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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. 

Protecting Children's Health in a Changing Climate

Climate change is not only the biggest global health threat this century, it has also become the most urgent  health threat. The impacts of climate change at 1°C rise of global warming are already apparent. Weather extremes have resulted in record-breaking fires, floods, storms, heat waves and droughts. Our children are at the greatest risk from climate change-- their bodies and minds are less able to cope with extreme weather and they also stand to lose most in terms of life years lost.   

The Conversation: We have so many ways to pursue a healthy climate – it's insane to wait any longer

"As a broadly trained life scientist, my concern about climate change isn’t the health of the planet. The rocks will be just fine! What worries me is a whole spectrum of “wicked” challenges, from sustaining food production, to providing clean water, to maintaining wildlife diversity and the green environments that ensure the survival of complex life on Earth", writes Nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty.

Australian health professionals' statement on climate change and health in The Lancet

DEA doctors join other Australian health professionals and scientists with a call to our government to act on climate change.  As The Lancet  article states, "The Australian Government's contemptuous dismissal of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including the panel's recommendation to dramatically reduce coal power by 2050, is unacceptable”.

 Seminar: Where to for health, the Environment and sustainability? 

Are you a doctor who is passionate about health, the environment and sustainability, or are keen to know more? Join us in person or by zoom in Brisbane on Saturday 27 October for our one-day seminar at the University of Queensland. REGISTER NOW!

Open Forum: South East Queensland’s green beacon in health care

The innovative design of the public hospital, which features large outdoor rooms and courtyards that run down the middle of the hospital, is expected to vastly improve patient outcomes and enhance the wellbeing of staff,  write DEA medical student members Kaiya Ferguson (2018 National Student Representative) and Edward Stois.

The West Australian (Letters): Offsets on gas vital for climate

If Western Australia were to be opened up to unconventional gas mining, emissions from this source alone would have the potential to exceed by three times Australia's total emissions budget for energy, writes DEA's WA Chair Dr Richard Yin. With the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report highlighting that we are in a climate emergency, it's time the Mark McGowan Government shows leadership on this critical issue. 

DEA urges Wentworth candidates to prioritise  #HealthyPlanetHealthyPeople

Doctors for the Environment Australia calls on all candidates in the Wentworth by-election on Saturday to support increased action on climate change. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report endorsed by the Australian Medical Association, highlights that we are in the midst of a climate emergency and urgent action is required to decarbonize, including the rapid phasing out of coal-fired electricity and an end to our dependence on fossil fuels.

Newcastle Herald: What pollution monitoring in Newcastle suburbs shows

Local residents in Newcastle have for years been complaining about air quality from diesel vehicles and locomotives, domestic wood heating, and coal fired power stations even though these are 30 to 95 kilometres away.  Dr Ben Ewald writes that the expansion of air pollution monitoring in Newcastle, with three new sites established at Mayfield, Carrington and Stockton four years ago, reveals disturbing results. 

Congratulations to Team DEA in the Melbourne Marathon!

Congratulations to our sensational DEA team at this year's Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival! Thank you to each and everyone of our wonderful runners who took their best stride forward past some of Melbourne's most iconic landmarks to raise essential funds for DEA, and for taking the healthy planet, healthy people message to the people of Melbourne.

MJAInsight: Health, environment impacts of fracking not adequately considered

Natural gas (primarily methane) has a reputation for being clean and “good” for the climate because burning gas for cooking, heating and power emits fewer pollutants compared with burning coal-- but it is the process of obtaining the gas that creates major health and environmental concerns, writes Professor Melissa Haswell.

Canberra Times: Probability and severity of global warming must be explored

As concerned citizens in Europe and the US take governments to the courts for their failure to act on climate change,  Dr Graeme McLeay asks whether the Australian government should now stand accused of the same negligence.

Submission to the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy - Improving resource approval efficiency consultation


 All resource development carries potential harms to human health, which is a human right.  Yet, “Improving resource approval efficiency consultation” does not include mention of the word “health”.  In this submission, DEA makes  number of recommendations to improve all aspects of community health for Queenslanders.

ABC Opinion: Climate change leading to 'solastalgia', the feeling you get when your home is wrecked

Climate change can lead to 'solastalgia', writes Dr Richard Yin ahead of Mental Health Week starting Monday 7 October.  While nostalgia relates to pain from leaving one's home, solastagia is the homesickness you have when your home or sense of place is damaged.

DEA prescription for a healthy Victoria

With the Victorian election coming up on November 24th, the DEA Victorian committee has considered what would DEA prescribe for a positive healthy outcome for our environment and population?  The resulting “Prescription for a Healthy Victoria 2018” document is available here with a simple list of asks and recommendations. 

