2 November 2015
Leading doctors, including former Australian of the Year, Professor Fiona Stanley, are calling for Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley to attend the climate change meeting in Paris this December to ensure health- especially the health of children- takes centre stage during the crucial negotiations.
In an open letter asking parents, grandparents and other concerned adults to support their request, Doctors for the Environment Australia, highlights the ways in which climate change is affecting children here and now.
“Higher temperatures…have been linked to increases in premature births and hospital attendances for infectious diarrhoea, fever, asthma, dehydration and heat exhaustion,” the letter says.
“If we do nothing, our children will more likely suffer from infectious diseases, the effects of air pollution and respiratory allergies, and in the longer term, compromised food quality, water scarcity, economic and social disruption and the effects of population displacement. Beyond two degrees of warming, health impacts threaten to become increasingly unmanageable.”
Professor Kingsley Faulkner, AM, Chair of DEA and former president of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, says “Australia must prove to the world that it can protect the health of its own citizens in Paris, especially its children- if it fails to do so, it will remain a laggard rather than a leader on climate change.”
Says DEA’s Dr Sallie Forrest who earlier this year co-produced a report, No Time for games: Children’s Health and Climate Change, “We are talking a health emergency- but with only weeks to go till COP21, the Government has failed to act on our and other expert advice.”
Dr Forrest says children are the most affected by climate change and have the least capacity to do anything about it.
“Further damage to our climate is preventable- but we have to act now, ” says Dr Forrest.
Professor Fiona Stanley may be available on request. Please call media officer Carmela Ferraro, 0410 703 074
Professor Kingsley Faulkner (based in Perth), 0419 936 677
Dr Sallie Forrest (based in Perth), 0434 049 715
View the open letter HERE
DEA is a national volunteer organisation of medical doctors that raises awareness of the link between health and the environment.
We are supported by an eminent scientific committee of health experts and scientists, including a nobel laureate and two Australian of the Year recipients:
Professor Stephen Boyden AM; Professor Peter Doherty AC, FRS, FAA; Professor Bob Douglas AO; Professor Dave Griggs; Professor Michael Kidd AM; Professor David de Kretser AC; Professor Steve Leeder AO; Professor Ian Lowe AO; Professor Robyn McDermott; Professor Peter Newman; Sir Gustav Nossal, AC, CBE, FAA, FRS; Professor Hugh Possingham; Professor Lawrie Powell AC; Professor Fiona Stanley AC; Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM; Norman Swan.