Doctors for the Environment Australia is among a wide-ranging international coalition of medical and healthcare organisations that have signed A Call for Clinicians to Act on Planetary Health, which is published today in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. The call warns of the severe impacts of accelerating global environmental change on our health and the dire need to address the causes. It also seeks to galvanise doctors, nurses and other clinicians to work with their patients on lifestyle modifications that would benefit both planetary health and individual health.
The initiative, led by the Planetary Health Alliance, is signed by 31 health groups around the world. It includes DEA, the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA), the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Canadian Medical association and the World Federation of Public Health Associations.
DEA Honorary Secretary Dr Richard Yin says, “Health practitioners can be powerful agents of change, as evident in successful campaigns such as anti-tobacco, HIV-AIDS and asbestos.
“They also have a major role in communicating to their patients the strategies that individuals can put in place to safeguard their health and that of the environment.
“Humanity has made significant gains in public health. Since 1900, global average life expectancy has more than doubled and child mortality rates have decreased from almost 40% to a little over 4%.
"Yet human-induced environmental changes are jeopardising these hard-won gains which is a pressing concern for doctors.
“As A Call for Clinicians to Act on Planetary Health clearly states, addressing the major challenges to our planet is urgent. We are depleting natural resources, generating massive amounts of waste and toxic pollutants, causing large-scale biodiversity loss, accelerating climate change, and risking the health of our oceans."
A Call for Clinicians to Act on Planetary Health builds on a related declaration last month by the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) which has a network of over 500,000 family doctors. This declaration discussed the health impacts of human-caused environmental change and how to respond.
Earlier this month, DEA declared a climate emergency and called on all candidates in the upcoming federal election to act on climate change.
A Call for Clinicians to Act on Planetary Health comes ahead of Earth Day on Monday 22 April.
DEA Media and Communications Coordinator Carmela Ferraro, 0410 703 074
A Call for Clinicians to Act on Planetary Health
WONCA Declaration Calling for Family Doctors of the World to Act on Planetary Health
DEA Climate Emergency Declaration
DEA Climate Change & Health in Australia