Media release: Doctors call for urgent review of a spike in Upper Hunter hospital admissions

Doctors are today calling on NSW Health to undertake as a matter of urgency a proper health study looking at the reasons for the dramatic spike in hospital admissions in the Upper Hunter. 

Singleton Hospital emergency admissions jump as air quality falls in the Upper Hunter

Shocking data recently highlighted by DEA show Singleton Hospital admissions in NSW’s Upper Hunter spiked by 28.6 per cent during periods which coincided with poor air quality in the area.

The Mercury: Talking point — Heat on health to cut costs and boost wellbeing

Most Tasmanians are aware extreme weather events of recent years were made more severe by the changing
climate, and are likely to become more common and more intense over the next few decades.

Media Release: Doctors applaud decision to reject New Acland Coal mine extension

Doctors for the Environment Australia has today welcomed the Queensland Government’s decision to reject the environmental approvals for the expansion of the New Acland Coal mine, describing it as the only sensible decision open to the government given the potential risks posed by the project.

Our future - Meating the challenge one plate at a time

Australians are among the biggest meat eaters in the world. We consume a staggering 90kg per person each year, or around 250g per day. Reducing the amount of meat we eat is a vital part of looking after our health. 

The Conversation: Health check-how can extreme heat lead to death?

Our climate is becoming hotter. This is our reality. Extreme heat is already responsible for hundreds of deaths every year. It’s a big environmental killer, and deaths from heatwaves in Australian cities are expected to double in the next 40 years.

Vicdoc: Protecting Victoria's forests is good for our health

Victoria’s forests are simply extraordinary. They support our health in a variety of ways and there is currently a community call for a new Great Forest National Park in our Central Highlands. Despite this, state government owned Vicforests continues industrial clear fell logging. In addition to the push from environmentalists and scientists there is a strong argument for the protection of our remaining forests on health grounds.

DEA's new Executive Officer: Planetary health; how can doctors engage? 

The Rockefeller Lancet Commission on Planetary Health- Safeguarding Human Health in the Anthropocene Epoch describes planetary health as the health of human civilisation and the natural systems on which it depends. 

Coal is Worthless; a commentary on William Nordhaus and “The Commons”

When I received the January newsletter from an alma mater, Yale University, there was a tribute to economist William Nordhaus. He was already waxing on the issues of the day when I was doing postgraduate study and working in the Yale University Medical Centre in 1965.
Nordhaus is central to DEA interests and aims and indeed to all our lives and the future, they are the issues of coal and the Commons. Nordhaus’s work is about the economics of the Commons.

Unconventional gas, health, economics and incompetent regulation - an everyperson’s guide to what’s going on.

We know from the work of William Nordhaus that coal has no economic value to communities if all social, health and environment, and climate related impacts are taken into account. Coal remains viable only in the minds of climate deniers, some governments, and fossil fuel barons who continue to profit despite its harms.

Croakey: Queensland authorities urged to to act on health concerns about coal seam gas emissions

A study in the International Journal of Environmental Studies by DEA’s Dr Geralyn McCarron, showing a possible link between pollutants from the CSG industry and a spike in hospitalisations in the Darling Downs raises questions about safety, but also about how the industry responds to public health concerns. 

In response to the paper, the peak national gas industry body the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) attacked the author and made sweeping and incorrect statements about the study, rather than expressing concern about the findings.

In this Croakey blog, Dr McCarron responds to the attacks and calls on health authorities to take responsibility for further investigation of the health impacts of the CSG industry on local residents.

iDEA18 Conference 2018

iDEA is the annual national conference of Doctors for the Environment Australia. Bringing together medical professionals and students from across Australia and beyond, iDEA unites people with one common goal – to address the human health impacts of the environment and climate change.

Doctors say national air quality standards are failing to protect health

National air quality reporting standards are failing to protect people's health argue DEA members, John Van der Kallen and Ben Ewald, after windy weather whipped up dust from local coal mines in the Hunter Valley last weekend resulting in air pollution for residents that breached regulations. Yet there are no significant consequences for the mining companies for violation of standards.

Newcastle Herald Opinion | Climate change the true culprit

It’s common knowledge that the amount of sand on beaches changes over time. In heavy seas, sand is eroded from beaches. In calmer periods, sand is deposited. However, we are entering a new world and can no longer be reassured by the past processes where sand on beaches is replenished.

Happy 10th birthday SA DEA!

As a long-standing DEA SA committee member and former chair about to go on a one-year break, I’d like to reflect on the SA DEA’s extraordinary success since its formation in 2007/8.

A win for health and the environment in Pt Augusta

After a successful eight -year community led campaign, the SA government recently announced that the world’s largest stand-alone concentrated solar thermal (CST) power plant will begin construction in Port Augusta. This will transform a city which was powered by ageing coal fired power stations into a city with a bright future as a renewable energy hub in the 21st century. What’s more, doctors and medical students were a major driving force behind this decision, writes Dr Ingo Weber with AMA vice-president Dr Chris Moy.

Doctors alarmed, but not surprised, at data estimating the significant carbon footprint of our health care system

Doctors are alarmed, but not surprised, at data estimating the significant carbon footprint of our health care system - over 7% of Australia’s total carbon footprint.

Medical Observer: How doctors can use money as a force for good health

There are arguably three dimensions of medical ethics. The first is the health of the patient. The second dimension is the health of the community. And the third dimension concerns how our actions both in and out of the clinic affect the global community and natural world around us on which the health of current and future generations depends. 

The Courier Comment: Bushfire smoke silent, deadly danger to our health

While most Australians look forward to summer holidays, those in bushfire-prone areas must prepare for fires. Personal safety is a priority, along with protecting property. 

Coal News and DEA Action in December

  • Rocky Hill coalmine rejection
  • Victory celebrations in the Gloucester Valley
  • Proposed Styx Coal Mine in Central Queensland

Sydney Launch of the Planetary Health Platform

Croakey article: Marking “a milestone in the history of planetary health”

Editor: Melissa Sweet Author: Marion Carey

Online Opinion: How the Turnbull government stole Christmas

The Turnbull Government may have hoped releasing Australia’s latest greenhouse gas emissions together with the 2017 Climate Report would pass unnoticed, given the sneaky way it announced them just days before Christmas.

Croakey; Land clearing: a health threat requiring action and leadership – in the NT, and elsewhere

The diversity and complexity of the health issues that we face, whether as journalists or public health advocates or policymakers, can be overwhelming. In dealing with a constant avalanche of health-related news, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture.

Park Watch: Nature’s Medicine

The Victorian Government released a strategy for protecting Victoria’s biodiversity in April 2017. This article is the third in a series in Park Watch (see the June and September 2017 editions) that addresses the strategy and why it matters.

Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037 is the first formal statewide long-term biodiversity plan in two decades, and it contains a range of priorities and initiatives. Chapter Four, ‘A healthy environment for healthy Victorians’ explores why spending time connecting with nature is good for our health as individuals and as a society.

he Victorian Government’s Victorian Memorandum for Health and Nature is also a significant step in recognising that looking after nature also means looking after the health of people and their communities.

Media release: Doctors welcome Rocky Hill mine decision

Doctors for the Environment Australia has today applauded the rejection of the Rocky Hill open cut coalmine proposal near Gloucester.

On Line Opinion: We must avoid the final cut

My guess is most Australians aren’t aware that an area of forest and bushland the size of the MCG is currently bulldozed in Queensland every three minutes, mainly for livestock grazing. Data released this year reveals that over 1 million hectares have been cleared over the last three years, making Eastern Australia a global deforestation hot-spot alongside places like the Amazon, the Congo and Borneo. Inexcusably, we are the only advanced economy still engaged in broad-scale land clearing.

OpenForum: Australia comes bottom of the class on climate action.

Last week, Germanwatch and Climate Action Network (Europe) announced the results of their annual survey of countries’ climate change action throughout the world.

Croakey: As #QldVotes, where is the conversation around this health emergency?

On election day tomorrow, many people in Queensland will vote for political parties that support the opening of new coal-fired power plants (the LNP and One Nation).

Media release: COAG- Modelling confirms NEG will fail the health of Australians

The Coalition’s National Energy Guarantee plan could see an extra 15,000 premature deaths over the next ten years, doctors warn ahead of the COAG meeting on energy in Hobart on Friday.

Croakey: Wrapping the news on climate and health from #COP23 – plus how Australia was judged

Who is the best at being the worst? Who does the most to do the least? And who is working really hard to wreck our climate?

These were some questions on the minds of judges of the “Fossil of the Day” awards at the recent COP23 talks in Bonn.

Dr Alice McGushin, a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, was there to collect on behalf of Australia. It was a “bittersweet moment”, she writes below in her final report from the climate talks (read her previous article for Croakey here).

Brisbane Times: Dirty jobs come up trumps in the Queensland election

By Edward Stoios

The Queensland election is upon us. And most minds are on; jobs, jobs, jobs and the economy, after which it’s education and, finally, health care.

Media release: Doctors call on states to reject the NEG at this week’s COAG meeting

Australian health experts  have written to all State and Territory leaders ahead of the COAG meeting this week, strongly urging them to reject the National Energy Guarantee, and establish national energy policies that will reduce the alarming rates of sickness and deaths across the nation.

Doctors take a firm stand on Rocky Hill mine

15 November 2017

Newcastle Herald Opinion | Doctors take stand against mine proposal

The proposed Rocky Hill open-cut coalmine near Gloucester should be rejected outright by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC), which is meeting this week. There are plenty of reasons for tearing up the proposal – open-cut mines are bad for health.

Media release: Doctors slam Australia’s poor ranking in climate change performance

In what health experts describe as embarrassing and shameful, Australia has come in as one of the worst performers in an annual assessment of 57 nations’ climate policies, heading only three other countries.

Newcastle Herald: Gloucester’s controversial Rocky Hill coal mine under the microscope

The proposed Rocky Hill open cut mine will have a major impact on the health of the local community with the mine simply too close to the township of Gloucester.

DEA welcomes the divestment announcement of Medibank Private Health Insurance

DEA congratulates Medibank Private Health Insurance on their announcement today that they will commence divestment from fossil fuels, in acknowledgement of the health impacts of climate change. This follows their announcement earlier this year that they will reach carbon neutrality in their own operations by 2018.

Croakey: COP23, Fiji leads global efforts to leap forward on climate action

“And it is that of a Fijian, a Pacific Islander, who comes from a region of the world that is bearing the brunt of climate change. Whether it is the rising seas, extreme weather events or changes to agriculture, that threaten our way of life and in some cases, our very existence.”

The Medical Republic: Our driving choices can help us breathe easier

The so-called diesel-gate scandal where the Volkswagen Group was caught out cheating United States’ emission controls is well known, but less recognised is that Australia has a vehicle and fuel emissions problem as a result of a lax regulatory framework.

Vector: Coal Mining, Climate Change and the Global Impacts on Health, Examining Adani’s Proposed Carmichael Coal Mine

The proposed Adani-owned Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland is currently in the final stages of planning with the support of both the Queensland and Australian governments. It is in the interest of human health, locally and abroad, for the medical profession to advocate on behalf of the community and lobby our legislators to reject this project.

Media release: Doctors join AAA’s call for real world testing of cars

Doctors for the Environment Australia have welcomed the Australian Automobile Association’s (AAA) call for the introduction of a real world testing of cars, as the initiative would save thousands of lives.

John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations: The Devastating Health Costs of Coal.

Amid all the debate about energy policy – about security, affordability, and carbon emissions – there is one critical issue that has barely rated a mention: human health. Coal is hazardous to our health; renewables are not. In any discussion about energy, the human health costs of coal and the significant health benefits of switching to safe and healthy forms of energy must be considered as seriously as security, affordability and emissions.

