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As health professionals, we have an expected overriding duty of care to do no harm and advocate for action to protect health and humanity. Yet few of us consider the health consequences associated with the significant ecological footprint, including greenhouse gas emissions, of our workplaces.

The irony of healthcare

 

Drs Sharon Muir and Michelle Crockett have built a practice that is not only making a difference to the health and wellbeing of their local community, it's making a difference to the environment too.

How to green your practice

Climate change denial is delusion, and the biggest threat to human survival

Climate denial is dangerous - it's delaying our urgent need for emissions reduction. Climate policy must be guided by scientific expert opinion and removed from political chicanery by the implementation of new environmental laws which have application to health.

Doctor Portal - Children and climate change: no time for games

Paediatrician and DEA member, Dr Karen Kiang and Professor David Isaacs write that without urgently reducing emissions, climate change threatens the the very foundations of children’s health. We are already seeing the health impacts of a warming planet, and Australia is one of the most climate vulnerable countries of the developed world. 

Sydney Morning Herald: Climate change threatens our children's health as well as their future

From Prof. Fiona Stanley and Dr George Crisp an urgent reminder that it’s children who will suffer most if we fail to take effective action to reduce emissions. Children are especially vulnerable to the health impacts of a warming climate. As doctors, we have a role and responsibility to speak out and advocate for their future health and security. 

No Time For Games Summary Report Update (2018)

Climate change is the greatest threat to human health in the current century, with our children living in a world of rising temperatures and increasing extreme weather events. Children are especially vulnerable and face growing threats from communicable diseases (diarrhoea, vector-borne diseases) and non-communicable diseases (asthma, malnutrition), injuries, and mental health impacts because of the changing climate and related extreme weather events.

Bylong Coal Project submission

Dr Kathleen Wild represented DEA at the recent Independent Planning Commission meeting in Mudgee regarding the Bylong Coalmine proposal. It was the last opportunity for the community to try and stop the “green fields”  proposal. There were over 60 presentations flanked by a heavy police presence. Kathleen did an excellent job outlining the importance of keeping coal in the ground to reduce carbon emissions.

Impassioned call for doctors to lead on climate change | Croakey

DEA Chair, Professor Kingsley Faulkner spoke Wednesday 21st November to a conference of Australian and New Zealand emergency doctors, issuing "an impassioned call to arms to ED doctors on the moral and ethical imperative of climate change, an issue with significant implications for their work". He spoke of the wide ranging health effects and the urgency for action on climate change.

The dirty truth: Australia's most polluted post codes 

"A new report by the Australian Conservation Foundation finds 90% of the burden of air pollution falls on low and middle income households, while wealthier Australians experience only a fraction of annual national emissions. Of the five most polluted postal areas, coal-fired power stations are the largest emitters in three, while mining operations create the most in the other two. The most polluted urban areas are often located on the fringes of major population centres, including the Port of Brisbane, Altona in Melbourne, Botany Bay and Port Adelaide".

Why aren't public institutions managing the greatest public health threat of the 21st century?

DEA member Kathleen Wild spoke at the NSW Independent Planning Commission on why the proposed Bylong Valley coal mine should not go ahead. She explains why in an article published in the Newcastle Herald Monday November 19th.

New report on Electricity Policy for Australia

A new report out today by Honorary Associate Professor, NSW, Mark Diesendorf, published by the Australia Institute is a road map to a 100% renewable electricity system, essential if Australia is to play its part in limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Dr Amanda Bethell

Coal ash dam, Port Augusta GP speaks out

DEA SA Committee member, Leanne Nguyen, caught up with Dr Bethell to talk to her about health impacts relating to increased dust storms events in the region after the closure of Port Augusta’s two coal-powered stations and what has motivated her to take-action as a medical professional.

The West Australian: Ban fracking to protect our community's health

Although the Western Australian inquiry into fracking has been concluded, the State Government is yet to release its recommendations on the future of this industry. Former Australian of the Year, Professor Fiona Stanley, and WA DEA Chair Dr Richard Yin write that a public health approach would favour caution until the evidence for the industry's safety is clear.

