27 November 2015
Doctors extend their sympathies to those affected by the South Australian bushfires, and call for strong action on climate
Doctors for the Environment Australia extends its condolences to the farmers and the communities affected by the devastating bushfires in SA.
Bushfires can have serious physical and mental health impacts on communities and farmers, and the loss and suffering do not stop once bushfires are over.
Unusually high temperatures and extreme dryness as a result of a strong El Nino and climate change are likely to have contributed to this disaster. There is a worrying trend of Australian fire seasons starting earlier and ending later and occurring more frequently.
DEA, a nation- wide professional medical and health advocacy group, has been expressing strong concerns around the health impacts from climate change.
DEA spokesperson Dr Ingo Weber says, “If we don’t act on greenhouse gas emissions with urgency, more extreme weather conditions are likely to cause more loss and suffering. They will also place further stress on our health systems, which may struggle to deal with the consequences of an expected increase in frequency of natural disasters.”
Climate change impacts all of us, but particularly vulnerable members of the Australian community- our farmers, rural populations, indigenous people, children and the elderly.
“From a health point of view it borders on negligence to continue burning and exporting coal, which is a major contributor to a warming planet, when healthier alternatives such as solar, wind and other renewables are available,” says Dr Weber.
DEA calls on the government to make a greater investment in growing resilient communities and better infrastructure. The group also urges the Federal Government to commit strong action on Australia’s emission targets in the lead up to the climate change conference next week, aimed at keeping temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels.
South Australian members of DEA will be walking at the People’s Climate March this Sunday, on the eve of the conference, in solidarity with farmers and communities affected by the fires.