Huffington Post: Cars Are The Problem, And The Solution, To Our Highest Emissions Level Ever

Australia’s annual emissions from energy use have increased to their highest-ever level according to the recent report by respected energy expert Hugh Saddler. This finding is disturbing, and points to a failure by government to address climate change across all sectors.

Media release: Medics – We must better prepare health services for heatwaves

Doctors have today called for a comprehensive government plan to better prepare the health system, including emergency hospital departments, to cope with the extra admissions from the projected increases in heatwaves.

The Guardian: A lack of action on climate change is putting people’s lives at risk | Mark Monaghan

A new study warning Australia’s major cities are likely to reach highs of 50C by 2040 – even if the world meets its target of limiting warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels – is yet more evidence that without immediate and urgent action we are facing a looming public health crisis during heatwaves and other extreme weather events.

Open Forum: Coal – the inconvenient truth

The debate on energy has omitted one vital factor that may have provided a rational outcome – health. It requires dedication by the Federal Government to avoid mentioning health in the context of coal. This avoidance is cloaked in the mantra of “coal is clean”, “clean coal”, “coal is good for humanity”, “coal is cheap” – all flying in the face of universally known evidence.

Lithgow Mercury: Doctor says water quality should be protected

“Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right and is essential for human health.  Consequently there needs to be a high priority given to protecting the quality of our drinking water.”

The Doctus Project: Tobacco, coal, and Adani’s Carmichael mine

Imagine there was a giant new tobacco factory being planned for regional Queensland. And that both the state and federal governments were backing its development, and offering public money to support it. There would likely be considerable outcry from medical and health organisations and much public debate about supporting this unethical industry.

Media release: Doctors demand protection for Sydney’s drinking water

Any water discharged from the Springvale mine, near Lithgow, needs to be treated to the legally required standard to ensure Sydney has safe drinking water, urge health experts.

Online Opinion: Death of the CET

Coalition talk of dumping Finkel’s Clean Energy Target leaves Australia’s climate policy in tatters.

Media release: Unseasonal weather prompts eminent health professional to call for heatwave preparedness

Fears of an early start to warm weather have prompted doctors, led by a former Australian of the Year, to call for greater extreme heat preparedness to reduce illness and deaths, as well as the pressure on the health care system.

Newcastle Herald Opinion | Health omitted from review of EIS: Doctors

There are numerous examples of where communities have been put at risk from the rapid expansion of the coal and unconventional gas industry in NSW. Bulga, Singleton, Camden are some of the sites that come to mind.

Independent Australia: AGL’s Liddell power station and the Turnbull Government’s ‘clean coal’ lies

Even AGL recognises its Liddell power station is neither “clean” nor “cheap”, but the Coalition Government promotes such lies to preserve its own power over community health, writes Dr David Shearman.

Media release: Doctors urge closure of Liddell coal-fired power station before 2022 to save lives

Liddell coal-fired power station — one of the most polluting in Australia — must close earlier than 2022 rather than later as suggested by the Turnbull Government on Tuesday, urge concerned doctors.

RenewEconomy: Liddell – Climate change and air pollution medical negligence

Most members of the community will recognise the team-work, devotion and skill of doctors, nurses and technical staff in delivering new life in cardiac, brain or trauma surgery or freedom from the misery of pain conferred by hip and knee surgery

Doctors disappointed by government’s decision to cut back marine sanctuaries

In 2012, Australia made history by creating the world’s largest network of marine sanctuaries. This was the result of decades of scientific research, work by all sides of politics, and overwhelming community support. Science shows that sanctuaries protect marine life, help reefs to recover from coral bleaching, and ensure we have fish for the future.

Croakey: Public forum in Townsville hears of health concerns about Adani mine

Health professionals, farming families, environmental activists and community members attended a forum in Townsville last week where serious health concerns were raised about the Adani Carmichael mine.

Our thanks to James Cook University medical student Kira Muller for providing the following report for Croakey readers.

Media release: Public Forum-Townsville doctors and nurses speak out on the health effects of Adani’s coalmine

What: Free public forum and discussion on how the Adani Carmichael mine will affect health

Joy and relief in Port Augusta; victory for community

In a world that must transition to renewable energy to ensure our future, the visionary Mayor of Port Augusta (PA), the late Joy Baluch said “God is not going to send us a bill for solar energy, but the gas industry will”.

Croakey: Review of Mark Butler’s Climate Wars book: time to broker a true peace

Croakey recently featured a call to arms on climate change policy from Mark Butler, Opposition spokesman for climate change and energy, following the launch of his book Climate Wars.

In her review of the book, Dr Rosalie Schultz, from Doctors for the Environment Australia, welcomes its currency and accuracy. But she notes Butler’s determination to continue to wage the political war on climate change, and lack of acknowledgement of Labor’s failures and restraints. Thus, she says, the book loses an opportunity to “address the climate conflict through a transformative approach”.

Climate Wars is published by Melbourne University Press.

Open Forum: Further evidence that coal-fired power has reached its use-by-date

This week’s report on Australian coal-fired power stations reveals staggering levels of polluting emissions and underlines the problems created by coal combustion for the health of the planet and its inhabitants, and provides further evidence that coal as a fuel is approaching its use-by date.

Media release: Medics end date for Australia’s coal-fired power plants

Doctors are calling for the phase out Australia’s coal-fired power stations within the next 10 years to reduce the numbers of avoidable deaths and illnesses, in response to a damning report released today.

Media release: Doctors give Port Augusta’s solar thermal plant a big tick of approval

Doctors applaud the South Australian Government’s support of a solar thermal plant with storage in Port Augusta – the biggest of its kind in the world.

New Rules on Vehicle Emission Standards

One would think that proposed new rules designed to make cars go further on less fuel and to produce less toxic tailpipe emissions, at the same time reducing Australia’s high per capita greenhouse gas contribution, would be welcome. Not with everyone it seems. Articles appeared in the press in early July with motor industry bodies claiming proposed new rules were a “carbon tax on cars” and new cars would cost $5,000 more. Josh Frydenberg on radio the next day very quickly denied any changes to existing rules.

MJA: Interview with DEA Chair Professor Kingsley Faulkner

“True to his calling”

Media release: Health experts say NAIF fails the health test if it funds Adani

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility must include potential short and long term health risks when assessing projects, ensuring those like the Adani coal mine are properly assessed and don’t pose a significant health risk to the community.

Medical Observer: We need to do more to reduce medical waste

We need to do more to reduce waste in medicine, writes GP Dr Richard Yin.

RenewEconomy: Revelations from the New Acland coal mine case

The Land Court recommendation against expansion of New Acland Coal (NAC) open cut mine has exposed the ongoing complaints by neighbours, about dust, noise, vibrations and lighting spills from the existing mine. Could this be the turning point for improvement or even reform of health and environmental assessments in Queensland?

Objections to major hospital ’s links with coal bring a positive result

DEA expressed alarm after learning that a major Australian hospital had publicly backed a proposed coal mine.

COAG: Can democracy weed out climate deniers?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s statement that “Those people who say coal and other fossil fuels have no future are delusional and they fly in the face of all economic forecasts” confirms that four Australian states were right to go it alone, after his government failed to deliver a clean energy target at the COAG meeting.

Online Opinion: Air pollution-a silent killer we must urgently act on

Media reports last week that the government planned to introduce strict new fuel and vehicle efficiency standards starting in 2022, characterised as a “carbon tax on cars”, brought an emphatic denial from Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg.

Newcastle Herald: Opinion | HELE plants still cause air pollution

With mining interests calling for new high efficiency coal fired power stations to be built in the Hunter region, it is time to examine the health effects of these proposed plants.

InDaily: Why fracking the South-East threatens more than agriculture

Australia’s energy debate needs to consider mounting evidence that unconventional gas extraction poses a serious risk to human health, argues David Shearman.

Media release: Young doctors shout out to @Commonwealthbank: #NoNewCoal

Young doctors across the nation will today start a week-long social media campaign aimed at pressuring the Commonwealth Bank not to fund new coal mines, including Adani, because coal is hazardous to health.

OpenForum: A Young Doctor’s Message to PM Turnbull

GP Nicole Sleeman, like an increasing number of young health professionals, is becoming desperate about the failure to address climate change caused by burning fossil fuels.

Huffington Post: Why The Finkel Review Sells Australia’s Climate Future Short

News that the Finkel report on how to make the energy market secure is facing bitter opposition among the ranks of the Coalition doesn’t bode well.

VicDoc: Counting the true cost of Hazelwood’s shutdown

Hazelwood, in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, was noted for being the most carbon polluting coal-fired power station in Australia. The plant ceased operations in March – five months after majority owner, Engie, announced the decision to close when it became clear that it could not meet the estimated $400 million to maintain health and safety standards ordered by WorkSafe Victoria.

Medial release: Why the Finkel report fails Australians

A three year notice to be given by companies for closure of air polluting coal power stations means three years with more deaths and illness in the community, according to health experts responding to the Finkel report released today.

Coral Bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef: An emerging public health crisis?

By Dr Lea Merone and Dr Andrew Daltry

Human health and the environment are inextricably linked in a number of ways. Natural ecosystems support our health by filtering our air, providing fresh water and food, protecting against spread of disease and pests, forming physical defenses from weather, and regulating our climate.

Media release: Doctors and nurses join forces to urge Commonwealth Bank chiefs not to fund the Adani mine- for health’s sake

Just one day after the Adani board gave the go-ahead to the Carmichael coal mine project, nurses, doctors and concerned community members wearing stethoscopes and surgical masks and carrying placards will  deliver letters to the Commonwealth Bank’s Board of Directors at the bank’s headquarters on Sussex Street, Sydney, and to key branches in Brisbane and Perth.

The Guardian: Medical experts say lending to Adani is the same as supporting big tobacco

“High-profile doctors say Carmichael coalmine poses a ‘grave danger to public health’, including from air pollution and black lung disease.”

Media release: Open letter to the NAIF Board

Leading medical doctors have today made an urgent call to each of the Board members of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to rule out an investment loan allowing Adani to build a rail line from the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point, because of the dangers coal poses to public health.

Shortsighted Budget 2017 ignores health impacts of climate change

The Turnbull Government has once again prioritised growing the economy over human lives, writes Dr Kris Barnden.

Doctors deliver message to Commonwealth Bank chiefs: For health’s sake, don’t fund Adani’s coal mine

Doctors in stethoscopes and surgical masks will today deliver a letter highlighting the risks to health from the proposed Adani coal mine to the Commonwealth Bank’s Board of Directors in Sydney.

DEA’s inaugural photography competition and awards evening

Entries now closed!

 

Media release: Doctors call for stricter pollution license fee system to protect health

Doctors for the Environment Australia calls for proper implementation of the pollution license fee system for NSW power stations to protect public health.

Media release: Electricity review raises more questions than answers

Doctors slam yet another review of Australia’s electricity supply, saying it raises questions of probity, and also delays efforts to reduce green-house gas emissions from dirty energy production that is harming our health.

OnlineOpinion: The NT must keep the door firmly closed to fracking

There is growing concern in the NT that the Gunner Government may remove the moratorium on fracking. However, rejecting the moratorium would be a grave mistake, and Territorians know this. That’s why we voted for the moratorium in the landslide ALP victory in August 2016.

Media release: NT Government must stick to moratorium on fracking, urge doctors

Medical doctors have called for an extension of the moratorium on fracking in the Northern Territory, fearing that the Government’s focus on developing a regulatory framework for fracking could signal support for this highly controversial procedure.

Firefighting chemical spill by Qantas, Brisbane: where to now?

