Doctors will on Monday morning deliver Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull his very own Climate Change Survival Health Kit along with an open letter signed by over 350 health professionals to highlight that climate change is hazardous to health and must be tackled with urgency.
The event has been organised by Doctors for the Environment Australia, a non-politically aligned medical advocacy group supported by a Nobel laureate, several recipients of the Australia of the Year award and Deans from many leading medical schools.
Spokesperson Dr Helen Redmond says the Climate Change Survival Health Kit will symbolically bring to life some of the medical issues that impact upon Australians now and into the future if climate change is not tackled effectively.
“In this kit, Mr Turnbull will find a selection of medications many Australians may need for a climate change affected world – including asthma puffers to prepare for more bushfire smoke, allergens and air pollution, rehydration salts for increased risks of gastro and dehydration, mosquito repellent for upsurges in diseases spread by mosquitoes and a lot more,” says Dr Redmond.
The open letter calls on PM Turnbull to listen to health professionals and experts in the field and bring his climate policy in line with science-based recommendations, with much deeper and faster cuts to carbon pollution required to protect health.
“As health professionals, we recognise that climate change is already having significant health impacts,” the letter states.
“Increasing bushfires, heatwaves, drought and extreme weather events are being felt by all humanity, at just over 1 degree Celsius of warming. Heatwaves have killed more Australians than any other extreme weather event and this ‘silent killer’ also puts intense pressure on health services.”
The main recommendations in the letter focus on phasing out coal mining and combustion which is the main driver of global warming and a major cause of air pollution.
“Like the anti-tobacco campaign, there is a lot of resistance to changing business as usual. But we must end our addiction to coal, “ says Dr Redmond. “Our very survival is at stake here.
“We must not allow fossil fuel industry interests and misinformation to squeeze out the health message. The reality is that once the health costs are accounted for, coal is but fools’ gold, overall likely costing our economy rather than contributing to it.”
“On Monday we are delivering the PM an urgent health message. We hope he will listen. Our leaders must heed the science, prioritise health first and foremost, and cut carbon emissions swiftly and deeply. As doctors we understand that fighting climate change means saving lives.”
Monday, 27 June 2016 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM (AEST)
Malcolm Turnbull’s office – 287-289 New South Head Rd, Edgecliff, NSW 2027
Dr Helen Redmond, 0414 229 089
Dr Sujata Allan, 0416 550 242
A group of doctors dressed in smart clinical clothes and stethoscopes.
CLIMATE CHANGE SURVIVAL HEALTH KIT CONTENTS
List of medications
Climate change and health in Australia fact sheet
Investing in health report
Open letter signed by more than 350 health professionals
DEA is an independent health advocacy organisation of medical doctors raising awareness of the link between health and the environment http://dea.org.au
We are supported by a scientific advisory committee:
Professor Stephen Boyden AM; Professor Peter Doherty AC; Professor Dave Griggs; Professor Michael Kidd AM; Professor David de Kretser AC; Professor Stephen Leeder AO; Professor Ian Lowe AO; Professor Robyn McDermott; Professor Lidia Morawska; Professor Peter Newman AO; Professor Emeritus Sir Gustav Nossal AC; Professor Hugh Possingham; Professor Lawrie Powel AC; Professor Fiona Stanley AC; Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM; Dr Norman Swan.