The Driven: Australian doctors call for better EV policy in wake of WHO air pollution report

Australia has significant pollution levels, and needs to phase out coal and to reform vehicle emissions controls, following the release of a WHO report that highlighted the terrible impacts of air pollution, particularly on children.  DEA's Dr Graeme McLeay told The Driven, that despite the urgency, the ministerial forum on electric vehicles in 2015  has so far lead to “zero action”, and added that something must be done, and soon. 

Fairfax regional: Climate change is bad for schoolkids, too

Over the next few weeks, school and university students will be sitting their end of year exams. Often an anxious occasion, the latest research shows these end of year assessments will likely prove to be challenging for one reason more than most – the heat, writes Dr Beau Frigault.

The Saturday Paper: Climate change claims its first mammal extinction

The Bramble Cay melomys is the first mammal species whose demise can be attributed directly to climate change. Rising global temperatures will have grim outcomes for many living things. DEA's National Chair Professor Kingsley Faulkner, who was interviewed for this article, highlights that human health will be a major cost. 

Protecting Children's Health in a Changing Climate

Climate change is not only the biggest global health threat this century, it has also become the most urgent  health threat. The impacts of climate change at 1°C rise of global warming are already apparent. Weather extremes have resulted in record-breaking fires, floods, storms, heat waves and droughts. Our children are at the greatest risk from climate change-- their bodies and minds are less able to cope with extreme weather and they also stand to lose most in terms of life years lost.   

The Conversation: We have so many ways to pursue a healthy climate – it's insane to wait any longer

"As a broadly trained life scientist, my concern about climate change isn’t the health of the planet. The rocks will be just fine! What worries me is a whole spectrum of “wicked” challenges, from sustaining food production, to providing clean water, to maintaining wildlife diversity and the green environments that ensure the survival of complex life on Earth", writes Nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty.

Australian health professionals' statement on climate change and health in The Lancet

DEA doctors join other Australian health professionals and scientists with a call to our government to act on climate change.  As The Lancet  article states, "The Australian Government's contemptuous dismissal of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including the panel's recommendation to dramatically reduce coal power by 2050, is unacceptable”.

 Seminar: Where to for health, the Environment and sustainability? 

Are you a doctor who is passionate about health, the environment and sustainability, or are keen to know more? Join us in person or by zoom in Brisbane on Saturday 27 October for our one-day seminar at the University of Queensland. REGISTER NOW!

Open Forum: South East Queensland’s green beacon in health care

The innovative design of the public hospital, which features large outdoor rooms and courtyards that run down the middle of the hospital, is expected to vastly improve patient outcomes and enhance the wellbeing of staff,  write DEA medical student members Kaiya Ferguson (2018 National Student Representative) and Edward Stois.

The West Australian (Letters): Offsets on gas vital for climate

If Western Australia were to be opened up to unconventional gas mining, emissions from this source alone would have the potential to exceed by three times Australia's total emissions budget for energy, writes DEA's WA Chair Dr Richard Yin. With the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report highlighting that we are in a climate emergency, it's time the Mark McGowan Government shows leadership on this critical issue. 

DEA urges Wentworth candidates to prioritise  #HealthyPlanetHealthyPeople

Doctors for the Environment Australia calls on all candidates in the Wentworth by-election on Saturday to support increased action on climate change. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report endorsed by the Australian Medical Association, highlights that we are in the midst of a climate emergency and urgent action is required to decarbonize, including the rapid phasing out of coal-fired electricity and an end to our dependence on fossil fuels.

Newcastle Herald: What pollution monitoring in Newcastle suburbs shows

Local residents in Newcastle have for years been complaining about air quality from diesel vehicles and locomotives, domestic wood heating, and coal fired power stations even though these are 30 to 95 kilometres away.  Dr Ben Ewald writes that the expansion of air pollution monitoring in Newcastle, with three new sites established at Mayfield, Carrington and Stockton four years ago, reveals disturbing results. 

Congratulations to Team DEA in the Melbourne Marathon!