By Dr Andrew Jeremijenko

On the evening of April 10, a hose in the Qantas hangar at Brisbane Airport leaked approximately 5,000 litres of firefighting chemicals into nearby waterways. The foamy spill made its way from the airport to the nearby Boggy Creek via a drain, then to the lower reaches of the Brisbane River and north to Nudgee Beach and Shorncliffe dispersed by the tides and wind.

Join DEA this Sunday and make solar shine!

Join DEA this Sunday and help us make solar shine!

iDEA 2017: Conference Videos

Miss out on iDEA17? Catch up on some of the highlights by watching videos from the conference.
iDEA17: Global problems. Local solutions.

Media Release: PFOA spill

The spill of a toxic chemical by Qantas during the Easter holiday is an environmental disaster. The fact that the public were not notified during this holiday season for four days and families have been playing in the water, fishing and eating the fish and other crustaceans from the impacted area borders on negligent.

Time to end the debate and get on with it

We know that air pollution is responsible for 3000 preventable deaths a year. Dr John Van Der Kallen says as the solutions to our air pollution and climate chaos are obvious and available, it is now a matter of getting on with it.

It’s a wrap – iDEA17

iDEA17 was held in Melbourne April 1st and 2nd.

Media release: Are Australia’s Emergency Response systems prepared for the Climate Emergency?

Immediate Past Vice President of the AMA asks Are Australia’s Emergency Response systems prepared for the Climate Emergency?

Media release: Healthy planet, healthy people: Leading doctors call for urgent action

Doctors are calling for action on climate change, linking it to conditions such as respiratory diseases and childhood illnesses and also highlighting the need for emergency preparedness.

Media Release: Doctor training needs to step up on climate change, urge health experts

Universities and professional organisations must better prepare doctors and medical students to deal with the impacts of climate change, urge Australia’s leading medics.

Gizmodo OpEd: Cars Are Killing Us

About 3,000 Australians die prematurely each year from outdoor air pollution, and our cars are a major component of that pollution, particularly in traffic congested areas.

Croakey Blog: A call for doctors to take a stand on the Adani Carmichael coal mine

This BBC report on the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine makes the point that it would be one of the biggest mines on the planet with a reference that points graphically to its global impact – “occupying an area nearly three times larger than Paris, where world leaders hammered out a landmark agreement to combat climate change in late 2015”.

The Examiner: Small steps can lead to some pretty big changes

I had felt deeply uncomfortable about my contribution to climate change for decades. My electricity and car were powered by fossil fuels. My groceries were trucked and flown in from distant places. My bank invested in coal, oil and gas.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

It may be merely symbolic but, for me, our surgery garden is an extension of what we do as doctors. We all know that the major determinants of health sit outside consulting rooms and hospitals so here’s the story of our very own green space.

Letter to the Editor (TheAge) The environment: Fracking ban a small step in right direction

Congratulations to the Victorian Parliament for finally passing the legislation to ban fracking in the state. Fracking is bad for our health, and an increasing number of reports from the United States show that there are adverse impacts on the health of nearby residents. Importantly, the burning of fossil fuels causes climate change. The increasing frequency of heatwaves, bushfires, floods and severe storms are costing Australians dearly in terms of health and social disruption.

Media release: Traffic hot spots are making our children sick, warn doctors

Children living or attending schools close to major roads are exposed to more hazardous air pollution, warn health experts who are calling for sweeping laws to control vehicular emissions and so improve air quality.

The Way out of the Trumbull Swamp?

In Australia there is exasperation and despair over the federal government’s energy policy. It displays ignorance of the international energy revolution, deceit for political purposes, and negligence for it delays the transition to renewable energy which will save lives and suffering. Australia is now 16th on the list of wealthy OECD countries for clean energy and related initiatives.

Media release: Senate Inquiry – You’re more likely to die from air pollution than road accidents, NSW health experts warn

Air pollution endangers more lives than road deaths, doctors will tell a Senate Inquiry into the closure of coal-fired power stations on Wednesday.

Where are the doctors when you need them?

The Australian medical fraternity spoke up about tobacco. So why the silence on another emerging killer?

Independent Australia: Renewable Energy: It’s not a jump to the left.

With the first of RenewWA’s climate forums starting today at Edith Cowan University in W.A., Amy Marshall from Doctors for the Environment goes in to bat for renewable energy.

The True Cost of Coal Ash Flying in the Face of Port Augustans

Air pollution from blowing ash in Port Augusta in SA has become a major issue. This article and others on the topic of coal from the DEA team in SA has failed to be published in the Advertiser (NewsCorp). The dedication of the Australian newspaper and related papers to coal development, clean coal etc is in our view based on incorrect scientific interpretation and carries considerable concerns for individual and world health.

InDaily: Health the missing dimension in energy debate

The health impacts of burning fossil fuels should be front and centre in the national debate on the future of the electricity network, writes Adelaide doctor David Shearman.

iDEA17 Competition

 

WIN A TRIP TO MELBOURNE FOR iDEA17!!!
Flights, accommodation and registration to iDEA17 on 31st March – 2nd April 2017 included!

 


Join or renew as a student member of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) for just $10 before 6th March 2017 and go into the draw to win a trip to Melbourne to attend iDEA17, Australia’s most important conference on the environment and health. You will be flown to Melbourne from your nearest capital city, provided with accommodation for the weekend, attend the iDEA17 conference, and then flown back home at the end of an exciting and informative weekend!*

Already purchased tickets, booked flights, organised accommodation? Don’t stress, if you’re the lucky winner we’ll pay you back!*

To become a member and make a difference to the health of your environment and your community visit www.dea.org.au/join

Competition Terms and Conditions

1) The promoter is Doctors for the Environment (DEA) whose registered office is at 67 Payneham Road, College Park, South Australia 5069.
2) The competition is open to Australian medical students aged 18 years or over, except employees of DEA and their close relatives, and anyone otherwise connected with the organisation or judging of the competition.
3) Entry to the competition is by either:
a) becoming a Student Member of DEA, by paying the annual membership fee of $10
b) renewing as a Student Member of DEA, by paying the annual membership fee of $10
4) Current Student Members of DEA who renew will have 12 months added to their student membership.
5) By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
6) Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are via http://www.dea.org.au/events/item/idea17-competition
7) The competition will be promoted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
8) Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified.
9) Opening date for entry will be 5th February 2017. Closing date for entry will be 5th March 2017 at 11:59pm. After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
10) No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
11) The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
12) The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
13) There will be one major prizewinner. The main prize is as follows: free registration for one to iDEA17, one flight from the nearest capital city to Melbourne on 31st March 2017, one return flight from Melbourne to the same capital city on 2nd April 2017, two nights’ accommodation in Melbourne on the 31st March and 1st April 2017.
14) The carrier and the time for the flights on 31st March and 2nd April 2017 will be chosen by DEA, although consultation will be made with the major prizewinner to accommodate their needs as best as possible.
15) The place of accommodation for 31st March and 1st April 2017 will be chosen by DEA.
16) The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
17) Winners will be chosen at random by software, from all entries received, and verified by 12:00pm on 6th March 2017.
18) The winner will be notified by email and telephoned within 24 hours of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or they do not claim the prize within 24 hours of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
19) If the major prizewinner has already purchased tickets to iDEA17, they will reimbursed for the cost of the registration.
20) If the major prizewinner has already purchased return flights to Melbourne from their nearest capital city for iDEA17, they will reimbursed for the cost of the return flights up to a maximum of $500.
21) If the major prizewinner has already purchased accommodation in Melbourne for iDEA17, they will reimbursed for the cost of the accommodation up to a maximum of $200.
22) The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.
23) The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
24) The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by Australian law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Australia.
25) The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current Australian data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
26) This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other social network. You are providing your information to DEA and not to any other party.

Media release: Doctors concerned about ongoing and future health threats from Loy Yang B upgrade

2017 is not the year for the Victorian EPA to be approving an upgrade of a brown coal power plant, Loy Yang B, allowing the most polluting source of electricity production to continue for a further 30 years.

Oped: VIC Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Review

The Victorian Government has recently completed its comprehensive review of the VIC Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and has committed $45.5 million over the next 18 months to extend its scope and powers, a sizable injection considering the EPAs current annual operating budget of approximately $70 million a year, suggesting a sincere desire by the Government for true reform.

The Guardian: Carbon countdown clock: how much of the world’s carbon budget have we spent?

One way of looking at emissions targets is as a fixed budget amount, or quota. This countdown shows one estimate of how long it will take to reach an amount of greenhouse gas emissions beyond which 2C of warming will be likely.

Online Opinion: Australian climate change policy isn’t working

With summer here, the brown, crunchy, lifeless patches on my lawn in Perth remind me that much of Australia is getting hotter and drier. Working in public health, it also reminds me of a call to action – not just for me, but for all of us. Not for more wetting agent and regular watering (although, yes, that will be needed).

Media release: Time to clean up our air

The community is paying the cost of polluted air through health problems such as heart disease, lung disease and asthma – largely caused by coal mining and coal-fired power generation. Doctors have made a submission on the NSW Clean Air Plan to urge action to improve health.

A New Year Message to DEA students and doctors- believe in the future and plant a tree

I have a New Year message for the medical students who have joined our mission and indeed a message for all members of the medical profession.

The West Australian: Climate change looms as fiery threat to State

It is bushfire season in WA again, and we know the wildfires are getting worse each year. The State Government is trying to ramp up awareness of the bushfire risk and more money is being put into firefighting services. This investment is desperately needed, but it is not nearly enough.

Online Opinion: Preserving our forests should be a top priority

The magnificent old growth forests of East Gippsland are a national treasure. Yet state-endorsed logging continues in this region, undermining the rich tapestry of plants and animals that support human health.

Australia’s increasing greenhouse emissions is freeloading on countries taking action to reduce them

Australia’s increase in greenhouse emissions is freeloading on other countries which are taking action to reduce them.

Media release: Medical experts call for a price rise on coal-fired power to protect health

New South Wales’ big five coal-fired power stations should pay 49 times more than they are paying for the pollution they emit, if we are to substantially improve public health.

Fundraising appeal: we need help to grow DEA!

What an exceptional year! Thank you!

Open Forum: How to make your New Year sustainable

As the Australian Government’s climate change policy is struggling for credibility, it is more important than ever that we try to make a difference collectively and as individuals to help minimise global warming. Dr Kim Loo explains how.

Media release: Turnbull must consider his position if he cannot chair COAG Leaders meeting with an open mind

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should consider his position if he is not prepared to listen with an open mind to the policy advice from the experts at the COAG Leaders meeting on Friday 9 December.

Media release: Former Australian of the Year warns Adani coalmine poses a significant public health risk

The announcement of a $1 billion loan from the Federal Government and the arrival in Australia this week of the head of Adani suggests Queensland’s giant Carmichael coal mine will go ahead, says former Australian of the Year and leading public health advocate Professor Fiona Stanley who is speaking on behalf of the medical group Doctors for the Environment Australia.

Renew Economy Oped: No social licence, no gas fracking in South Australia

In a state with a history of enlightened decisions, The final report of the South Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into unconventional gas (fracking) in the South East of South Australia the Committee has produced another one.

Media release: Government must phase out coal-fired power stations within the next decade

Doctors have welcomed the interim report of the Senate inquiry into the retirement of coal-fired power stations which was tabled on Monday, however they say it doesn’t go far enough.

SMH oped: We need to do more to understand the impact of climate change on our health

After the tragic deaths of eight people related to the recent outbreak of thunderstorm asthma in Melbourne, we need to consider the “perfect storm” of climate change.

The Conversation: Why coal-fired power stations need to shut on health grounds

The Senate inquiry’s report into the planned closure of coal-fired power stations will no doubt shed light on the compelling health reasons to close them.