Katherine Times: Medical specialists examine the risks of fracking in the NT

DEA member and public health  researcher, Professor Melissa Haswell, will discuss the evidence linking shale gas mining or fracking to environmental damage, worsening climate change and potential impacts on human health at the  Royal Australasian College of Physicians annual scientific meeting in the NT in October. Also Professor Haswell will urge the NT Government to develop alternatives to fracking that won’t  compromise the health of NT communities.

Media release:  Medical specialists examine the risks of fracking in the NT

The public health risks of unconventional gas mining of natural gas from underground shale deposits (often referred to as ‘fracking’), will be examined by Professor Melissa Haswell, a public health researcher and member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, at the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) Annual Scientific Meeting in the Northern Territory in October.  

Queensland Country Life: Our Future - Heat is on as climate change stokes the fire

Bushfires can have significant physical and psychological impacts on those who experience them, and pollutants from bushfires affect air quality, not only locally, but up to thousands of kilometres away from their source, writes DEA's Queensland Chair Dr Beau Frigault. 

Congratulations to our team in the Sydney Running Festival 2018!

A huge congratulations to our sensational NSW DEA members who participated in the Sydney Running Festival!  Thank you for fundraising for DEA, promoting an active lifestyle and raising awareness of the links between planetary and population health.

ABC Opinion: Human survival cannot be left to politicians. We're losing our life support systems

Why are we stripping the very foundations that sustain us? Biodiversity loss and climate change are together set to transform us to an alien world and our survival can't be left to politicians, writes DEA's Honorary Secretary Dr David Shearman.  

Independent Australia: The Morrison Government- an extraordinary health hazard

Climate change denial is the denial of many public health casualties. For example, the increasing number of injuries and deaths from extreme weather events and the psychological and economic trauma consequent to severe climatic change. New Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who when Treasurer carried coal into Parliament, has appointed avid anti-wind farm campaigner, Angus Taylor, as Energy Minister and ex-coal-company lawyer, Melissa Price, as Environment Minister. There has been no mention of climate change in either portfolio. Read more -->

NSW Hunter Valley coal mine pollution: doctors call on Ministers to visit and clear the air

Thirty NSW Hunter Valley doctors, including members of DEA,  are among 100 people who  have signed a joint letter to the NSW Ministers for Health and the Environment, asking them to visit the region and experience for themselves the poor air quality caused by the coal mining industry which is putting the community at risk.  Read more—>

Photo of a Regent Honeyeater, Hunter Valley, by Doug Beckers

Submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications - Australia’s faunal extinction crisis

Doctors for the Environment Australia is pleased to comment on this Enquiry for the extinction crisis reflects the rapid decline in biodiversity and ecological services, nationally and internationally, with grave implications for many aspects of human health and survival.

There are currently nearly 500 threatened faunal species and our current environment laws, especially the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC), are woefully inadequate.

A lack of biodiversity in faunal species impacts human health by threatening our food and water sources, current and potential medicines and crucial cultural and psychological wellsprings.

Download DEA's submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications - Australia’s faunal extinction crisis.

RN Late Night Live with Phillip Adams: Killing me softly with diesel

In Australia, air pollution kills more people than the annual road toll, yet, we are buying more and more diesel cars. In many European cities, diesel is banned, so why is Australia with its highly urbanised population so slow to act, especially given the potentially dire health implications?  Dr Graeme McLeay is a guest on Phillip Adams' show, Late Night Live. Read more-->

DEA step-by-step guide: Meet your MP

Do you want to meet with your local MP to advocate for a better world, but find political engagement to be a daunting prospect? We are proud to present this well-crafted and informative video on successfully meeting your local representative. Produced by DEA's medical student members, the step- by- step guide is a terrific resource for everyone, not only students! 

Newcastle Herald: Climate change will make droughts more frequent, making David Littleproud's comments even more extraordinary

Agriculture is on the frontline of a climate emergency. Farmers’ livelihoods depend on their capacity to survive changes such as drought; and everyone’s survival depends on their ability to continue growing our food. So why does Australia not have a plan to cope with climate change events? asks DEA's NSW Chair Dr John Van Der Kallen. Read more-->

ABC Opinion: Climate change is World War III, and we are leaderless

Along with the rest of the Western world, Australia now more than ever is bereft of leadership on crucial action to curb global warming, writes DEA’s Honorary Secretary Dr David Shearman. However in order to save lives, the need for change must be accepted by the corporate empires that pollute and exploit the natural environment, and by our political class starting with our new PM Scott Morrison. Read more—>

Newcastle Herald: New study finds that fine particle pollution from mining and power stations is shaving months from average life expectancy