Congratulations to our sensational DEA team at this year's Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival! Thank you to each and everyone of our wonderful runners who took their best stride forward past some of Melbourne's most iconic landmarks to raise essential funds for DEA, and for taking the healthy planet, healthy people message to the people of Melbourne.

MJAInsight: Health, environment impacts of fracking not adequately considered

Natural gas (primarily methane) has a reputation for being clean and “good” for the climate because burning gas for cooking, heating and power emits fewer pollutants compared with burning coal-- but it is the process of obtaining the gas that creates major health and environmental concerns, writes Professor Melissa Haswell.

Canberra Times: Probability and severity of global warming must be explored

As concerned citizens in Europe and the US take governments to the courts for their failure to act on climate change,  Dr Graeme McLeay asks whether the Australian government should now stand accused of the same negligence.

Submission to the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy - Improving resource approval efficiency consultation


 All resource development carries potential harms to human health, which is a human right.  Yet, “Improving resource approval efficiency consultation” does not include mention of the word “health”.  In this submission, DEA makes  number of recommendations to improve all aspects of community health for Queenslanders.

ABC Opinion: Climate change leading to 'solastalgia', the feeling you get when your home is wrecked

Climate change can lead to 'solastalgia', writes Dr Richard Yin ahead of Mental Health Week starting Monday 7 October.  While nostalgia relates to pain from leaving one's home, solastagia is the homesickness you have when your home or sense of place is damaged.

DEA prescription for a healthy Victoria

With the Victorian election coming up on November 24th, the DEA Victorian committee has considered what would DEA prescribe for a positive healthy outcome for our environment and population?  The resulting “Prescription for a Healthy Victoria 2018” document is available here with a simple list of asks and recommendations. 

Katherine Times: Medical specialists examine the risks of fracking in the NT

DEA member and public health  researcher, Professor Melissa Haswell, will discuss the evidence linking shale gas mining or fracking to environmental damage, worsening climate change and potential impacts on human health at the  Royal Australasian College of Physicians annual scientific meeting in the NT in October. Also Professor Haswell will urge the NT Government to develop alternatives to fracking that won’t  compromise the health of NT communities.

Media release:  Medical specialists examine the risks of fracking in the NT

The public health risks of unconventional gas mining of natural gas from underground shale deposits (often referred to as ‘fracking’), will be examined by Professor Melissa Haswell, a public health researcher and member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, at the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) Annual Scientific Meeting in the Northern Territory in October.  

Queensland Country Life: Our Future - Heat is on as climate change stokes the fire

Bushfires can have significant physical and psychological impacts on those who experience them, and pollutants from bushfires affect air quality, not only locally, but up to thousands of kilometres away from their source, writes DEA's Queensland Chair Dr Beau Frigault. 

Congratulations to our team in the Sydney Running Festival 2018!

A huge congratulations to our sensational NSW DEA members who participated in the Sydney Running Festival!  Thank you for fundraising for DEA, promoting an active lifestyle and raising awareness of the links between planetary and population health.

ABC Opinion: Human survival cannot be left to politicians. We're losing our life support systems

Why are we stripping the very foundations that sustain us? Biodiversity loss and climate change are together set to transform us to an alien world and our survival can't be left to politicians, writes DEA's Honorary Secretary Dr David Shearman.  

Independent Australia: The Morrison Government- an extraordinary health hazard

Climate change denial is the denial of many public health casualties. For example, the increasing number of injuries and deaths from extreme weather events and the psychological and economic trauma consequent to severe climatic change. New Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who when Treasurer carried coal into Parliament, has appointed avid anti-wind farm campaigner, Angus Taylor, as Energy Minister and ex-coal-company lawyer, Melissa Price, as Environment Minister. There has been no mention of climate change in either portfolio. Read more -->

NSW Hunter Valley coal mine pollution: doctors call on Ministers to visit and clear the air

Thirty NSW Hunter Valley doctors, including members of DEA,  are among 100 people who  have signed a joint letter to the NSW Ministers for Health and the Environment, asking them to visit the region and experience for themselves the poor air quality caused by the coal mining industry which is putting the community at risk.  Read more—>

Photo of a Regent Honeyeater, Hunter Valley, by Doug Beckers

Submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications - Australia’s faunal extinction crisis

Doctors for the Environment Australia is pleased to comment on this Enquiry for the extinction crisis reflects the rapid decline in biodiversity and ecological services, nationally and internationally, with grave implications for many aspects of human health and survival.