Huffington Post: In The Mountains Of Timor-Leste, A Small Success On Climate Change from WithOneSeed

DEA member Ralph Lewis has drawn our attention to the program With One Seed, http://withoneseed.org.au/ involving reforestation, carbon capture as well as providing income for local landholders in Timor.

Open Forum: Nature as medicine

Anyone who studies medicine or has a career in medicine knows that if you allow it, it can consume your life.

Effects of plastics in the environment

An overview of concerns by DEA member A/Prof Vicki Kotsirilos

The impact of chemicals such as heavy metals and pesticides in the environment on human health is well recognised.1 What is not well recognised is the impact of plastics in the environment on human health.

Media release: Doctors slam Australia’s “shameful” ranking in climate change performance index

In what health experts describe as an “embarrassing and shameful” result, Australia has come in as one of the worst performers in an annual assessment of 61 nations’ climate policies, with only Korea, Kazakhstan, Japan and Saudi Arabia ranking worse.

Croakey: The new NT government is right to announce an inquiry into fracking

One of the outcomes of the Labor Party’s landslide election win in the Northern Territory earlier this year was a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing of onshore unconventional gas reservoirs (fracking), pending the outcome of an independent inquiry into the practice.

A call for submissions to the inquiry’s terms of reference closed recently, having garnered 364 submissions. One of them was from Doctors for the Environment Australia.

In the post below, Dr Rosalie Schultz and Dr David Shearman, both members of Doctors for the Environment Australia ask the important question of who benefits if fracking is allowed to go ahead in the NT, and give their recommendations for making sure health considerations are front and centre as the inquiry proceeds.

Media release: DEA welcomes landmark Lancet Countdown

Doctors for the Environment Australia has today welcomed the launch of the Lancet Countdown at the climate talks in Morocco, saying the landmark initiative would put pressure on Australia and other countries to keep the promises they made in the Paris agreement.

Media release: US election: Where to for health and the environment?

The results of the US election are in.

If Donald Trump does to the environment what he said he would do as President, the hard-fought progress to protect our ailing planet looks set to take a giant leap backwards- just at the crucial time when we need to take giant leap forwards to ensure our survival. The Lancet has described climate change as the biggest health threat of the 21st century.

Media release: SA Government urged to pull its weight in response to the climate meeting in Morocco

Doctors fear the SA State Government’s doubling of the air pollution cap signifies a possible “sell-out” to the gas industry, further undermining Australia’s already poor reputation at the first meeting of world leaders under the Paris agreement in Morocco starting this week.

SBS Comment: From Hazelwood to Marrakech – Australia needs to move away from coal

The climate change talks in Marrakech which start this week will put a spotlight on Australia’s poor contribution to the Paris agreement to keep world global average temperatures below 2 degrees.

Online opinion: The upside to Hazelwood’s closure

The ongoing speculation that the Hazelwood coal plant will shut down has resulted in the Latrobe Valley community unfairly suffering the threat of unemployment and disruption for too long.

Croakey: How a prescription for solar thermal treatment changed the health fortunes of a whole town

Many salutory lessons arise from this fascinating account of the role of health and medical expertise in the successful closure of polluting power stations in South Australia.

AMSJ: Climate change, the challenge to medicine in the 21st century

Medicine in the early decades of the 21st century offers great promise, powered by ready access to knowledge, innovative imaging and interventional technologies, sophisticated research, and personalised pharmaceuticals. Despite this, doctors of the next decades will be faced with unique national and global challenges that they are currently ill equipped to deal with.

Rocky Hill OpEd

Whether you are a Gloucester resident or a visitor to the area, we all appreciate Gloucester as an area of natural beauty. This of course makes it inconceivable to develop an open cut coalmine so close to town.

Finding the Northwest Passage – global warming upsets these ‘folk ‘as well

Peter Brooks recounts a very personal account of his recent trip – sailing in the footsteps of Franklin – with the stark impact of climate change on the Arctic and its populations.

SMH oped: Mike Baird is wrong to support coal mines

Mike Baird has said his decision to overturn the ban on greyhound dog racing shows he is prepared to admit when his government has got it wrong. If this is true, it’s time he admitted he is wrong about his support of coal mining and take back his “no doubt coal is good” statement.

The Advertiser oped: Port Augusta power station must remain closed for the health of local community

THE Federal Government and state Liberals are demanding that Jay Weatherill’s Government should reopen the Port Augusta coal-fired power station.

Media release: Palaszczuk support For Carmichael mine will fail Australians, warn health experts

10 October 2016

The Queensland government’s push to speed up the approval process for Adani’s mega Carmichael mine project by declaring it a “prescribed project status” will increase illness and deaths from climate change, warn Australia’s leading doctors.

Newcastle Herald: Climate change & health concerns drive opposition to Rocky Hill mine at Gloucester

GLOUCESTER is a rural area in the foothills of the World Heritage-listed Barrington Tops National Park which has a pristine environment of high ecological significance. It is inconceivable that an open cut mine that aims to extract 21 million tonnes of coal is planned for these parts, and will be within two kilometres of residential areas – places where people live and bring up families.

Open Forum: Using my money as a force for good

by Rebecca Tuma

Divestment is the opposite of investment and means getting rid of stocks, bonds or funds that are deemed unethical or morally ambiguous. Leading up to Divestment Day, Rebecca Tuma urges you to use your consumer power and put your money where your convictions are.

SBS Comment: Gutting ARENA is just sick – renewable energy saves lives and health costs

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will be gutted by a funding cut of $500 million. But it’s at odds with the government’s claims to be innovative and support jobs and growth.

Doctus Project: We must act on climate change, before it’s too late

Editorial by Patrick Walker, the Doctus Project

It is a bright, sunny afternoon in May, and Victoria’s hottest Autumn on record is drawing to a close. My colleague Jesse Schnall and I are waiting to meet with Dr John Iser, the Victorian Chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA). DEA is a voluntary organisation made up of medical doctors from around Australia to address the threat climate change and environmental degradation pose to health. They work ‘to address…the diseases caused by damage to the Earth’s environment.’

Having both read the now famous 2009 Lancet report which concluded that climate change is the biggest threat to global health in the 21st century, we are intrigued to see what Dr Iser has to say on the issue. Does climate change really pose such a threat to our health? And if so, what should we – and our government – be doing about it?

Renew Economy Oped: Myth of gas; has South Australia capitulated to fossil fuels?

Gas is a seemingly difficult issue for governments. Looking at the health disasters of asbestos, tobacco and air pollution from coal, government ministers might wonder if they would have acted earlier had they been in power and reassured themselves they would. That is the problem, they are making decisions now based on political expediency which will leave their successors to face the potential health consequences.

The Guardian: Cigarettes, asbestos, now fossil fuels. How big business impacts public health

The decisions reached at the recent Coag energy council meeting are reminiscent of a long series of failures to understand the impacts of powerful business on the health of the community.

Media release: Vic government gas ban a big win for health, say doctors

Doctors have applauded the Andrews government for prioritising the health of Victorians by placing a permanent ban on the development of onshore unconventional gas in Victoria.

Media release: Doctors slam Adani mine decision

Health experts have slammed today’s ruling in the Federal Court which approved Adani’s Carmichael mine, Australia’s biggest coal mine project, saying it would harm the health of millions of people in Australia and around the world.

Media release: Doctors warn against gas as a “transitional fuel” due to concerns about its safety

Australia must shelve plans to make gas a “transitional fuel” because it will worsen the climate change emergency, warn health experts in response to last Fridays COAG meeting of energy ministers.

Media release: Energy Ministers Urged to put Health at the Top of the COAG Agenda.

Energy ministers are being urged to put clean energy at the top of the COAG agenda to protect health.

Leading health experts are calling on the country’s energy ministers to make a firm commitment for a rapid replacement of coal and gas with renewable energy at Friday’s COAG meeting.

SBS: Gasfields – gambling with our health

As the Victorian government prepares to release its much anticipated gas policy, expected before parliament resumes on August 16, pro fossil fuel heavy weights have already jumped the starting line with misleading spin.

Independent Australia: Doctors call for fossils fuels to be labelled an unacceptable health hazard

Dr. Graeme McLeay from Doctors for the Environment urges us to contact our energy ministers before this month’s COAG meeting and tell them fossil fuels undermine our national security, economy and health.

Croakey: A timely examination of fracking concerns in the NT

Territorians love the natural environment. We enjoy the environment both for the exhilaration it gives us, and for its tourism value. We should also remember that our health depends on having clean air and water and safe food.

Media release: SA Power Crisis – Add the true costs of coal and gas to the energy bill, urge doctors.

Doctors have today described comments that renewable energy from solar and wind are causing the SA power “crisis” as disingenuous because they ignore the hefty costs of coal and gas to public health and to the health budget.

The Medical Republic: Encouraging healthy eating helps more than just our patients

There is much discussion in the medical and general media about the healthiness of food. Hardly surprising, as we face an unfolding epidemic of obesity, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases which, along with inactivity, are in large part related to our dietary excess.

Climbing the mountain of climate change

Where do we go from here, do we remain at base camp for another 15 years?
The going has become more difficult as international chaos threatens! Here are my thoughts, we welcome those of any member.

Media release: Doctors deliver PM Turnbull Climate Change Survival Health Kit and open letter

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.

Media release: Labor’s announcement on a national environmental protection authority has big health spin offs

Doctors have today described Labor’s announcement to explore an independent environment protection structure, if elected, as “visionary”.

Croakey: Where does your bank stand on fossil fuels? A call for health professionals to divest.

Doctors calling on other health professionals to join the divestment movement

Article; Newcastle Herald: We need a regional air quality plan for the Hunter

The recent studies of air pollution in the Hunter finally show us the constituents of pollution and points to the likely sources. We agree with the editorial comment (Newcastle Herald, April 30) that it is extraordinary that the EPA seems to have leapt to the defence of the coal industry, because a close look at the results shows that coal mining, transport and burning is a major contributor to pollution.

Open Forum: Fossil fuel divestment: Why Australia’s uni students are turning the other cheek

Students across Australia are staging bold actions at their universities to demand divestment from fossil fuels. Why do the issues of climate change and fossil fuel investment resonate so strongly with university students? It’s about equality and justice, explains Damian Gill.

Renew Economy oped: Climate policy becomes trench warfare, once again

The release of Labor’s climate policy has led immediately to a resumption of World War I style trench warfare.

Croakey: Health groups lead call to end investment in coal, oil and gas

A new paper Investing in Health, released this week by the Climate and Health Alliance and Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), highlights the opportunity and the rationale for health and medical professionals to shift their investments away from coal, oil and gas industries.

In the piece below, Fiona Armstrong, Executive Director of CAHA and Dr Helen Redmond from DEA highlight the lead taken by international medical organisations in divesting in fossil fuels and argue that health professionals have both a moral and practical impetus to join the growing disinvestment movement.

Labor’s climate change policy is a step forward but more needs to be done, say doctors

Doctors welcome Labor’s policy to tackle climate change, but urge more robust action to reduce the numbers of Australians who are likely to get sick and to die as a result of rising temperatures.

Media release: DEA welcomes the Vic Government’s response to the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry

Doctors for the Environment Australia commends the Victorian Government for their positive response to the latest Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry.

Media release: Doctors alarmed at new air pollution data call for immediate action

Doctors are alarmed at the latest air pollution data which shows emissions of key pollutants linked to respiratory and heart diseases is continuing to grow, and warn that more Australians will die or suffer illness as a result.

