Doctors join ‘National Day of Divestment Action’ Saturday 3 May 2014

Media release: Doctors join ‘National Day of Divestment Action’ Saturday 3 May 2014

Doctors and medical students are calling climate change a ‘public health emergency’ and urging divestment from fossil fuels nationally

Doctors and medical students are joining hundreds of Australians for the ‘National Day of Divestment’ organised by 350.org and Market Forces tomorrow (3 May 2014). Public events are being held at sites across the country today and tomorrow in the push to move money out of banks financing fossil fuel projects in Australia.

In capital cities across Australia tomorrow, doctors and medical students will gather to deliver letters to their banks calling on them to divest from fossil fuels, whilst others will close their accounts to move their money elsewhere.

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) is extremely concerned about the growing health impacts from climate change and is advocating fossil fuel divestment as a health measure.

Grace Davies, national medical student representative for DEA said today, ‘Climate change is a public health emergency and fossil fuels are a major cause. Fossil fuel use and climate change threaten our most fundamental health rights of clean air, water and food security and a tolerable climate.

‘We simply don’t think it is ethical to have our money in investments that drive climate change, any more than we want our money supporting tobacco.

‘One of the most effective ways to honour our duty of care to humanity is to divest from fossil fuels.

‘Until recently, most people have been unaware that since 2008 the big four banks have loaned $19 billion to coal and gas projects in Australia, and that as much as 55 per cent of our superannuation is invested in high carbon sectors globally. By contrast only 2 per cent of our superannuation is invested in renewable energy,’ Ms Davies explains.

‘It is clear that the fossil fuel industry can only be slowed by removing financial support and the social license to operate.

‘That’s why we are taking part in the National Day of Divestment,’ Ms Davies said.

DEA has welcomed an editorial in the British Medical Journal calling on the medical profession to step up its response to climate change and advocate for divestment from fossil fuels.

Dr Helen Redmond from DEA said today, ‘Premier medical journal the Lancet said in 2009 that climate change is the greatest health threat of the twenty first century.

‘The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has reinforced like never before the urgency with which humanity must start drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

‘Even the 0.8 degree Celsius temperature rise we are already experiencing has resulted in significant harm to health from heat related illness, more frequent and severe bushfires, extreme weather events, food and water scarcity, increased infectious and food borne illnesses and coastal inundation.

‘Further warming will see much more severe impacts, especially on the most vulnerable in society.

‘The heat waves and bush fires that swept across Australia last summer remind us that the problems associated with climate change are already affecting our health and well being and that further procrastination will only result in greater health impacts, especially in those who are least able to protect themselves from the changes,’ Dr Redmond said.

‘It is now widely agreed that we must leave 80 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground to give us a chance of staying within 2 degrees of warming. At current rates of extraction we are on track for a 4 degree rise in global temperature this century – a level incompatible with human civilisation as we know it.

‘Due to the long lifespan of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we have only a few years in which to start taking the low carbon remedy, to avert disastrous impacts on the health of current and future generations.

‘As doctors, we have a duty of care to our patients, and we have a duty of care to humanity in this enormous threat to global public health.

‘In supporting this National Day of Divestment, doctors and medical students are advocating for a key remedy: rapidly reducing reliance on fossil fuels,’ she said.

‘The urgency to act cannot be overstated,

‘As the editorial in the BMJ says: “Those who profess to care for the health of people perhaps have the greatest responsibility to act,”’ said Dr Redmond.

 

More information:

DEA Spokesperson Dr Helen Redmond M: 0414 229 089

DEA national medical student representative Grace Davies M: 0433 612 830

National Divestment Day events across Australia: http://www.marketforces.org.au/divestmentday

British Medical Journal editorial (BMJ 2014; 348:g2351): http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g2351

IPCC report: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/index.shtml

Lancet articles: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0905/09051501

 

Media opportunities (by state)

Adelaide

Event: National Divestment Day

Where: Beehive Corner, Western end of Rundle Mall.

When: 9.30am Saturday 3 May 2014

Who: Doctors and medical students wearing white coats and stethoscopes

Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/774628002581755/?notif_t=plan_user_invited 

Media inquiries and interviews

Medical students Ebony Liu M: 0403584578 and Carmen Hayward M: 0439090012

 

Sydney

Event: National Divestment Day

When: 9.30am Saturday 3 May 2014

Where: Meet at Eddy Ave exit of Central Station, 9am, then walk to Paddy’s Market to join the public event

Who: Doctors and medical students wearing white coats and stethoscopes

Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/743254695715001/

Media inquiries and interviews: Dr Helen Redmond M: 0414 229 089

 

Brisbane

Event: National Divestment Day

Where: Queens Park (Corner Elizabeth & George Streets)

When: 9am Saturday 3 May 2014

Who: Doctors and medical students wearing white coats and stethoscopes

Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/279225208911270/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Media inquiries and interviews: Dr David King M: 0424 068 797

 

Perth

Event: National Divestment Day

Where: Forrest Chase, in front of the post office

When: 9.30am Saturday 3 May 2014

Who: Doctors and medical students wearing white coats and stethoscopes

Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/241887159268965/

Media inquiries and interviews: Dr Sallie Forrest M: 0434 049 715

 

Melbourne

Event: National Divestment Day

Where: Corner of Bourke and Swanston Streets, 262 Bourke Street Mall.

When: 9am Saturday 3 May 2014

Who: Doctors and medical students wearing white coats and stethoscopes

Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/626089407474255/

Media inquiries and interviews

Medical students Grace Davies M: 0433 612 830 and Grace Fitzgerald M: 0411470406

 

Burnie, Tasmania

Event: National Divestment Day

Where: Commonwealth Bank, 53 Wilson St Burnie

When: 9.30am Saturday 3 May 2014

Who: Doctors and medical students wearing white coats and stethoscopes

Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/577890868975800/?ref=br_tf.

Media inquiries and interviews

Dr Rohan Church M: 0427 236 237 and Dr Nick Towle P: 03 6430 5931

 

<ends>

JOIN DEA NOW and make a difference! DONATE FACT SHEETS
ACNC Registered Charity

FOLLOW US


DEA IN A HEARTBEAT

Who, What and Why

iDEA18

Watch presentations from our recent conference

Dr Bob Brown Keynote Address

WHAT CAN I DO FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?

(part 1)

(part 2)

DEA INFORMATION LEAFLET

DEA Information Leaflet

DEA INFORMATION BROCHURE

DEA Information Brochure

DEA receives funding from the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation

Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER!