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The Murray-Darling needs life support with expert team management

The Murray issue is just one of several complex issues that governments can no longer manage for the future, simply because human nature being as it is, electoral needs and demands will always hold sway. Management of the Great Barrier Reef and climate change policy fit into the same category — they must be taken out of the political sphere. 

NSW election: our chance to vote 1 for climate and health

The Lancet has described tackling climate change as the ‘greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.’ The upcoming NSW election is one of those opportunities to improve our health, but we need to vote for politicians who will take climate change seriously. Tackling climate change will involve moving rapidly to renewable energy. 

A little brown rodent is the first mammalian extinction attributable to climate change. 

In the wake the demise of  the Bramble Cay melomy, DEA's biodiversity committee convenor, Dimity Williams, says Australia needs to act quickly, as both extensive habitat loss and climate change are major factors in further extinctions. For example, there is near complete loss of old growth forests in Victoria. "Areas they have left are very small and they are vulnerable to severe weather events." 
She said that while many people would question why the extinction of the Bramble Cay melomy should matter to any one individual, the answer lies in humankind's reliance on all natural systems for health. From ecosystems that clean water, air and provide food, to the medicines and anti-venom that come from plants and animals, human rely on all sorts of ecosystems to continue functioning.

Brisbane Times: After the deluge, north Queenslanders face a deadly new threat 

DEA's Queensland Chair Dr Beau Frigault writes about the deadly disease meliodosos that has emerged after the record-breaking monsoon in north Queensland. One person has died from melioidosis since the flood, and a further nine people remain in hospital, some of whom are in intensive care. In a city that would normally see a handful of cases a year, this is a significant increase. There may be many more cases of melioidosis to come, as symptoms can show up two to four weeks after exposure. While Queensland has a record of severe weather, yet another "once-in-a-century" event shows how climate change is wreaking havoc on our communities.

Black Saturday: What have we learnt?

Dr John Iser writes in Independent Australia about the Black Saturday bushfires.
In the ten years since the bushfires of 2009, many improvements have happened in fire prevention and management. However the fundamental major contributing factors to bushfires - heatwaves combined with drought as a consequence of climate change - have been given only lip-service by many in government. 

There’s no healthy debate on mine impacts - by Dr John Van Der Kallen

In a stunning landmark decision, this week the NSW Land and Environment Court recognised the scientific evidence for climate change and the urgent need to reduce emissions. For this reason, and for the negative impacts on the local community, the court dismissed the appeal and ruled against the opening of a new coal mine at Rocky Hill. 

DEA in the news - Dr Ben Ewald's NSW air quality study

DEA has released new air pollution report this week, widely reported in the media. The study has shown that air pollution is actually worsening in parts of Sydney and NSW, despite government assurances that they take emissions regulations seriously. Following the release of the report which he authored Dr Ben Ewald writes – ‘Air quality is worse than ever in NSW and is "a steady drag" on the health of much of the population.’  Fine particles carry the greatest health burden, proven to cause death, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, type two diabetes and low birth weight for babies, and they are suspected of causing dementia. Read more...

Media release: Major new report sounds alarm over worsening air pollution in NSW

A comprehensive new report released today by Doctors for the Environment Australia shows NSW’s air quality deteriorated markedly in 2018, overshooting the national standards several times and putting the health of people at risk, especially in parts of Sydney and in the Hunter.

Media release: Doctors call for no more coalmines after Court rejects Rocky Hill on climate change grounds

Doctors call for an end to further extensions of existing coalmines or new mines, such as the Galilee Basin, after a landmark ruling in the NSW Land and Environment Court firmly rejected the Rocky Hill open cut coalmine proposal. 

ABC radio - The World Today on heatwaves

Australia has had it's hottest month on record - the mean average temperature was greater 30 degrees, and records are tumbling.  DEA's Dr John van der Kallen interviewed by the ABC about the health impacts of climate change and talks about the increase in frequency of these events going into the future. 

NSW power stations emissions standards to be reviewed under Labor

A Labor government in NSW has promised to review the emissions standards of all NSW's coal-fired power stations, after their current licences have been renewed by the NSW EPA without significant change. DEA's Dr Ben Ewald said "The decision makers in the EPA are ignoring compelling health reasons to clean up power station air pollution. Modern pollution controls are required on vehicles, so why not power stations?"

Mandatory gas connections are out of step with tackling climate change

New building estates forced to install gas pipelines

DEA's Dr David Shearman and Prof. Melissa Haswell write that while state governments are embracing our urgent need for renewable energy transitions, regulations for large housing developments are lagging behind, facing mandated connections to gas infrastructure within their contracts. Mandatory gas connections are anti-choice, anti-competitive and contrary to combatting climate change. 

Media release: Major new report sounds alarm over worsening air pollution in NSW

A comprehensive new report released today by Doctors for the Environment Australia shows NSW’s air quality deteriorated markedly in 2018, overshooting the national standards several times and putting the health of people at risk, especially in parts of Sydney and in the Hunter.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of bushfires

Health and the Tasmanian bushfires

 "Tasmania’s usually pristine air is clouded with bushfire smoke", write DEA doctors Anna Johnston and Zoe Ling. Doctors around the state are treating significant health problems exacerbated by toxic bushfire fumes – asthma, heart attacks, strokes, premature births and poor diabetes control. Current government policies are woefully inadequate in limiting warming. The situation will only get worse without effective action.

Independent Australia: The economics of climate change

While the rich get richer, not only do the poor get poorer but the environment continues to suffer, writes Dr David Shearman.

SMH Opinion: A doctor's prescription for beating the heat

As a GP working in western Sydney, where temperatures can be hotter than the rest of the city, Dr Sujata Allan sees how heat affects vulnerable people every day. She writes that doctors are doing everything they can to ensure patients stay safe in extreme heat, but they cannot in good faith dispense short-term health tips for heatwaves without an urgent plea to tackle climate change.  "The fact that this much-needed climate leadership is glaringly absent makes me sick," says Dr Allan.

ABC Opinion: Why the Western diet needs to shift to a 'planetary health diet' in the age of climate change

Nutritionist and dietitian Dr Rosemary Stanton, who is part of DEA's Scientific Advisory Committee, and DEA member Dr Kris Barnden, examine the results of a recent major scientific report by The Lancet-EAT commission. The three-year study calls for transformative change in how we grow our food and what we eat to improve health, save the planet from further damage to our environment and feed an anticipated 10 billion people by 2050. 

The Guardian: Extreme heatwave all-time temperature records fall across parts of Australia

Many states this week announced health warnings about the ongoing heatwave, which has seen record-breaking temperatures in various parts of Australia. DEA member Dr Sujata Allan who works as a GP in western Sydney, which can have maximum temperatures that are as much as 10C higher than in coastal areas, was interviewed by the Guardian about the impact a changing climate can have on human health.

Daily Telegraph: Elite athletes' fiercest opponent

As some of the world's great tennis players celebrate their wins at the end of a gruelling tournament at the Australian Open, they would no doubt think all the sacrifices they’ve made have all been worth it. But, writes Dr Beau Frigault, DEA's  Queensland state chair, exposure from extreme heat might soon be too high a price for some athletes — and spectators — to pay. 

Why We Need Forests and Native Vegetation for Our Health: Fact Sheet

Forests and native vegetation like grasslands, wetlands and woodlands support our health and the environment in which we live. From purifying our air and water to providing food, medicines and places of psychological restoration. 

How Land Clearing Harms Our Health: Fact Sheet

Forests and native vegetation like grasslands, wetlands and woodlands are vital to our wellbeing yet in Australia we are currently seeing an explosion in land clearing. This has wide ranging and harmful implications for human health.

An Australian Healthcare Sustainability Unit (HSU)  - DEA Proposal

A Healthcare Sustainability Unit (HSU) would assist the Australian health care system (primary, secondary and tertiary) to deliver quality health care in environmentally and financially sustainable ways. A HSU could lead research, policy development, system changes and education of staff, fulfilling a central national co-ordinating role for maximum effectiveness and successful implementation of initiatives at state, regional, health network, hospital and practice levels.

Download the DEA HSU Proposal 01-19

Making your practice more eco-friendly

"Our health care sector contributes a hefty 7% to Australia's carbon footprint. But DEA doctors Richard Yin and George Crisp have taken steps to change that in their Perth practice. View the full article from the Medical Observer here."

Join us in Hobart for iDEA 2019!

iDEA 2019 Conference 5th-7th April

Join us in Hobart for iDEA, our annual conference!

State of the Environment Report

The State of the Environment Report released Thursday 20th December by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology emphasises again that climate change is happening now and Australia is vulnerable to it. Key findings are that warming of 1°C has occured since 1910, heatwaves are happening over land and sea, rainfall and streamflows are declining across much of southern Australia, sea levels are rising, and the bushfire season is longer.....

A doctor's prescription for climate change

The 2018 State of the Climate report again highlights the risks to our planet our health and our well-being. DEA's Colin Butler explains that when we've overdosed on fossil fuels "As with a real vaccine, which requires a tiny dose of something potentially harmful we seem to need a dose of poison (in this case fear) before we act. We also need hope...."  View the full article here

Sound The Alpenhorn!

Dr David Shearman argues Australia should follow Switzerland's lead and develop a comprehensive climate change plan.

Green Prescriptions

The health benefits of our natural environment are worth protecting, argues Dr John Van Der Kallen.

The irony of healthcare

As health professionals, we have an expected overriding duty of care to do no harm and advocate for action to protect health and humanity. Yet few of us consider the health consequences associated with the significant ecological footprint, including greenhouse gas emissions, of our workplaces.

How to green your practice

Drs Sharon Muir and Michelle Crockett have built a practice that is not only making a difference to the health and wellbeing of their local community, it's making a difference to the environment too.

Preventing heat related disease in general practice

DEA Members Drs Peter Tait, Sujata Allan & Anthea Katelaris have published a paper in the Australian Journal Of General Practice  aiming to introduce GPs to heat-related morbidity and mortality.  

Climate change denial is delusion, and the biggest threat to human survival

Climate denial is dangerous - it's delaying our urgent need for emissions reduction. Climate policy must be guided by scientific expert opinion and removed from political chicanery by the implementation of new environmental laws which have application to health.

Doctor Portal - Children and climate change: no time for games

Paediatrician and DEA member, Dr Karen Kiang and Professor David Isaacs write that without urgently reducing emissions, climate change threatens the the very foundations of children’s health. We are already seeing the health impacts of a warming planet, and Australia is one of the most climate vulnerable countries of the developed world. 

Sydney Morning Herald: Climate change threatens our children's health as well as their future

From Prof. Fiona Stanley and Dr George Crisp an urgent reminder that it’s children who will suffer most if we fail to take effective action to reduce emissions. Children are especially vulnerable to the health impacts of a warming climate. As doctors, we have a role and responsibility to speak out and advocate for their future health and security. 

WA paediatric immunologist writes in Medical Observer about DEA's NTFG Campaign and why it's important......

Professor Susan Prescott,  a West Australian paediatric immunologist, believes doctors must be involved in political action on climate change for the sake of future generations.  

No Time For Games Summary Report Update (2018)

Climate change is the greatest threat to human health in the current century, with our children living in a world of rising temperatures and increasing extreme weather events. Children are especially vulnerable and face growing threats from communicable diseases (diarrhoea, vector-borne diseases) and non-communicable diseases (asthma, malnutrition), injuries, and mental health impacts because of the changing climate and related extreme weather events.

New report from EJA. The Health Burden of fine particle pollution from electricity generation in NSW.

Dr Ben Ewald, DEA member, GP and epidemiologist has written a report for Environmental Justice Australia on the annual health burden from exposure to fine particle pollution from the five coal fired power stations in NSW.

Bylong Coal Project submission

Dr Kathleen Wild represented DEA at the recent Independent Planning Commission meeting in Mudgee regarding the Bylong Coalmine proposal. It was the last opportunity for the community to try and stop the “green fields”  proposal. There were over 60 presentations flanked by a heavy police presence. Kathleen did an excellent job outlining the importance of keeping coal in the ground to reduce carbon emissions.

Impassioned call for doctors to lead on climate change | Croakey

DEA Chair, Professor Kingsley Faulkner spoke Wednesday 21st November to a conference of Australian and New Zealand emergency doctors, issuing "an impassioned call to arms to ED doctors on the moral and ethical imperative of climate change, an issue with significant implications for their work". He spoke of the wide ranging health effects and the urgency for action on climate change.

The dirty truth: Australia's most polluted post codes 

"A new report by the Australian Conservation Foundation finds 90% of the burden of air pollution falls on low and middle income households, while wealthier Australians experience only a fraction of annual national emissions. Of the five most polluted postal areas, coal-fired power stations are the largest emitters in three, while mining operations create the most in the other two. The most polluted urban areas are often located on the fringes of major population centres, including the Port of Brisbane, Altona in Melbourne, Botany Bay and Port Adelaide".

Why aren't public institutions managing the greatest public health threat of the 21st century?

DEA member Kathleen Wild spoke at the NSW Independent Planning Commission on why the proposed Bylong Valley coal mine should not go ahead. She explains why in an article published in the Newcastle Herald Monday November 19th.

New report on Electricity Policy for Australia

A new report out today by Honorary Associate Professor, NSW, Mark Diesendorf, published by the Australia Institute is a road map to a 100% renewable electricity system, essential if Australia is to play its part in limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Dr Amanda Bethell

Coal ash dam, Port Augusta GP speaks out

DEA SA Committee member, Leanne Nguyen, caught up with Dr Bethell to talk to her about health impacts relating to increased dust storms events in the region after the closure of Port Augusta’s two coal-powered stations and what has motivated her to take-action as a medical professional.

The West Australian: Ban fracking to protect our community's health

Although the Western Australian inquiry into fracking has been concluded, the State Government is yet to release its recommendations on the future of this industry. Former Australian of the Year, Professor Fiona Stanley, and WA DEA Chair Dr Richard Yin write that a public health approach would favour caution until the evidence for the industry's safety is clear.

The Driven: Australian doctors call for better EV policy in wake of WHO air pollution report

Australia has significant pollution levels, and needs to phase out coal and to reform vehicle emissions controls, following the release of a WHO report that highlighted the terrible impacts of air pollution, particularly on children.  DEA's Dr Graeme McLeay told The Driven, that despite the urgency, the ministerial forum on electric vehicles in 2015  has so far lead to “zero action”, and added that something must be done, and soon. 

Fairfax regional: Climate change is bad for schoolkids, too

Over the next few weeks, school and university students will be sitting their end of year exams. Often an anxious occasion, the latest research shows these end of year assessments will likely prove to be challenging for one reason more than most – the heat, writes Dr Beau Frigault.

The Saturday Paper: Climate change claims its first mammal extinction

The Bramble Cay melomys is the first mammal species whose demise can be attributed directly to climate change. Rising global temperatures will have grim outcomes for many living things. DEA's National Chair Professor Kingsley Faulkner, who was interviewed for this article, highlights that human health will be a major cost. 

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