Media release: Launch of joint report urging the health sector to divest

Doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, health organisations and health super funds urged to quit coal, oil and gas

Doctors urge action from federal government to protect health from unconventional gas mining

Doctors from the health organisation Doctors for the Environment Australia, presenting before the Senate Committee on Unconventional Gas Mining in Darwin on Tuesday 12 April, said after a previous Senate Inquiry and numerous state inquiries, Australian governments have still not done enough to protect public health.

Media Release: New Fact Sheet – Climate change impacts on health

Doctors have today launched a climate change and health fact sheet describing the catastrophic consequences a continued rise in global temperature will have on the health of our families and communities, unless we act immediately.

Register NOW for iDEA’16!

Medical Observer oped: The heat is on to cool down our cities

RECENT droughts and bushfires have made us far more conscious of how a warming climate can affect our health, especially in regional Australia.

SMH oped: Coal marketing should come with a health warning

The NSW Minerals Council’s new campaign extolling the virtues of coal mining was launched on Tuesday, and according to their media release it is due to appear on NSW television screens this month.

Renew Economy oped: Government somnolence on climate change health costs

Climate change is described by leaders of the medical profession as the greatest health risk of this century. Its health impacts are already significant both internationally and in Australia and are predicted to increase with rising temperatures. The severity of natural disasters from extreme weather events is increased by climate change and is an important cause of harms to our health.

Advertiser: Nuclear waste dump just another bad option — what about renewable energy?

South Australia’s recent Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has recommended avoiding some bad options: no nuclear power generation and no reprocessing or fuel leasing in the foreseeable future.

Media release: Failure to include health risks grossly distorts true costs of climate change, warn doctors

It’s very likely that Australians will suffer more ill health requiring attention from GPs and hospitals because of climate change- however scant attention is being given to health, medical experts will argue today in a submission to the Climate Change Authority.

Media release: Doctors call on the Andrews Government to act urgently on climate law recommendations

Doctors for the Environment Australia is urging the Victorian State Government to implement quickly and comprehensively the findings of the Independent Review Committee, which this week handed down its report on the Climate Change Act.

Bub Hub | Tips to get more nature into your child’s day

We all want contact with the outdoors and the natural world, says Dr Dimity Williams in this article for parenting magazine, the Bub Hub. Yet today’s lifestyle means we live inside our homes, cars or in big shopping centres which restrict and blunt our senses.

The Advertiser comment: Doctors for the Environment Australia: Heatwaves are silent killers

ADELAIDE has just experienced a record-breaking heatwave for December, with regional areas facing even higher temperatures than the city. While the much-needed cool change brought temporary relief, scientific evidence indicates we must brace for more of these events.

Croakey comment: Victorian moratorium on unconventional gas

Medical professionals and organisations, together with community members, raised serious concerns about the health impacts of unconventional gas extraction in submissions to a recent Victorian Parliamentary inquiry.

Media release: Doctors call on environment ministers to adopt strict air pollution laws

Doctors urge state and federal environment ministers not to cave in to pressure from the mining industry and support the adoption of strong national air pollution standards at Tuesday’s 15 December meeting.

Media release: Doctors urge ban on fracking to continue

A ban on coal seam and other forms of onshore gas in Victoria should continue until it can be shown that developing this resource will not compromise public health, doctors urge ahead of an inquiry that is due to report on 8 December.

MJA: Climate change is harmful to our health: taking action will have many benefits

With the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) now underway, Associate Professor Linda Selvey’s Perspectives article on the health impacts of global warming in the Medical Journal of Australia is both timely and compelling.

Media release: Doctors extend their sympathies to those affected by the South Australian bushfires

Doctors extend their sympathies to those affected by the South Australian bushfires, and call for strong action on climate

Croakey Blog: Calling for a health impact assessment on Perth’s Roe 8 road project

Local media reported today that drilling had begun in the Beeliar wetlands in Perth’s south for the construction of the controversial Roe 8 highway extension, planned as the first stage of the Western Australian Government’s $1.6 billion Perth Freight Link.

Open letter calling Health Minister Sussan Ley to attend climate talks

Parents, Grandparents and Concerned Adults: SIGN THE OPEN LETTER

Support Our Call For The Health Minister To Attend The Paris Meeting On Climate Change This December- And Put The Health Of Our Children Front And Centre

SMH: Australian doctors call for Health Minister to attend Paris climate talks

Doctors for the Environment Australia’s  launch of an open letter calling for Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley to attend the United Nations Paris climate summit this December was today reported, among other media, in major Fairfax mastheads, including the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

The Canberra Times comment: Coal: The (real) moral case

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is the latest in a line of senior politicians and coal industry figures to endorse future coal exports, stating this week that “… energy poverty is one of the big limits on global development in terms of achieving all of the development goals, alleviating hunger and promoting prosperity right around the world – energy is an absolute critical ingredient. So coal will play a big part in that.”

The Saturday Paper: How the Minerals Council of Australia has govt’s ear on coal

Coal interests are over-represented on the board of the Minerals Council of Australia, and they continue to promote the so-called benefits of coal to a largely compliant government even when the evidence points the other way, argues journalist Mike Seccombe in this Saturday Paper feature article.

Article; SMH: Volkswagen may have helped expose silent, invisible killer: outdoor air pollution

Along with denting its share price and reputation, Volkswagen may have inadvertently helped address one of the most neglected and insidious public health problems of our time.

Border Watch: Fracking facts shared at inquiry

Associate Professor of public health Dr Melissa Haswell presents the health harms linked to hydraulic fracturing at the parliamentary inquiry into coal seam gas in South Australia.?

Border Watch: Speaker hits back

Newcastle Herald: OPINION: Air pollution needs action

AIR quality has been a community concern in Newcastle for many years. When the results of  the first 12 months of air quality monitoring  became available from new monitors in Carrington and Stockton, it became clear that this region has some of the worst air quality in NSW.

Huffington Post: Old King Coal Is A Desperate Old Soul

The coal industry’s latest PR escapade paints coal as an amazing, versatile commodity with almost limitless possibilities, providing seemingly endless energy and employment.

Geelong Advertiser: Cheap energy not worth fracking risks

On the surface, the unconventional gas industry promises many things, including cheap energy and jobs. However in this comment piece in the Geelong Advertiser, Dr Liz Bashford says that the risks from unconventional gas are potentially serious for both human health and the environment.

AFR: First State Super slaps companies with more than 20pc coal, oil and gas revenue

One of Australia’s biggest industry funds, First State Super, recently announced it was is divesting its socially responsible funds from all companies that source more than 20 per cent of their operating revenue from coal, oil and gas.

The Australian Financial Review’s Amanda Saunders wrote a story which in part credited DEA for its involvement in the initiative. She wrote: “doctors who pushed for the move say they have a  “moral imperative” to support the transition to a renewable economy” and that divestment is “a public health measure”.

SMH: Air pollution is like smoking a cigarette each day, doctors warn

Air pollution in Newcastle, NSW, is so bad that it is equivalent to smoking a cigarette a day, according to a group of doctors who have called on the state government to take immediate action to protect local residents, especially children, reports Natalie O’Brien in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Medical Observer comment: Why doctors must lead fossil fuel fight

IN 2013, the federal government’s Future Fund and many superannuation funds dumped investments in tobacco companies following a long campaign by health groups.

Croakey blog: A shout out to health professionals: act now for a cool planet

JENNIFER DOGGETT: The medical profession has taken a lead role in many respects on climate change and environmental issues but there is still scope for more to be done. In the following piece, Dr Sujata Allan, argues that doctors have both a responsibility and a unique role in play in advocating for greater action to combat climate change. She also offers a number of practical suggestions for how members of the medical profession can become more involved at a personal and professional level in preventing the harms associated with climate change.

Brisbane Times oped: Tackle climate change, our health depends on it

Climate change has become a highly polarised issue in Australia, with the focus on the economic and political costs and risks.

Canberra Times Opinion: Invisible killer – need for better air quality standards is urgent

In Australia there are 3000 deaths each year from air pollution, which is more than from traffic accidents. Imagine the nightly TV news – instead of the twisted car metal and bodies, they show a child fighting for breath from asthma being loaded into an ambulance in Bulga, or a patient with a heart attack in the Latrobe Valley.

Newcastle Herald Opinion: Planning for better air quality

THE evidence for harmful health effects from particulate air pollution has become stronger over the years, so periodic review of air quality regulations in keeping with current science is vital for the protection of human health.

Leading doctors say we’re failing our kids

A group of leading doctors, many of them grandparents, has called for action on a threat they say needs priority attention. The doctors say failure to act on this threat means we are failing in the most “fundamental call of humanity” – that is, to nurture its young.

Media release: Doctors welcome the closure of the Port Augusta Coal plant

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) welcomes the announcement by Alinta to finally cease its brown coal burning industries in Port Augusta by 2018.

Oped in the Guardian: Don’t care about climate change? What about the health of children?

Climate change is not just an urgent environmental issue; it is having a devastating effect on the health of our children, says this comment piece in Guardian Australia which was co-written by leading paediatrician and former Australian of the Year, Professor Fiona Stanley, who is also a member of DEA’s Scientific Committee, and DEA’s Advocacy and Policy Officer as well as GP, Dr Sallie Forrest.

Media Release: DEA welcomes RACP’s announcement to divest from fossil fuels

Doctors for the Environment Australia welcomes the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) announcement this week that it will divest investments in companies involved in fossil fuel activities from its  $90 million investment portfolio.

Grim future for children: global warming report

GPs and specialists need to train and prepare for the “inevitable increase” in childhood sickness and pressure on health services linked to climate change, leading epidemiologist Professor Fiona Stanley says.

Media release: No Time for Games: Children’s health and Climate Change report

Australian children are the ones who will be most likely to suffer from increased cases of disease and infection as a result of climate change, former Australian of the Year and leading paediatrician Professor Fiona Stanley has warned.

Croakey Blog: Will we add more years to our lives? The flawed longevity assumption

Introduction by Croakey journalist, Marie McInerney

Treasurer Joe Hockey copped quite a lampooning when he raised the prospect of  people living until they are 150 to explain why Australians should accept cuts to government benefits and pay a greater share of their health costs.

But Dr George Crisp says we all are too happy to accept the idea that longevity still will steadily increase, as it has over the past century.

Former president of RACS and DEA chair calls on surgeons to act on climate change

Climate change has now become a major health issue and delaying action is “grossly irresponsible”, argues the chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia and former president of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Professor Kingsley Faulkner, in this feature story in the March 2015 edition of Surgical News.

DEA submission: Australia’s emissions targets fail to protect health

Doctors blast the Abbott government’s failure to put health first in its emissions targets- despite health being the biggest threat we face this century 

Media release: Direct Action auction: medics reject scheme that puts health up for sale

Australians, especially children, the elderly and those with chronic illness will have shortened lives and more illness as a result of the federal government’s Direct Action, warns Doctors for the Environment Australia, a health advocacy group representing medical professionals across the country.

Opinion: national guidelines needed on coal seam gas and coal mining

Australia needs mandatory federal guidelines on fracking and coal mining that are based on scientific and medical opinion, says Doctors for the Environment Australia’s Honorary Secretary Dr David Shearman in an oped in the Sydney Morning Herald today.

Media release: Politicians’ rush for profits puts Queenslanders at serious risk of illness

Last Friday’s report into the former Queensland government not only exposes the inadequate regulation and approval processes for coal seam gas and coal mining in Queensland, but also the failure of the state’s leaders to put the health of their constituencies first, according to a leading medical group.

The Guardian puts climate change front and centre

The two momentous decisions of the week came from the Guardian newspaper.

The UK Guardian launched a campaign of science and conscience to reverse humanity’s self-destructive pursuit of burning all of the world’s fossil fuels:  and in Australia Climate change: why the Guardian is putting threat to Earth front and centre was published.

