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#HealthyRecovery joint letter in the news 

We wish to thank the AMA, RACGP, RACP, ACEM, RANZCP, RANZCOG, ACRRM, CICM, and AMSA for signing the #HealthyRecovery joint letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.  The letter from Australia's peak medical groups, representing most of the nation's doctors, which DEA coordinated draws attention to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change as two global health emergencies that the nation must respond to.  It strongly urges the federal government to take a health-centred approach to the COVID-19 recovery by transitioning away from coal and gas to renewables, electric vehicles, and public transport.  The letter attracted a large number of media hits which we list.

Joint letter to PM Morrison: Australia’s doctors call for a post-COVID-19 #HealthyRecovery

As a sign of the rising concern within the health profession of the health risks posed by climate change, Australia’s peak medical groups have issued a joint statement calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to place health at the centre of Australia’s Covid-19 pandemic economic response.  The groups represent around 90,000 individual doctors and all of the nation’s GPs, emergency room doctors, physicians, obstetricians, psychiatrists, and intensive care specialists.

EPBC Review Interim Report _ DEA Response

On Monday July 20, the interim report of the EPBC Act review was released by Professor Graeme Samuel, the chair of the review panel. This included some positive proposals, but on the whole failed to present a reform agenda commensurate with the environmental crisis we face. In fact, some of the report’s recommendations have the potential a lead to a lowering of environmental protections at a time when entire ecosystems are on the brink of collapse. Click here to read what DEA's response to the interim report will focus on. 

Eco anxiety as the earth continues to heat

Dr Lucy Watt writes "I am an “eco-worrier”. I worry about the environmental nightmare that climate change has in store for us, our children and their children."

Newcastle Herald: Clean air should be a right not a dirty secret  

The summer's bushfires blanketed Australia's east coast with thick smoke, writes Dr Bob Vickers. But even when we don't have bushfires,  Australians are still being exposed to harmful air pollution from sources such as coal-fired power stations. 

Supplementary Submission to Narrabri Gas Project

DEA strongly opposes the Narrabri Gas Project and submitted its first submission to object to the Narrabri Gas Project in 2017.  This supplementary submission addresses the inadequacies and deficiencies in the Narrabri Gas Project application and why DEA maintains that gas is a health hazard. Click here to read the full supplementary submission 

Submission to the NSW Independent Planning Commission regarding the Vickery Extension Project 

It is the position of DEA that ongoing coal mining and combustion poses an unacceptable health risk due to greenhouse gas emissions.  DEA is one of many health and medical organisations across the globe calling for urgent action to mitigate climate change. Collectively these groups have highlighted the devastating impact a warming climate will have on human health.   The specific effects of rising temperatures on human health are summarised in this submission, leading to our conclusion that approving the Vickery Extension Project is not in the interests of Australia or of human health on the international scale. 

Media release: doctors' group warns against proposed gas facility in Geelong

Doctors have described Viva Energy’s proposed gas import and storage facility in North Geelong as a folly, warning that it poses risks to the local environment and to the health of local residents, as well as fuelling more dangerous climate change. 

Media release: DEA applauds First State Super and HESTA's divestment from thermal coal

Doctors for the Environment Australia congratulates industry superannuation funds HESTA and First State Super on their recent moves to exit thermal coal. These are large funds (FSS $130 billion and HESTA $52 billion) whose members are health workers. Mounting pressure from members and advocacy groups such as DEA over the last few years has been rewarded with these announcements which are part of policy change to put the funds in line with meeting their commitment to the Paris target. 

Canberra Times: Climate change is the next health crisis we face  

Covid-19 has its challenges, especially in Victoria at the moment. Dr Beau Frigault writes that generally, though, Australia relative to other parts  of the world has managed the pandemic well.  This  proves that when we are in a crisis, we rise to the occasion and do what is right to protect all of us. We need to have a similar response to the critical issue of climate change. 

Independent Australia: The madness of a gas-led recovery and what you can do about it

Australia is particularly vulnerable to some of the worst impacts of climate change with extreme heat, drought, drying rivers, coastal erosion and changing patterns of disease-- threatening health, livelihoods and the social fabric, write Drs Graeme McLeay and Ingo Weber.  While paying lip service to the urgency underpinning the Paris Agreement to keep average global temperatures to below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times, Australia is embarking zealously on a course to promote and profit from the export and use of fossil fuels, most recently with calls for a gas-led "recovery". The argument though that gas is a transition fuel and clean is disingenuous. 

Janek Szymanowski Pixabay

Submission to the Issues Paper on Health Arrangements in Natural Disasters - Bushfires Royal Commission

The Royal Commission on the 2019-20 summer bushfires released an Issues Paper in May, specifically addressing the health care arrangements of natural disasters. DEA’s submission calls for a national health and climate change strategy to include better public health information, a nationalised approach to air quality monitoring and reporting, more research on the health impacts of smoke events better integration of primary health care providers in emergency responses. Read our submission here.

Open Forum: When our love of place gets swallowed by bushfires

Like many Australians, this summer's horrific fires had a profound impact on Dr Dimity Williams. Not only did she experience angst about the fires in Victoria burning her ‘happy place’ -the Thurra River in Croajingalong National Park in East Gippsland- her oldest son, who had gone camping with friends in NSW, was among those evacuated on New Year’s Eve. Dr Williams writes that this catastrophic event is the new normal, and what those of us who have been advocating for action on climate change for the past decades have been warning about.

Media release: #TurnOffTheGas and sign the petition for a healthier and cleaner Australia

Health experts, including GPs and medical specialists, are today launching a video message warning that a gas-led pandemic economic recovery would be hazardous to health and cost lives.  The call by doctors is attached to a petition calling for a renewable recovery instead. 

