcome sign that Australia may eventually join 73 other countries in doing so, but it doesn't go far enough, states DEA's national co-chair Professor Kingsley Faulkner.
The Hunter Valley already has the worst PM10* air pollution in New South Wales. DEA considers that the Glendell expansion proposal is not in the national or local community interest and should be rejected on the grounds of local air quality impacts and on global climate grounds, which have severe adverse health impacts at both a local and global scale.
The process of coal combustion leads to a concentration of trace elements in the resulting waste ash. While exposure to the traces of these elements in nature does not usually result in toxicity, their concentration in coal ash has the potential for dysfunction of multiple organ systems.
The #NoTimeForGames campaign, an initiative of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), highlighted the effects of climate change on children’s health. It called upon our elected leaders to take action, recognising that if we fail to act now on climate change, adaptation may not be possible and many societies will struggle to survive.
Doctors have today slammed the Morrison government’s proposed $11m grant to Vales Point coal-fired power station, as the money to prolong the life of this ageing coal fired-power station is likely to exacerbate harmful pollution reaching the large population centre of Sydney, especially in summer when north easterly winds are common.
We are delighted to announce the launch of DEA’s vision for a Healthy Planet, Healthy People over the next five years, and we thank all our wonderful members and friends who made the event on Saturday 15 February, either in person or via Facebook Live, a huge success. These next five years will be a critical time for action on climate change and other environmental harms, and we are confident DEA's "road map" will ensure our organisation is well placed to lead on addressing these enormous challenges.
Dear Premier Gutwein,
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) is alarmed at the resumption of old growth logging in the North West of Tasmania, as it imperils community health.
We urge the State Government to cancel plans to log coupes in the takayna/Tarkine bio-region including Que Road, and for future forestry operations there to be suspended.
There is no justification for ongoing logging in the face of the climate crisis and accelerating loss of forests to bushfire and other human activities.
This submission focuses primarily upon aspects of the new EP laws as they relate to air pollution and climate change, as these are closely related to DEA policy and expertise. DEA expertise is medical rather than legal and our submission is made upon this basis
Gas is often regarded as a ‘clean’ fuel, but air pollutants released from the combustion of methane indoors can cause or exacerbate illness involving the heart, lungs brain or nervous system. Open flued gas space heaters (OFSGHs) can sometimes provide a direct pathway for these pollutants into a room. DEA recommends a phase out of OFGSHs, which includes a ban on all new installations (Option 3).
DEA objects to the proposed Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Territorial Limits) Bill 2019. Eliminating assessment of downstream or Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions from major projects in New South Wales will increase greenhouse gas emissions, driving increased climate change whose health impacts will be felt on a local and global scale.
Doctors are demanding that the NSW Government abandons its bill to change the law so that the emissions from burning fossil fuels outside NSW no longer need to be taken into account when approving new coal and gas projects.
Dear Mr Kaeser, As a company committed to health and sustainability, Siemens’ decision to provide rail signalling for the Adani coal mine is deeply disappointing. We, the undersigned, urge you to restore our trust in your company by reconsidering your decision on the Adani contract. The world does not need another coal mine. Coal is a major contributor to climate change, which the health sector has determined to be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.
While Australia burns as part of the climate crisis, the State of Queensland continues its fervent quest to develop more coal. This is the sixth submission written on New Hope Coal mine by DEA since 2012.
To Scott Morrison, like everyone else in Australia, and increasingly around the world, I have spent the past couple of months in horrified disbelief at the scale of the bushfire emergency. The loss of life, devastation of ecosystems, decimation of wildlife and destruction of property are genuinely beyond comprehension – we simply have nothing to compare these events to, and consequently it is almost impossible to process. I am deeply saddened and increasingly frightened about the future. And beyond donating to fundraising efforts, I feel helpless in my capacity to meaningfully contribute in the face of this ongoing tragedy. But as a citizen of this country, I can write to you and your Coalition colleagues and share my views.
DEA welcomes Federal Opposition health spokesperson Chris Bowen's statement in the SMH that Australia's government response to the challenges of a changing climate should reflect the urgency the medical profession has placed on this major public health issue. Mr Bowen acknowledges that organisations from Doctors for the Environment Australia to the Australian Medical Association have declared climate change as a health emergency. He states that given the dangers it poses to the health of Australians, it's vital to implement a national climate change health strategy.
The climate emergency has arrived, writes Dr Michael Schien. With the first degree of the predicted four degrees of warming by 2100, this 11,000 kilometre fire front is stretching our capacity to respond, while weeks of smoke have replaced the clean air that our forests usually provide us for free. Positive change means facing at least two major issues.