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Shadow Minister for Health Chris Bowen in the SMH: The warming planet is already killing people, so health policy must catch up

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. 

Newcastle Herald: Michael Schien writes, the real threat to national security is the way our system makes rational planning virtually impossible

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.

New Daily: Burning anxiety--The new normal isn’t just the fire, it’s the fear

Speaking to The New Daily, psychiatrist Dr Robert Llewellyn-Jones and Honorary Secretary Dr Richard Yin highlight that climate change impacts such as Australia's unprecedented fires not only have direct physical impacts- they also affect our mental health. 

Support the bushfire recovery effort

The prolonged drought and subsequent catastrophic bushfires continue to unfold and demand immediate attention. Many DEA members have been directly affected, and have provided medical and other practical advice and assistance. DEA encourages its members to also donate to one of the many reputable charities that are well set up to assist people who have been affected and to those helping animals that are suffering. 

AusDoc: As Australia burns, where is our plan?

As the fires continue to burn across eastern Australia, DEA's Honorary Secretary Dr Richard Yin and DEA member Dr George Crisp, write the full scale of the health impacts and the capacity of health services to adequately respond is emerging--doctors on the frontline who are working in evacuation centres report they are dealing with up to 1000 evacuees, with very little equipment or support. Scientists have long predicted the compounding effects of climate change, yet plans for adaptation and mitigation have been inadequate . It is time we accept the science and the challenge before us and take urgent action on the climate crisis.

Hot and bothered: heat affects all of us, but older people face the highest health risks

Australia’s climate is changing, writes DEA's ACT Chair Dr Arnagretta Hunter in The Conversation, and we’re likely to experience longer periods of hot temperatures, with hotter summers and some extraordinarily high temperatures. This will test our health, especially those of older members in the community,  and our health-care systems. Understanding the challenge ahead can help to reduce the risks.

A New Year's Message from DEA’s Co-chairs 

The dawn of the New Year and new decade in a very favoured country ought to be greeted with positive anticipation and firm new resolutions. Yet our thoughts are with all Australians that are suffering so much loss and distress across the nation. Much of our country is in a prolonged drought and on fire and the world is in great environmental and geo-political peril. Governments at home and abroad have not heeded the most authoritative scientific evidence and advice available. Many influential politicians and media commentators remain climate change sceptics. It gives no pleasure to observe that what DEA and so many other scientific bodies and organisations have been predicting and working hard over decades to minimise is becoming a reality. 

Letter to Siemens Australia and New Zealand: Stop Adani

Dear Mr Connolly, I write as the Secretary for Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) in regards to Siemens’ involvement in Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and rail project. 

New fact sheet: Heatwaves and Health in Australia

Heatwaves have been called ‘silent’ killers and, without reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, they are predicted to become more frequent, more intense and longer. DEA's new comprehensive fact sheet uses the most up- to- date authoritative resources to detail the impacts of heatwaves on our health, what we can do to reduce their occurrence, where health professionals and the public can find more information, and much more.  

Libération: Australie "La fumée s'est infiltrée partout, dans les maisons, les bureaux et même à l'hôpital"

French daily newspaper, Libération, interviewed DEA's co-chair Dr Eugenie Kayak about the health impacts of the hazardous smoke pollution in Sydney from the NSW bushfires, which have for weeks ravaged the east coast of Australia. Exposure to smoke pollution is known to increase the incidence of lung and heart diseases. Dr Kayak said that while official health impact figures will not be known until the end of the bushfire season, it's expected that the figures will be alarming. 

RACGP declares climate change a public health emergency

DEA congratulates the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) in declaring climate change a health emergency. The RACGP has joined other major medical colleges and organisations in raising the alarm over the current and growing impact of climate change.  

ABC's World Today: Heatwave to hit record temperatures across Australia

As Australians this week brace for a nationwide heatwave which could see temperatures approach 50 degrees in some areas, Dr Arnagretta Hunter says that while people have lived with such high temperatures, worsening climate change could test our biological limits over the coming years. 

Media release: Major health groups declare bushfire smoke a public health emergency

Doctors for the Environment Australia is today joining a coalition of Australia’s major health and medical groups in declaring hazardous air pollution from bushfire smoke in  Sydney and other areas in NSW a public health emergency. The groups are also linking the fires to climate change.    

SMH: 'Horrified' doctors call for direct action on bushfire health threat

Doctors for the Environment Australia is horrified by the reaction of the Morrison government to the unprecedented public health threat from the hazardous air pollution in Sydney and surrounds which has been triggered by the bushfires, reports the SMH. DEA is calling for the Morrison government to transition Australia from its reliance on fossil fuels- a main driver of the climate emergency that is increasing and intensifying these fires.