There are currently nearly 500 threatened faunal species and our current environment laws, especially the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC), are woefully inadequate.

A lack of biodiversity in faunal species impacts human health by threatening our food and water sources, current and potential medicines and crucial cultural and psychological wellsprings.

Download DEA's submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications - Australia’s faunal extinction crisis.

RN Late Night Live with Phillip Adams: Killing me softly with diesel

In Australia, air pollution kills more people than the annual road toll, yet, we are buying more and more diesel cars. In many European cities, diesel is banned, so why is Australia with its highly urbanised population so slow to act, especially given the potentially dire health implications?  Dr Graeme McLeay is a guest on Phillip Adams' show, Late Night Live. Read more-->

DEA step-by-step guide: Meet your MP

Do you want to meet with your local MP to advocate for a better world, but find political engagement to be a daunting prospect? We are proud to present this well-crafted and informative video on successfully meeting your local representative. Produced by DEA's medical student members, the step- by- step guide is a terrific resource for everyone, not only students! 

Newcastle Herald: Climate change will make droughts more frequent, making David Littleproud's comments even more extraordinary

Agriculture is on the frontline of a climate emergency. Farmers’ livelihoods depend on their capacity to survive changes such as drought; and everyone’s survival depends on their ability to continue growing our food. So why does Australia not have a plan to cope with climate change events? asks DEA's NSW Chair Dr John Van Der Kallen. Read more-->

ABC Opinion: Climate change is World War III, and we are leaderless

Along with the rest of the Western world, Australia now more than ever is bereft of leadership on crucial action to curb global warming, writes DEA’s Honorary Secretary Dr David Shearman. However in order to save lives, the need for change must be accepted by the corporate empires that pollute and exploit the natural environment, and by our political class starting with our new PM Scott Morrison. Read more—>

Newcastle Herald: New study finds that fine particle pollution from mining and power stations is shaving months from average life expectancy

Poor air quality is shortening the average life expectancy, a new international study published this week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters has found. It calculated an Australian with a life expectancy of 82.4 years in 2016 would lose 0.178 years from their life as a result of air pollution. Doctors for the Environment Australia has a long history of advocating for national reporting standards to protect health. Read more-->

Narrabri Coal Seam Gas and Public Health Conference

On 15-16th August 2018 DEA members from NSW (Dr John Van Der Kallen and Dr Helen Redmond) and Qld (Dr Geralyn McCarron and Professor Melissa Haswell) travelled to the north-west inland town of Narrabri to attend and speak at a Coal Seam Gas and Public Health Conference organised and chaired by North West Protection Advocacy. Narrabri Shire is the site of the Narrabri Gas Project of Santos, an 850 well coal seam gas field in the final stages of approval. Helen, Geralyn and Melissa all spoke at the conference, together with Shay Dougall and Dr Methuen Morgan. The audience included local townsfolk, farmers from surrounding regions and members of the Kamilaroi people. 

Photo by Michael Amadeus

Submission to the Review of the National Pollution Inventory (NPI)

In Australia, it is estimated that urban air pollution contributes to approximately 3,000 deaths annually – more than double the deaths of the national road toll. As part of its advocacy for cleaner air,  DEA has made a number of recommendations in a submission to a review of the National Pollution Inventory (NPI). Read more -->

2ser-FM: Spotlight on Doctors for the Environment Australia

2ser-FM's  Jess Klajman spoke with Dr Sujata Allan about Doctors for the Environment Australia. Central to the discussion was that DEA's core work is to highlight the clear link between healthy families and communities and a healthy environment. Read more -->

Newcastle Herald: Doctors say fireworks emissions should be included in national pollution review

Doctors for the Environment Australia has told a Federal 20-year review of the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI), which is considering submissions for a report to Australia’s environment ministers, that fireworks should be included for the first time. Read more -->

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