Why NSW voters need to put coal last on March 28

It’s becoming increasingly clear from recent decisions …that the actions of the  NSW government show little concern for air pollution which harms local communities and the ALP opposition isn’t doing much opposing of this.

Opinion: Health sacrificed for mining

The approval of the Warkworth open-cut coal mine extension by the Planning Assessment Commission moves the mine boundary from the existing five kilometres to 2.6 kilometres from the town of Bulga, a stable township with a 200-year history.

Australia Needs Climate Policy

This article by DEA Member Sallie Forrest was published in Medical Forum, December 2014 and appears under a Creative Commons licence.

Launch of DEA’s Divestment FAQs

With Global Divestment Day just around the corner on 13 to 14 February, we are pleased to launch our DEA Divestment FAQs! Please view this timely publication Divestment FAQs.

Medical Observer: Docs need to take a stand on climate

I AM lucky enough to live and work in a beautiful area of bushland on Melbourne’s urban fringe.

Waiting for Godot: Bushfires, heat and climate change – a doctor’s compelling view from the #SAfires

By Marie McInerney

The fearsome spectre of Ash Wednesday hung over the Adelaide Hills for five days this week as firefighters battled to control the worst bushfires so far in Australia this summer. Now South Australia, and elsewhere, prepares for flooding rains.

“Tread carefully or we risk fracturing our environment”, comment in “The Mercury” by Dr Rohan Church

Health experts around the world are warning against the exploration and mining of unconventional gas reserves- for example, the UK’s chief scientific adviser Mark Walport, advised in his recent annual report that fracking could carry unforeseen risks in the same way that thalidomide, asbestos and tobacco did.

Fracking in the NT: What’s the rush? Let’s wait and see

I recently spoke on behalf of Doctors for the Environment Australia to the Commissioner on the Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in NT, Mr Allan Hawke. This Inquiry was established in April 2014 to provide information to the NT government on a range of issues related to hydraulic fracturing “fracking”. It will report by the end of 2014.

Book now for iDEA15!

Ditch the screen for the green

Many of these problems are the consequence of a sedentary lifestyle with kids today spending much of their time in a box, looking at another box.

Letter to Mr Richard Warburton, Chair, Renewable Energy Target Review

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) Chair, Professor Kingsley Faulkner wrote to Mr Richard Warburton, Chair of the Renewable Endergy Target Review to express DEA’s concern about the process and expected outcomes of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) Review.

Global climate changes need action

This article by DEA Member Helen Redmond was published in Medical Observer 15th July 2014 and appears under a Creative Commons licence.

Australian doctors support the British Medical Association, 26 June 2014

“Australian doctors support the British Medical Association’s announcement to dump investments in fossil fuels”

Coal is a major health issue like smoking

This issue has now had important exposure as a result of President Obama’s initiative on reducing coal pollution.

iDEA Conference Report 2014

March 2014 saw four hundred doctors, and medical students from all over Australia come together for the iDEA14 conference, Australia’s national climate change and health conference, run by Doctors For The Environment Australia (DEA), to address the health impacts of fossil fuels and anthropogenic climate change.

Act on climate change for the sake of the future – Doctors’ orders

The following article published by Independent Australia (7/4/14) appears here under Creative Commons licence.

Time to act – MJA InSight

The following article written by Doctors for the Environment Australia members Mark Braidwood and Catherine Pendrey appeared in MJA InSight (7/4/14) and appears here under Creative Commons licence.

Doctors urge WA voters to consider climate change

Wednesday 2 April 2014

An Opinion Piece on Divestment

Our global scientists have been indicating for many years, that humanity has overstepped the boundaries of our ecological systems.

Doctors concerned by Vic coal-mine fire

2 March 2014

To protect health

To protect health, Anglesea mine and coal fired power station should close with Point Henry

Health leaders urge major media company: end coal lobby deal

In a first for public health advocacy in Australia, 30 distinguished medical researchers, professors of medicine and health, specialist clinicians, GPs and public health experts have joined forces to send an open letter — attached —  to Australian Radio Network (ARN) and its high-rating Sydney station 101.7 WSFM, calling on the company to drop its lucrative sponsorship deal with powerful coal industry lobby group NSW Minerals Council on public health grounds.

Warming climate threatens health, doctors warn

This month we saw one of the most significant multi-day heatwaves on record in Australia. The heatwave affected large parts of South-eastern Australia with maximum temperatures for the period 13-17 January 12°C or more above normal in most of Victoria, most areas of South Australia within 200 kilometres of the coast, and parts of central Tasmania. 

Media Release: Warming climate threatens health, doctors warn

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) is warning of the dangers of extreme heat, as scorching temperatures continue to affect many areas of Australia, with Victoria particularly affected.

Comments by John Merory on the article Greening your transport: Where does an electric car fit in?

I enjoyed reading Greening your transport: Where does an electric car fit in? by Hubertus Jersmann. I would like to make some comments.

Repowering Port Augusta in limbo

As the Select Committee bows out of the ‘repowering Port Augusta’ debate, the unanswered question remains: How will SA transition from brown coal to cleaner power?

Victoria’s Energy Future: Prospects and Challenges

Report for DEA on the Royal Society of Victoria two day symposium on “Victoria’s Energy Future: Prospects and Challenges” held October 25-6, 2013. Written by Dr Kristen Pearson

Film review: ‘Chasing Ice’

On November 7th DEA Tasmania held a free community screening of the award-winning documentary ‘Chasing Ice’, at the Cradle Coast Campus of the University of Tasmania in Burnie.

Stronger emissions target needed to protect health

Doctors support the Climate Change Authority’s call for a more ambitious emission reduction target.

Greening your transport: Where does an electric car fit in?

A case study by Adelaide-based specialist and DEA SA committee member, Hubertus Jersmann.

Promoting change to contain our health costs

This article by DEA Member Eugenie Kayak was published in Medical Observer 8th October 2013 and appears under a Creative Commons licence.

“Health and the Environment”

Report on the DEA Queensland Seminar 

Inaugural Tony McMichael Award Recipient 2013 – David Shearman

DEA Honorary Secretary and founder, Professor David Shearman, was presented with the inaugural Tony McMichael Public Health Ecology and Environment Award (TMPHEEA) at the PHAA annual conference dinner on September 18th before hundreds of guests, including former Health Minister Nicola Roxon.

Doctors prescribe active transport

Doctors and medical students from Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) will be cycling through Melbourne this Saturday morning in the lead-up to Bicycle Network Victoria’s Ride2Work Day. They are aiming to raise awareness of the health and environmental benefits of cycling.

Reefwalk 2013

10 weeks walking, 1200km from Cairns to Gladstone, along the Great Barrier Reef. This was enough to make me leave my job to see more of our beautiful Australia. Walking pace is the natural human pace. You see so much more when you walk, you dedicate your time. When you are walking, the journey is the destination. We followed the guidance of Footprints for Peace, a global community organisation for events to promote change through peaceful actions.

Democracy: essential for health and wellbeing

This article by DEA Member Peter Tait was published in Medical Observer 16th August 2013 and appears under a Creative Commons licence.

DEA member Dr Marion Carey in the Crikey Health Blog

The following excerpt by Marion Carey appeared in a Crikey article and appears here under a Creative Commons licence.

Proposal to fast track NSW mining carries health risks

Doctors say the NSW government plans to turn its back on communities by ensuring mining projects are approved regardless of potential health impacts.

DEA celebrates Sydney water catchment protection

Big Win to Protect the Special Protected Areas of the Sydney Water Catchment – Extension of Licence to Drill 16 Exploratory Wells in the Illawarra Refused

Port Augusta denied clean energy

Doctors and community dismayed by solar thermal proposal for Port Augusta being dropped

Stepping Up

The following article first appeared in the AMSA publication Panacea (2013, edition 1).  It appears below with AMSA’s kind permission.

DEA statement: Clean energy future still possible

Doctors are relieved that carbon trading will not come at the expense of renewable energy investment.

Clearing the air: the hidden wonders of indoor plants

The importance of indoor plants for improving air quality and contributing positively to our psychological wellbeing has implications for the health system both within hospitals and in the private system. The following article was first published at the Conversation and appears here under a Creative Commons licence.It is useful information for both our own occupational health and that of our staff and patients.

Visit to Anglesea

DEA Victoria doctors and medical students travelled to Anglesea on Sunday 16 June 2013 to learn more about the open cut coal mine and power station that abuts the local community.  Dr Jacinta Morahan, who is an Anglesea resident, took the members on a tour to the local primary school that lies within close proximity to the mine and to the mine site itself to observe the planned expansion of the mine.

DEA on ‘The Project’

DEA is pleased to see The Project, a current affairs program on Channel 10 during prime time reporting on the latest report from the Climate Commission- The Critical Decade 2013: Climate Change Science, Risks and Responses (Monday 17 June).

Doctors envisage a healthier future for Anglesea

Doctors and medical students from the Surf Coast, Geelong and Melbourne met today to learn more about the health impacts of coal mining and combustion, and what that might mean for the Anglesea community.

DEA – Do The Math Movie Screening:

At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the Accord that was agreed upon by all nations of our planet only contained one number.  This number was 2.  The context of this number was that every country present agreed in principle that climate change must be kept below a rise of 2 degrees centigrade, or we will all face severe and damaging impacts.  Scientists soon calculated that in order to achieve this we must not exceed the overall emissions total of 565 gigatones of CO2, which on the current trends equate to another 15 years of emissions at current increasing rates.  This was disappointing at the time, as it was widely seen as a very weak outcome from a meeting billed to provide the required action on climate change.  Since this conference, things have only become worse.

The Health Factor report – Damning evidence on health impacts of coal & CSG

A new doctors’ report reveals worrying evidence of likely health impacts from Australian coal and coal seam gas projects.

On budget night, humans will trump other species, again

Barney Foran always writes a perceptive article and we invite you to read this one from The Conversation in the context of the recent report indicating that climate change will have a devastating impact on plants and animals world wide.

We need to do our homework on the health risks of coal seam gas

This article by DEA Committee Member Marion Carey was published in The Conversation 2nd April and appears under a Creative Commons licence.

Coal seam gas fails on human health 2/4/2013

Doctors’ organisation agrees CSG assessment and monitoring is badly flawed and does not protect human health

Shell breaks its 10 year promise not to develop World Heritage Sites

The evidence of damage to the Great Barrier Reef continues to mount. This article by Andrew Jeremijenko provides further documentation. DEA has worked behind the scenes on this issue, corresponding with UNESCO on the impacts of coal mining on the catchments and the reef and by writing to Minister Burke.

We must protect biodiversity if we are to protect ourselves

It is encouraging to see that the European Commission has many policies and actions on biodiversity and this editorial from “Science for Environment Policy” is republished with thanks.

Moylan’s anti-coal message is an international one

Anti-coal protester Jonathan Moylan has said the main reason for his ANZ sharemarket hoax was his concern about the health impacts of coal mining at Maules Creek. He stressed the impact of the mine on children’s health and on the climate. He also believed that ANZ was investing unethically.

Coal seam gas: just another land use in a big country

The following article first appeared at The Conversation and appears here under a Creative Commons licence.

Renewable targets fall short of the mark 19/12/12

Doctors warn of health hazards resulting from unambitious renewable energy targets.

Humble pushie beats the car

YEPPOON GP Juerg Draeyer has been practising what he preaches and riding his bicycle to work for the past five years.

Health impact justifies renewable energy

We thank Medical Observer for permission to republish; a shortened version of this article appeared in the 16th October edition.

Doctors Prescribe Bike Riding

Doctors will be cycling through Melbourne this Saturday morning as part of Bicycle Network Victoria’s Ride2Work Day activities.