Doctors: Bushfires in NSW pose a major public health threat and the Government needs to act   

Doctors for the Environment Australia calls for a federally coordinated national meeting to direct action in response to the unprecedented public health threat from months of bushfire smoke in eastern Australia. DEA fears exposure will potentially affect the health and wellbeing of up to ten million people in both the short and longer term. 

Medical Republic: Australia’s doctors raise their voices on climate change

With the early start to our bushfire season, widespread fires burning across the country with tragic loss of life and property, and a number of areas breaking November heat records, three medical colleges, the RACP,  ACEM and ACRRM representing tens of thousands of doctors recently declared climate change a health emergency, writes DEA's Hon Secretary Dr Richard Yin. They join the AMA and DEA which this year also declared a climate health emergency. The clear message to our leaders is that the time to act on the climate crisis is now.

Response to Alexander Downer: how much are we prepared to pay for our children’s future?

Alexander Downer, a former leader of the Liberal Party , Minister for Foreign Affairs and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, wrote in the Australian Financial Review  last Monday (18 Nov)  that climate leadership would be expensive “virtue signalling”, that climate change has become a highly “emotional issue”, and rational discussion has been abandoned. He describes climate change as the Rubik’s cube of politics and asks us to join with him in “connecting the squares” to understand what is going on. Dr Graeme McLeay writes: Let us look then, rationally of course, at some of the claims he makes.

Medical colleges declare a climate emergency

DEA congratulates the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP), the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) who today declared climate change a health emergency. 

Shadow Minister for Health: climate change must be a National Health Priority Area

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) welcomes the statements made by Shadow Minister for Health Chris Bowen that Australia needs to develop policies and structures to prepare for the health impacts of climate change. As Mr Bowen states in a Guardian article, "...despite the fact we  [Australia] are more exposed than most, and our medical community is increasingly vocal on the issue, from Doctors for the Environment, to the Australian Medical Association, which recently declared climate change to be a health emergency”, we have no national strategy. 

DEA welcomes Denise Cauchi OAM as Executive Director

We are thrilled to announce that Denise Cauchi OAM has commenced this week as Executive Director for DEA.

MJA-Lancet report prompts doctors to call for urgent action on climate change   

Doctors demand that the federal government takes immediate action to protect Australians from the unprecedented risks to their health from climate change, in response to a major new report published today. 

Media release: Doctors call on regulator to reject banned toxic chemical in the Great Australian Bight

Doctors for the Environment  Australia  calls on the national offshore oil and gas regulator to reject Equinor's plan to use a banned toxic chemical dispersant for an oil spill  in the Great Australian Bight, as it would place response workers and local communities at risk of serious illness.  

Medical Forum bumper issue on doctors as climate change champions

From letters to the editor to feature articles about doctors stepping out to join the School Strike for Climate,  this month's edition of Medical Forum shows DEA's WA members are a force to be reckoned with in the fight against climate change. 

Independent Australia: Australia’s energy policies are doctors’ business

It is extraordinary that Energy Minister Angus Taylor continues to cling to a fossil fuel past at a time when Australia’s emissions are still rising and the urgency required for global action on climate change mounts, writes Dr Graeme McLeay. What we really need is the Energy Minister and his government to see the tremendous opportunities in sun, wind and wave and to steer our country towards a clean energy future that doesn’t cost our health, our planet or our pockets. 

Media release: Doctors alarmed by the destruction of takayna/ Tarkine call for a stop to logging 

Tasmanian doctors have today called for an urgent halt to destructive logging of the Sumac forests of the takayna/Tarkine, as conservationists step up protests against proposed logging in the area.  Medical group Doctors for the Environment Australia says that damage to the takayna/Tarkine is not only an environmental issue but one which affects the health and wellbeing of all Tasmanians. 

Croakey: Formulating a medical response to a deadly disease of disordered thinking

We have systems to weigh up the risks and benefits of extracting, transporting, exporting and using coal, gas and oil but  who should be at the table when those risks are discussed? Dr David Shearman argues that Australia’s formal decision making in this area is impaired by a sickness afflicting our systems of governance. 

Letter to the Editor: Media must let the truth prevail

Is there no end to the contention by climate change sceptics, who report in The Australian, that action is useless and that adaptation will see us through? asks Dr John Iser in his Letter to the Editor which as far as we know has not been published. As he states, the media’s role is to shed light on truth, not to obfuscate it; to challenge power, not be beholden to it.

