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.
DEA, a national medical group that protects health through care of the environment, is supported by a Nobel laureate, recipients of the Australia of the Year award and other health experts.
DEA Honorary Secretary Dr Richard Yin says, “Scientists are predicting 4 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial times before the end of the century if we continue with business as usual.
"This would mean today’s young people and certainly their children would face sea level rises and the destruction of coastal cities, mass migration, food insecurity, unprecedented “natural” disasters such as heat waves, bushfires, increased numbers of high-intensity tropical cyclones, water scarcity in some regions, and irreversible biodiversity loss.
“We are already seeing the deadly impacts of climate change. The last four years were the four hottest since records began, large parts of Australia are experiencing record drought, earlier and more intense bushfires, worsening air pollution, and damage to the Great Barrier Reef and forests as well as other natural places.
“As doctors who are on the front-line of care, we can see the impacts of climate change are having very real consequences on people’s lives; there is also the flow on effect on demand for our emergency services.
“It’s inspiring to see today’s generation of young people taking control of their future in the face of persistent, unconscionable government inaction.
“Climate change has been declared a health emergency by major national and international health organisations, including the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association and most recently our own Australian Medical Association and DEA.
“If our politicians fail to listen to the science, they are undermining the future environmental conditions that support the health and wellbeing of today’s young people.”
Today's Global Climate Strike is part of a global movement to address climate change and was originally inspired by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg who will lead the protest in New York City. The march comes ahead of an important UN Climate Action Summit meeting on 23 September.
Carmela Ferraro, Media and Communications Coordinator, 0410 703 074
DEA is an independent organisation of medical doctors protecting health through care of the environment http://dea.org.au
We are supported by a Scientific Advisory Committee of distinguished health experts: Prof Stephen Boyden AM, Prof Emeritus Chris Burrell AO, Prof Colin Butler, Prof Peter Doherty AC, Prof Michael Kidd AM, Prof David de Kretser AC, Prof Stephen Leeder AO, Prof Ian Lowe AO, Prof Robyn McDermott, Prof Lidia Morawska, Prof Peter Newman AO, Prof Emeritus Sir Gustav Nossal AC, Prof Hugh Possingham, Prof Lawrie Powell AC, Prof Fiona Stanley AC, Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, Dr Norman Swan