Future under threat: climate change and children’s health

The following article appeared originally at the Conversation and appears here under a Creative Commons licence.

Eternal growth: neither possible nor healthy

A/Prof Hubertus Jersmann from Doctors for the Environment Australia explains why climate change means ill health.

Port Augusta; the National March and the Alliance Media Launch 12 September

Last year DEA SA released medical data on pollution and ill health in Port Augusta and addressed a community forum in the town.

Workshop Population Health Congress Adelaide Sept 10-12, 2012

Exploring the Health implications of Energy Choices

Climate science is not about ‘belief’: Chief Scientist

This article first appeared on The Conversation and appears here under a Creative Commons licence.

Wagging for a Workshop

by James Sterrey, medical student at The University of Sydney, and DEA NSW Metropolitan Student Representative

One Planet, How Many People? A Review of Earth’s Carrying Capacity. In-Depth Report

It is estimated that global population reached seven billion in late 2011 or early 2012. As global population has doubled since the 1960s, per capita GDP has grown to more than ten times what it was then. The human impact has grown to such a scale that it has become a major geophysical force. It is not surprising that concerns about the number of people the Earth can support have re-emerged recently. Attempts to define an upper limit of the number of people that the Earth could support are inevitably subject to considerable uncertainty, however, the greatest concentration estimates falls between 8 and 16 billion people — a range we are fast approaching. While there are many ways we might reduce our per capita impact on the planet, the collective impact will always be multiplied by global population, making population an issue which cannot be ignored. Read the Full report 

Coal curse: the black side of the subsidised resources boom

This article by Sturt Rosewarne and Linda Connor summarises the economic and occupational aspects of the industry. Our position is detailed in a briefing paper and in a policy paper  We thank the authors and the Conversation for permission to publish under creative commons”e

Inquiry into Environment Design and Public Health in Victoria 2012

Doctors for the Environment Australia made a submission  to this Inquiry which was prepared by Dr Marion Carey. The Report is now available and its findings are discussed by Dr Eugenie Kayak

The Rinehart dig at climate journalism

Doctors for the Environment Australia is publishing this article by Daniel Palmer because it raises some of the issues that we are increasingly likely to encounter in our advocacy for action on climate change. We thank the author and Climate Spectator for permission to publish

Diesel exhaust causes lung cancer and we subsidise its use

The World Health Organisation has concluded that “Diesel exhaust is a cause of lung cancer (sufficient evidence) and also noted a positive association (limited evidence) with an increased risk of bladder cancer” This is yet another compelling reason why subsidies for the use of diesel fuel should be stopped particularly in the resource industries. The article “Creating a stink about traffic pollution” reviews the dangers from traffic pollution and we thank the authors, Adrian Barnett, Joacim Rockov and Nicholas Graves and the Conversation for permission to republish the article Creating a stink about traffic pollution under creative commons…

Rio 2012 set for failure. Where do we go from here?

There has been little mainstream medical interest in Rio 2012 despite the fact that improvements in world health outcomes are intimately related to the out comes.

Coal seam gas is coming to Victoria, and we’re nowhere near ready

Having had a Senate Inquiry into CSG which attracted many expert submissions and produced a bipartisan report the states produce their own take on the science; it is a wasteful, confused system with little consideration of human health. It is now the turn of Victoria

New marine reserves won’t address UNESCO’s Reef concerns

We thank Terry Hughes, Federation Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and the Conversation for permission to publish under creative commons.

How contact with nature can benefit our health.

Instinctively, we want contact with nature – we’d all like the office with a view of the park instead of a view of the carpark. Yet few doctors are aware of the health benefits associated with regular contact with nature and this is despite an ever expanding evidence base. I hope this article will inspire you to bring nature into your practice and the prescription of a ‘green hour’ into your management plan for the wellbeing of not only your patients and your staff but for you too.

Wind Turbine Syndrome: mass hysteria in the 21st Century?

The patients suffered from nervous excitability, with buzzing noises in the ear, giddiness, and neuralgic pains … in some cases …objective lesions, such as a subinflammatory condition of the membrane tympani … All the trouble speedily vanishes if the ear is allowed a sufficient measure of physiological rest; this it can only obtain by the cause of the evil being withdrawn. The victims … seem all to be of markedly nervous organization, and the moral may be drawn that such persons should not use the telephone. British Medical Journal, September 21, 1889

The Great Barrier Reef at a crossroads- UNESCO Report

His article is a rational appraisal of the UNESCO report based on legal opinion and not on political blame which has obscured the realities of recent events. The final paragraph of the article summarises the abject folly of the developments which threaten survival of the reef.

Mining is digging the heart out of conservation covenants

This is an issue of great concern to DEA; it is perhaps the reflection of the immaturity of a society when the right to mine overrides some of the fundamentals for human health. Human dependence on biodiversity is built into our submissions to governments. In the article on Covenants the Bimblebox Nature Refuge is mentioned. In its submission on the EIS for Mr Palmer’s Waratah Coal’s proposed Galilee Coal Project, we said “this loss (of the refuge) would be of remnant native vegetation used for minimal impact sustainable grazing and the biodiversity that has adapted to this system, a unique experiment that has brought sustainable co-existence between grazing and conservation recognised in surveys of the biodiversity and government support under the Federal National Reserve System program”. Mr Palmer has said “Under that grading you’re allowed to mine it, build on it, build houses on it, do anything on it”.

Germany, solar technology, human health and Australian government failure.

Solar energy has no health hazards and low green house emissions. Germany forges ahead with its use. Some Australian states are reducing their commitment to solar and indeed Queensland has recently cancelled a project at Cloncurry approved by the previous government. It prefers coal seam gas although this threatens farming land and water resources.

Climate change is the biggest health threat of the 21st century. A primer of the literature

In 2009 the Lancet stated “Climate change is the biggest health threat of the 21st century” This article is intended for the student members of Doctors for the Environment Australia but all doctors are life-long students, so we hope it will be used by all. It is the second of two Primers on climate change science and health impacts. The first article is here

Abolition of fossil fuel and diesel subsidies are health measures

Doctors for the Environment Australia maintains its commitment to advocacy on climate change because this is one of the biggest threats to human health this century. Our quest to reduce fossil fuel usage is integral to action on climate change.

Brown coal, carbon capture and storage and the Victorian government

The most recent setback to efforts to reduce greenhouse emission is the push from the Victorian government to develop brown coal resources. The basis for this is to export it – and leave the importing nations to account for the emissions. The proposal is tacitly supported by the notion that clean coal technology (CCS) is ‘coming’ and will improve the efficiency of burning brown coal. There have been several spectacular failures to develop the technology and we are left with the realisation that continued government funding for its development  may be just a front to continue mining and polluting. The following article. Coal’s burning question – how much difference can technology make to emissions? discusses the use of brown coal in Victoria and we thank the author Damon Honnery and the Conversation for permission to publish under creative commons. To read the technological side of the issue go to the article Carbon capture and storage – a vital part of our climate change response. Additional recommended reading is at the end of this article

Assessment and acceptance of risk is essential in acting on climate change

The acceptance of risk is essential to facilitating action on climate change. The worldwide insurance industry measures risk to property and its premiums are soaring due to extreme weather events which they attribute partially to climate change. Climate risk is also developing a legal basis  In Australia local governments in many coastal areas have accepted the report Climate change risks to Australia’s coasts and are taking action on planning and mitigation. Federal and state parliaments are involved in ideological warfare on climate change have clearly not accepted the degree of risk to the nation or they suffer from cognitive dissonance as detailed in the excellent article by Marion Carey.
The article Highway to Dystopia; time to wise up to the looming risks by John Crawford and co-authors was originally published the Conversation and we thank the authors and the Conversation for permission to republish under Creative Commons.This article further develops the concept of risk using a recent report from the World Economic Forum and should be read in conjunction with a DEA report to the Senate on complex systems. Now read on;-

Reframing climate change could deliver health benefits

Climate change is a complex problem but appears to many people as lacking immediate impact on their lives. Reconceptualising it as a health issue may allow for both better understanding of the issue and greater scope for changing behaviour.

Clear the air in coal versus health debate

DEA Editorial Comment; This article talks about DEA’s submission opposing this huge project. There seems to be inevitability about the approval of this project which is expected to impose more pollution on an already polluted city. An editorial in the Newcastle Herald on the same day indicates the economic and job opportunities provided. The conflict between these and health is discussed in the DEA article below.

An ABC of Climate Science; core references

This initiative was stimulated by the department of Climate Change issuing a response to Ian Plimer’s 101 climate questions. In late 2011, Professor Ian Plimer, a geology professor and expert mineralogist with no background in climate science, released his latest book How to get expelled from school: a guide to climate change for pupils, parents and punters.

Black carbon, methane and action on climate change, an update.

This is an important topic because simple action on these short term pollutants reduces global temperature immediately. Their health impacts are therefore important. A year ago we provided an ABC on this topic and pointed out Australia’s role in this pollution. Black carbon is produced with the burning of forest floor waste, prescribed burns, the burning of agricultural waste and the use of diesel combustion engines. Methane pollution is a major mainly unaddressed problem in Australia from the fugitive emissions from coal seam gas wells and from the emissions by livestock. Methane emissions are increasing internationally.

Club of Rome Report issues a warning about humanity’s ability to survive without directional change

The Club of Rome, is an international think-tank that focuses on stimulating debate on achieving a sustainable future. The Club is continuing its tradition of supporting work that raises fundamental questions and promotes far-sighted solutions. Its reports are important because they utilise both scientific and economic thinking. . Its mission is to undertake forward-looking analysis and assessment on ways forward to a happier, more resilient and sustainable planet. www.clubofrome.org.

How exposure to lead impacts human health

Editorial Comment
Lead poisoning has to be added to the many health hazards arising from the more extreme floods occurring with climate change. The ABC Radio National program Lead Poisoning; a silent epidemic, describes how the wave of home renovation after the floods in Queensland resulted in lead paint stripped from houses increased exposure to lead in childhood. This is an excellent program with a list of references.

To the long list of infective conditions secondary to flooding it is apparent that we must add mobilisation of chemicals and heavy metals from the environment. The floods caused a washout of herbicide into coastal waters and the discharge of heavy metals from flooded coal mines into river catchments.

Illness and Pollution at Port Augusta; Doctors Prescribe Solar Thermal Treatment

There is an important public health message for power producers and governments. It is no longer appropriate to harm people by burning air polluting fossil fuels when there are healthy alternatives.

Sustainable Anaesthesia is important to medical research and to climate change

In the May 2012 edition of the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia there are a number of “highly sustainable” articles to be read. I commend you to peruse this edition of the aforementioned journal neither because it’s interesting nor because Forbes McGain et al wrote 3 of the articles! Instead such publications in the mainstream, peer reviewed medical literature indicates that sustainability, resource use and climate change are attracting attention in the world of medical research and because such interest adds to advocacy efforts.

Another hugely successful conference ‘iDEA 2012’

Many medical students enter their course believing they will be able to make a difference to the lives of others. Rarely is this more apparent than at a student conference concerned about the health impacts of climate change.

Stumbling in the ‘green tape’ spin

With only inverted commas signalling the spin, the news media have happily recycled the term ‘green tape’, the latest rhetorical gambit by those decrying environmental protections as unnecessarily delaying development. It’s a term that undercuts the rationale for hard won legislation, with a cynical ‘sleight of tongue’.

Heat stroke, climate change and the elderly

The increased attention to this topic in Australia and North America reflects the increasing incidence of heat deaths and the need for public health and community measures to address the issue.