The Armidale Express: Armidale GP Dr Sujata Allan explains why climate change is the century's greatest health challenge

Dr Sujata Allan says that in her practice, she has already seen the toll a warming planet has taken on her patients.  She states there is widespread concern about global heating among the medical profession, medical colleges, the AMA and other groups, and urges a co-ordinated national strategy to prepare our towns, communities, and health practices for climate change impacts.

DEA marks World Food Day

Public Health Nutritionist, Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, says there should be enough food for everyone on World Food Day.  Yet hunger is a real problem throughout many parts of the world, with over 820 million people going hungry every day, impairing the growth and development of millions of children. We need to pause and consider how we use the earth's finite resources to produce food for all. 

Origin Energy AGM: Doctors warn that fracking is a public health hazard   

Medical group Doctors for the Environment Australia will attend Origin Energy’s AGM on Wednesday to raise the alarm about the risks of NT fracking on public health. Spokesperson for DEA, Dr Helen Redmond, says the evidence against fracking is clear and there should be no further development of onshore gas in Australia.   

The Canberra Times: Populate and perish; the fleeting hope of a population policy

The Launch of the new Centre for Population raised a flicker of hope of a remit to develop a population policy for Australia - but the hope was fleeting, writes Dr David Shearman. The proposal makes no mention of the constraints of climate change, water scarcity or the concept of sustainability, which are crucial to the long term maintenance of our present population and indeed the projected increase of between 37 and 49 million people by 2066. 

Newcastle Herald: Emotional toll of mining brought to surface

The effects of coal mining are not only physical, they're also emotional, writes Dr Bob Vickers. In the Hunter Valley, thermal coal mining is creating an adversarial culture in coal communities as both those against and for continued mining advocate for a future that they believe will best look after themselves and their families. 

VicDoc: Health experts call for stronger national air pollution standards

Health experts unite to call on our environment ministers to limit dangerous pollutants that include nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone to improve air quality, writes Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM. Air pollution is currently causing more than 3000 premature and preventable deaths per year in Australia, as well as contributing to asthma, heart disease, lung disease and cancer. The call to clean up our air and bring it in line with international best practice comes as state and federal environment ministers prepare to review the National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM).

Why would I want to run a marathon?

Medical student Ross Robertson will be running his first ever marathon at the Melbourne Marathon Festival on 13 October! He is putting himself through the hard yards (a gruelling  42.195 km) to raise awareness and funds to support DEA's vital work.  Please support his extraordinary endeavour with a tax deductible donation.

Food For Healthy People, Healthy Planet: Fact Sheet

Our new fact sheet highlights that the foundation of good health is a healthy diet, and  that climate change, biodiversity loss, water pollution and soil loss are major and imminent threats to human and planetary health. Changing the type of foods that we eat, and the way that foods are produced, distributed, and marketed, is one of the most effective actions we can take to improve the health of individuals, and stave off environmental disaster. 

DEA welcomes guest speaker Lizzie O'Shea to this year's AGM social function on 11 October in Melbourne

DEA welcomes members to its Annual General Meeting at 6pm on 11 October in Melbourne. The AGM will be followed by a social function featuring a special presentation by human rights lawyer, media commentator and author Lizzie O’Shea. This special social event is open to all.

Media release: Proposed Midlands coal mine is a health risk, warn Tasmania’s doctors    

Doctors for the Environment Australia has slammed a proposed coal mine in Tasmania's Midlands on health grounds, warning it could contaminate the clean soil, air and water of surrounding areas and lead to more climate change whose harmful impacts the island state is already seeing. 

Independent Australia: Morrison's condescending response to kids and climate

Climate change is difficult to ignore when medical authorities declare a climate health emergency, defence experts are concerned, insurance and business are sounding the alarm bells and children and their supporters are taking to the streets in historic numbers to call for urgent action, writes Dr Graeme McLeay. Yet, when Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the UN last week, he said everyone had it wrong about Australia. The question is: when will our PM "get" the science and the need to act?

iDEA Conference 2020

iDEA 2020, the annual national conference for Doctors for the Environment Australia, is the leading Australian conference on Climate Change and Health and is being presented in partnership with the Climate Institute, ANU.  This year we welcome our friends and colleagues from around Australia to a cross-disciplinary meeting focusing on climate change as an increasing health crisis. 

Croakey: On an historic day for the #SchoolStrike, climate justice must be central

Dr Ingo Weber, the lead organiser of DEA's campaign No Time For Games, explains why doctors joined the global climate strike on 20 September which saw more than 300,000 Australians and millions of people around the world take to the streets in support of young people and their call for action on climate. 