#TurnOffTheGas

Doctors for the Environment Australia members urge the Morrison Government to seek an alternative to a gas led recovery from the Covid19 pandemic.  With Australia's abundance of solar and wind energy capabilities, a renewable energy led recovery will protect both the environment and human health.  Head to https://turnoffthegas.good.do/turnoffthegas/

Why Doctors are concerned about a “gas-led recovery” from pandemic

Outlined in the attached frequently asked questions, are the many problems methane poses for the environment and human health and why doctors are calling for an alternative solution to the "gas-led" recovery from the Covid19 pandemic.

#BLM: The Black Lives Matter movement

The fundamental objective of Doctors for the Environment Australia is to protect and enhance health by protecting the environment.   There are other social determinants of health and racial discrimination, dispossession, inequality and injustice are prominent among them. DEA expects that closing the gap in health and life expectancy of the First people of our land must be of the highest priority for government, alongside protecting the environment. 

Environmental Sustainability Audit Tool: your guide to achieving a more sustainable operating theatre 

The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) has developed an  audit tool on how anaesthetists can Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Research their way to a more environmentally sustainable hospital workplace. The tool was developed by the ANZCA Environmental Sustainability Working Party, which includes several DEA members.  

Insightplus: COVID-19 and beyond- impact of air pollution 

Air pollution is a known risk factor for a number of diseases and is associated with increased risk of mortality and chronic diseases and hospitalisations even from exposure at low doses below current national standards, writes A/Prof Vicki Kotsirilos AM. Whether air pollution is or isn’t a significant modifiable contributor to mortality associated with COVID-19 deaths, the studies and the improvement of air quality during the pandemic do remind us why we should continue to urgently do further research, tackle and tighten air pollution standards in Australia and the rest of the world.

Canberra Times: Now is not the time to weaken our environmental protections

 Australia's environmental track record is among the worst of all countries, write A/Professor Katherine Barraclough, Victorian Chair of DEA,  and Fiona Armstrong, Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance.  As our environmental laws undergo a once-in-a-decade review, health experts insist that environmental protections must be strengthened. Why? Human health is fundamentally dependent on the health of the natural world - for clean air, water and soils, food security, protection against infectious diseases and a stable climate. Nature is also the source of over half of all medicines we rely on.  

This World Environment Day, it’s Time for Nature

The natural world filters our air, provides fresh water and food, regulates our climate, protects against the spread of disease and pests and fosters our mental wellbeing.  It also is a source of  over one third of all medicines.  As the preamble on the World Environment Day website states,  'To care for ourselves we must care for nature...It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To raise our voices. It’s time to build back better for People and Planet. This World Environment Day, it’s Time for Nature'. Read more about what DEA is doing to protect nature.

UPDATED DEA Webinar: Australia’s place in the global loss of biodiversity: inevitability of a degraded future for our children - video link available now

5 June 2020: We are pleased to provide a link to Corey Bradshaw's recent webinar.  The webinar can now be viewed here

40 million health professionals call for healthy recovery 

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

Media release: Open Letter- prominent health leaders and groups warn ‘failing’ nature laws will lead to further public health crises 

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. 

Open Letter: Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

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.  

Lessons to be learnt in relation to the Australian bushfire season 2019-20

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.

New video! Doctors' prescription for healthy solutions: Will you join us? (Part 2)

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? 

New video! Doctors' prescription for healthy solutions: community, investment, renewables (Part 1)

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. 

ANU Online Short Course: Climate Essentials

This is members-only content - please log in to view. Alternatively, if you are a Doctor or Medical Student, please join DEA.

Submission into the 2019-2020 Independent Review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act

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

Canberra Times: Fossil fuel projects are not the way out

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.

I've joined DEA - now what can I do?

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.

Media release: Home gas appliances can have lethal consequences, doctors warn

As winter temperatures set in and Victorians reach for the heating dial, doctors have warned that home gas appliances can cause health problems, including carbon monoxide poisoning, for residents. 

Fact sheet: Home gas appliances and your health

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.

Campaigns Committee members : Deadline Extended

This is members-only content - please log in to view. Alternatively, if you are a Doctor or Medical Student, please join DEA.

The Canberra Times: Let us also rise to the climate challenge

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."

Royal Commission into National Disaster Arrangements (Bushfires Royal Commission) April 2020. 

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 is members-only content - please log in to view. Alternatively, if you are a Doctor or Medical Student, please join DEA.

Video launch: Frontline doctors speak out on Covid19 and climate 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.

newsGP: Air pollution associated with COVID-19 deaths

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.

Doctors for the Environment Bequest Program

Will future generations inherit a healthy planet, a planet where all living creatures have an environment in which they can thrive?

DEA doctors innovating and protecting health during the COVID 19 pandemic

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. 

Media release:  Doctors alarmed by the jump in air pollution from power stations call for action   

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. 

Renew Economy: Santos must come clean on methane and accept its responsibilities to human health

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. 

Prof Melissa Haswell question went to the heart of Santos' 2020 AGM. Their response? 

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?

Independent Australia: COVID-19 has reminded us to trust and prioritise science

The coronavirus pandemic should lead us to consider the importance of science and the environment, writes Dr Graeme McLeay. 

Renew Economy: Gas is burning any hope of science-based climate policy for Australia

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. 

Submission_National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Bill 2020

DEA has provided a submission to support the amendments to the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Bill 2020. 

RiotAct: Community support is the way to beat distressing times, says Canberra doctor 

There are clear parallels with society’s response to the summer’s bushfires and the coronavirus outbreak--and as a community, we must work together, says Dr Arnagretta Hunter. 

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