The Psychological Impacts of Climate Change

This article is based upon an important new report on The Psychological effects of global warming in the United States. The report will be put in the context of previous work in Australia including that by Doctors for the Environment Australia.

A Message from David Suzuki; the power of Corporations

I suggest that the name David Suzuki will be known to all those truly interested in the future of the World. In a letter to friends and organisations he says

Minister Burke- don’t mine the Tarkine!

Last month DEA’s Dr Dimity Williams- a Melbourne GP and passionate tree lover- went deep into the Tarkine with the crew from GetUp to help raise awareness on the threat to the Tarkine posed by mining see link : http://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/save-our-forests/tony-burke/dont-mine-the-tarkine

Tarkine Wilderness another victim of the Mining Boom

For eight years conservationists have fought to have the Tarkine rainforest in Tasmania included on the National Heritage List. Yet despite its eligibility it is under threat from large mining projects and a federal government reluctant to give responsibility for its listing to an independent arbiter.

Climate change, catastrophic risk and disaster law

We thank the author Rosemary Lister, Professor of Climate and Environmental Law at University of Sydney and The Conversation for permission to publish under creative commons.

Sustainability. The most Corrupted Word in the English Language

If you have any commitment to the future of humanity you will groan when you see the word sustainability. It must be the most corrupted word in the English language, a corruption of Orwellian proportions. When used to name a government department it immediately rings warning bells. In Victoria there is a Department of Sustainability and Environment which “leads the Victorian Government’s efforts to sustainably manage….. climate change.” This week it lead a demolish program.

It’s time to Getup! and save the Tarkine

A few weeks ago I was thrilled to be part of an expedition into the Tarkine rainforest of Tasmania organised by Getup! as part of their campaign to protect this great wilderness area. Getup! had selected a diverse group of participants from their large membership based on responses to a passionate call to action for the Tarkine.

Energy White Paper: The true cost of backwards thinking

By George Crisp and David Shearman on 20 March 2012 in Renew Economy.  We thank Renew Economy.
The Draft Energy White Paper (EWP) displays a grave misunderstanding of energy issues in the 21st century……

Coal seam gas health effects need more scrutiny

This article by DEA Committee Member Marion Carey was published in Medical Observer 20 March 2012.  We thank medical Observer for permission to publish.

The Tarkine Forest under threat – Again

This article on the Tarkine Forest and related issues formed the basis of a March newsletter to all members of Doctors for the Environment Australia.

Behind the Seams: who’s asking questions about coal seam gas and health?

by David Shearman and Marion Carey, of Doctors for the Environment Australia
from Crikey March 8, 2012 http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/03/08/behind-the-seams-whos-asking-questions-about-coal-seam-gas-and-health/
We thank the Editor of crikey for permission.

The Greening of Medicine

By Ray Moynihan

The Rally at Acland to oppose the Injustices of a Coal Mine

By Karin English 2nd Year medical student at the University of Queensland, Ipswich

Coal Seam gas: future bonanza or toxic legacy?

Article for ACL Viewpoint magazine 23 January 2012
By Dr Marion Carey, VicHealth Senior Research Fellow, Monash Sustainability Institute

Environmental and Development Challenges: the Imperative to Act

DEA readers were introduced to the Millennium Alliance in 2009
http://mahb.stanford.edu/
The statement which follows comes from some of the most perceptive brains in the world and is published by MHAB

Living in the dusty shadow of coal mining

AUSTRALIA’S resources boom is already generating a lot of dust, noise and fumes, and the amount stirred up is only going to increase, given plans by miners to double coal and iron ore extraction this decade.


Yet state and federal governments are doing surprisingly little to monitor and regulate these impacts on the people living in the shadow of mining and energy projects. While state governments require companies to submit voluminous environmental impact statements, designed to protect flora and fauna, less is being done to protect people….

 

…A group of concerned doctors has written to federal and state ministers about the risks for the population near this mine. Doctors for the Environment, which includes Gustav Nossal on its scientific committee, says in a letter to federal Environment Minister Tony Burke that the expansion to a four million tonne annual operation had already subjected the surrounding population to “serious pollution which is likely to have affected their health and this situation has existed since 2006 when stage 2 commenced.

 

Emeritus professor David Shearman told Burke it “beggars belief” that the company has not produced adequate data on PM2.5 levels and that of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which are commonly found in high levels around coal mines.

 

However the data that is presented, though inadequate, suggests that air quality has been unacceptable for some years,” he wrote.

 

DEA requests action from Minister Burke over Queensland’s Acland coal mine

The Acland open cast coal mine, stages 1 and 2 are in operation in Queensland producing 4.0Mtpa.

DEA writes to Minister Burke over mining threats to Reef

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) has taken the unusual step of writing to Minister Burke and publishing the letter (below) simultaneously.  DEA sees the issue as urgent and one that cannot be left to the usual niceties of communication.

Climate Change & Health Report Launch

The Climate Commission launched an important Climate Change & Health report on November 2011. DEA endorsed the report which was co-authored by DEA Scientific Committee member Professor Tony McMichael. Also at the launch was DEA management committee member and GP Dr Ben Ticehurst

“Coal a Health Hazard” Say Doctors

Health advocate against tobacco, Dr Kingsley Faulkner has turned his sights on coal as a major direct and indirect health hazard.
“Australia is addicted to coal and we need to embrace alternatives to our reliance on it, as it is making many of us sick.” said Dr Faulkner.

The air you breathe can harm your health

The following article, by Dr George Crisp, first appeared in Medical Observer on 5th Sep 2011.  It appears below with the kind permission of Medical Observer.

Coal’s Control of Government

Many thanks to PhD candidate Sonya Duss, from the Fenner School of Environment & Society at ANU, for this article. A referenced version of this article is downloadable via the adjacent link.

Health, mining reform needed for coal seam gas industry

Enough evidence has emerged at the Senate Inquiry into coal seam gas to merit significant reform orchestrated by the Federal Government.

Health, coal and climate change

Mr Abbott visits coal mines to say “No to carbon tax”; the Prime Minister supports new coal mines; the Australian Coal Association director Ralph Hillman says the government’s proposed carbon tax would add to the costs of Australian coalminers, “while our competitors will bear no such burden”.

Too Many Questions About Open Cut Coal

At a time when the State government is negotiating the expansion of the Anglesea open-cut coal mine, people living in Anglesea and the Greater Geelong Region are entitled to be informed of the potential adverse health effects associated with the coal industry in general and this mine in particular. One of the buildings closest to the Anglesea mine is the newly opened Anglesea Primary school.

Wildlife, biodiversity, climate change, population and economic growth

We need more politicians who will talk at public meetings about the damage to ecology–our life support systems. This is exactly what Kelvin Thomson MP is doing in his talk “The impact of population growth on wildlife” which is published below. In publishing this, with his permission, I make the point that we will publish articles from members of other parties if they fit within our policy framework.

Neglect of this patient will affect all of us

This article by an SA medical student member of DEA first appeared in Medical Observer.

Coal seam gas: a sleight of hand?

Gas giant Woodside has made a presence in the popular media this week, claiming that gas represents a pathway to a cleaner, better world.

Fears over gas drilling more than hot air

Last night’s ABC Four Corners program on coal seam gas can be a first important step in reform to protect the public’s health.

Population & Health

The following article appears this week in Medical Observer.  The author is DEA national committee member and GP, Dr George Crisp.

WHO – Children’s Environmental Health Training Modules

A collection of over 30 modules with internationally harmonised information and peer-reviewed materials to enable health care workers to be trained, and also to become trainers of their peers and colleagues.

Green Doctors – Anaesthetic Life

The following article was authored by DEA Victorian chair Dr Eugenie Kayak.  An earlier version first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2010 editions of Anaesthetic Life & Surgical Life – publications of Medical Life Publishing.  We thank them for permission to present the article here.

Coal Ash and Mercury: why coal is a health hazard

David Shearman and Mariann Lloyd Smith write today at ABC online unleashed:

Hypocritical Canada and the asbestos trade, a brief review of a world problem

The ravages of asbestos induced lung disease are well known to the Australian community, but the problem continues throughout the world particularly in developing countries. This is a brief review of asbestos as a world problem. together with three key references.

Future Justice edited by Helen Sykes; climate change and justice

In making representations to our colleagues on the need to mitigate climate change we should not delude ourselves that all will bow to the reasoning of science, nor to the tenets of natural justice. Both are often sullied by self interest and ideology. When asking a colleague to contribute to climate change education I was greeted with silence- so I resorted to “You have young children what about their future?” The response was “that’s their problem” It was my turn to be silent!

Biodiversity, a fundamental for Human Health – an update

Three years ago DEA produced a poster on Biodiversity – the Web of Life. It asked “Will the next generation inhabit a healthy earth?” The poster was very popular especially with schools.

Fracking for coal gas is a health hazard

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to shatter rock strata and force coal seam gas to the surface. It is then refined into natural gas for fuel. The emerging problems of water contamination from fracking are being reported from many sources. They raise the entire question of government responsibilities to the community in the sphere of public health.

Economic Health Growth

The words ‘economic growth’ appear in most news bulletins and political articles in the press. This poster raises the issue that growth in many ways is a health hazard for it is incompatible with a sustainable future for humanity.

Climate Change HEALTH blog – Paul Roth

Climate Change HEALTH is a new blog by Dubbo GP Dr Paul Roth covering news and views on climate, health and the environment. Launched early July 2009, there are already 31 posts covering topics like basic climate science, effects of global warming, and the health effects of climate change.

When We Die-a case for easier deaths and natural burials

Not many lectures are a work of art. This one is, in more ways than one. Bryan Furnass, DEA Member, welds ecological and medical knowledge, using Western art and literature, to create a masterpiece. When you read it you will both learn and enjoy the experience. Don’t miss it!

Clean coal (CCS) and Climate Change

The announcement of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute at the G8 meeting by Mr. Rudd and President Obama and the support from 23 governments, 100 companies and with James Wolfensohn and Nicholas Stern on its advisory board was reported as the one positive feature of the meeting. Let us analyse whether this is positive or negative for the containment of green house emissions

Owning solar panels in South Australia has become more attractive!

This article describes the Feed-In Scheme for Small-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Installations in South Australia

Climate Change. A Letter to DEA from the Treasurer the Hon. Wayne Swan

Early in 2008, Doctors for the Environment Australia wrote to all Federal parliamentarians about climate change. Because of the urgency of reducing greenhouse emissions we asked them to “Write to us yourself and tell us what you are doing personally (i.e. within your household) to address the problem of climate change. Let us know how you are showing leadership within your electorate and please send to us any messages you are using in your newsletters to constituents.

Climate Change at the 2020 Summit. Success or Failure?

I was not at the 2020 summit, nor did I apply. Therefore my comments relate entirely to the written report, the submissions and the press comments of others who were there.

Greening your Hospital: some useful sites for information

Doctors for the Environment Australia has had many requests for help from members regarding sustainability in their hospitals. Most say that it is difficult to find sources of information.

Seeds of Concern- -the Genetic Manipulation of Plants

Seeds of Concern: The Genetic Manipulation of Plants – Part One – 11/04/2004 by Dr David Murray

Futureworld Eco-Technology Centre

I would like to alert DEA members and invite them to give their support to the Futureworld Eco-Technology Centre in Coniston, Wollongong. Futureworld is a not for profit community based organization almost entirely dependent on volunteers. The Centre also has strong connections to the University of Wollongong.
The Eco-Technology Centre will be opening shortly and will exhibit cutting edge, developing and current commercially available environmentally friendly technologies including energy saving technologies. Three Illawarra environmental technology world firsts, the Solar Sailor, Energetec’s Wave Power and Brightstar Environmental Solid Waste to Energy (SWERF) will be demonstrated.



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