Global Climate Strike: Doctors stand 4 future

Doctors will today take to the streets in cities and towns across Australia in support of the anticipated thousands of Australian school students who will miss classes to call for urgent policies to contain climate change, which threatens their future existence if left unchecked. Medical group Doctors for the Environment Australia says climate change is the biggest risk to public health in human history and young people, who are especially vulnerable given their developing bodies and longer life years, have good reason to speak out. 

No Time For Games concludes in Canberra- with a motion in Parliament!

DEA's No Time For Games campaign, which has placed children's health in a changing climate on the national agenda, concluded today at Parliament House in Canberra.  A DEA contingency delivered thousands of pledges as well as endorsements from major medical colleges to the Health Minister Greg Hunt, even though he was unavailable to meet us. The campaign culminated in a parliamentary motion in the House by  Zali Steggall OAM MP and was seconded by Helen Haines MP. The motion recognised that human-induced climate change is one of the biggest and most urgent health threats to children, and calls on the government to decarbonise by 2050 to reduce the intensity and occurrence of extreme weather events. Read the full motion in the Hansard. 

Health professionals call for Greg Hunt to protect children’s health in a changing climate, as Zali Steggall moves a motion in the House

Doctors will today gather at Parliament House, Canberra, to deliver Greg Hunt thousands of pledges from major medical colleges and health professionals demanding urgent action on climate change for the sake of our children. Inside Parliament, Zali Steggall OAM MP will move a motion that supports No Time For Games, a national children's campaign by DEA. The motion, seconded by Helen Haines MP, recognises that human-induced climate change is one of the biggest and most urgent health threats to children, and urges the government to decarbonise by 2050 to reduce the intensity and occurrence of extreme weather events. 

Media Alert:  DEA to deliver pledges to protect children from climate change to Health Minister Greg Hunt, Canberra 

On Monday 16 September, DEA will deliver thousands of pledges calling for immediate bipartisan action on climate change which impacts on children most to the Minister for Health Greg Hunt MP, despite his unavailability to meet them . Speakers at the event outside Parliament House will include Senior Australian of the Year 2019 and Paediatrician Dr Sue Packer OA, Mark Butler MP, Zali Steggall MP and Andrew Wilkie MP. The pledges have been endorsed by The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP) the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), and more than 2000 health professionals, including Professor Fiona Stanley AC. 

Kidneys and extreme heat: a climate consequence

The medical community is now realising that the health effects of climate change are more far reaching than we ever thought- climate change is not just an unprecedented public health threat, but also a threat to multiple organs in our bodies, writes DEA's Vic Chair Katherine Barraclough who is also a nephrologist.

DEA welcomes AMA’s emergency health declaration on climate change as a major step forward  

Doctors for the Environment Australia has today applauded the AMA’s declaration that climate change is a health emergency, describing it as a major milestone that firmly acknowledges the toll that rising global temperatures is having on health as well as the urgency in addressing the climate crisis. In its statement, the AMA says it has joined other health organisations around the world – including the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association, and Doctors for the Environment Australia-in making the declaration.

Opinion: The right side of history? Labor's noble climate talk lost in coal smoke

Labor is all over the shop on climate change. This week its national president, Wayne Swan, is preaching that the party must stay on "the right side of history" and stick to ambitious carbon targets. He speaks out even as Labor's Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, expresses pride in coal exports. 

Sydney Morning Herald: The right side of history? Labor's noble climate talk lost in coal smoke

Labor is all over the shop on climate change, writes Dr David Shearman. Labor's national president, Wayne Swan, is preaching that the party must stay on "the right side of history" and stick to ambitious carbon targets. This is even as Senator Penny Wong stated in response to pleas from Pacific Island nations that an ALP federal government would not ban new coal mines, and as Labor's Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expressed pride in coal exports.  Talking down the impact of Australia's coal in effect puts Labor in support of a government policy that invites climate catastrophe. 

Media release: Health experts slam decision allowing Origin to frack NT

Doctors are alarmed that the Northern Territory Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Eva Lawler has given approval to gas giant Origin Energy to commence fracking in the NT to mine shale gas. The decision flies in the face of clear evidence that gas mining brings unacceptable health risks. 

Muswellbrook Chronicle: Singleton Dr Bob Vickers, and member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, weighs in on recent Dartbrook coal mine decision 

THE NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) recently decided on the Dartbrook underground coal mine, writes Dr Bob Vickers.  In its decision, they approved the mine to continue operations until 2022, but did not support a five-year extension recommended by the NSW Department of Planning. In the words of the IPC, this project "would not be in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development or inter-generational equity; and, as such, is not in the public interest".

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