Poor air quality is shortening the average life expectancy, a new international study published this week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters has found. It calculated an Australian with a life expectancy of 82.4 years in 2016 would lose 0.178 years from their life as a result of air pollution. Doctors for the Environment Australia has a long history of advocating for national reporting standards to protect health. Read more-->

Narrabri Coal Seam Gas and Public Health Conference

On 15-16th August 2018 DEA members from NSW (Dr John Van Der Kallen and Dr Helen Redmond) and Qld (Dr Geralyn McCarron and Professor Melissa Haswell) travelled to the north-west inland town of Narrabri to attend and speak at a Coal Seam Gas and Public Health Conference organised and chaired by North West Protection Advocacy. Narrabri Shire is the site of the Narrabri Gas Project of Santos, an 850 well coal seam gas field in the final stages of approval. Helen, Geralyn and Melissa all spoke at the conference, together with Shay Dougall and Dr Methuen Morgan. The audience included local townsfolk, farmers from surrounding regions and members of the Kamilaroi people. 

Photo by Michael Amadeus

Submission to the Review of the National Pollution Inventory (NPI)

In Australia, it is estimated that urban air pollution contributes to approximately 3,000 deaths annually – more than double the deaths of the national road toll. As part of its advocacy for cleaner air,  DEA has made a number of recommendations in a submission to a review of the National Pollution Inventory (NPI). Read more -->

2ser-FM: Spotlight on Doctors for the Environment Australia

2ser-FM's  Jess Klajman spoke with Dr Sujata Allan about Doctors for the Environment Australia. Central to the discussion was that DEA's core work is to highlight the clear link between healthy families and communities and a healthy environment. Read more -->

Newcastle Herald: Doctors say fireworks emissions should be included in national pollution review

Doctors for the Environment Australia has told a Federal 20-year review of the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI), which is considering submissions for a report to Australia’s environment ministers, that fireworks should be included for the first time. Read more -->

MJAInsight: Why doctors should care about the National Energy Guarantee

The federal government has been bullishly promoting its proposed signature energy policy, the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), which aims to ensure reliable and affordable ongoing electricity supply, despite rogue elements within the party, led by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who are set on derailing it. But there are important reasons why  Australia doctors should reject the NEG, write Drs Chris Juttner and John Iser. Read more -->

Prime7: CSG meeting

DEA members Dr Helen Redmond, Dr Geralyn McCarron and Prof Melissa Haswell recently spoke at a public health forum on coal seam gas exploration and the potentially serious damage this can have on health. The timely event took place in Narrabri, NSW, which is the centre of a proposed $3 billion gas operation.  Dr McCarron and Prof Haswell were interviewed on Prime7 about their concerns.  Read more -->

Independent Australia: The NEG and the "idiocy" of COALition climate change wars

Some members of the Coalition are in a state of denial — denial in the face of the global consequences of climate change, writes DEA's Dr Graeme McLeay.  Heatwaves and wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere are killing people and drought is again ravaging rural communities in Australia. Yet we are now in a surreal world where consequences and causes are disconnected, where science is ignored in the face of existential threats and where building coal-fired power stations is viewed by some in Government – such as former PM Abbott, Member for Hughes Craig Kelly and Resource Minister Matt Canavan, among others – as some sort of an answer to Australia’s future. Read more -->

The Guardian: Dirty coal: health fears of a town covered in dust from disused power station

A flawed rehabilitation of an ash dam has blown coal dust across Port Augusta (SA) and its 14,000 residents for the last two years, reports The Guardian. DEA's Honorary Secretary Dr David Shearman, who is quoted in this story, says the likely mixture of dust and small particles could pose a risk to locals’ health. 

Media release NEG “plus”: We need a national plan on power—but not one that’s toxic to health, urge doctors

Doctors are making a last minute plea to politicians at tomorrow’s Coalition party room meeting to reject proposals underwriting investment on new coal power plants in exchange for support of  the NEG national power plan, as this hazardous fuel would lead to more deaths and illness.

DEA on the ABC's Matter Of Fact With Stan Grant program

Did you see the ABC’s Matter Of Fact program on Australia’s preparedness for extreme weather events? DEA’s WA Chair Dr George Crisp, one of the experts on the panel, spoke about the health toll of climate change;  the Government’s continued inaction on curbing global warming in the face of local and international extreme weather events; challenged  myths about the so-called costs of power; and also highlighted that the solution to the climate chaos is not a technical issue but a political one.

Media release: Reject the NEG, urge doctors

Doctors urge energy ministers ahead of the COAG meeting on Friday to “reject absolutely” the current National Energy Guarantee proposal, as it will delay the necessary decarbonisation needed to stabilise rising emissions that are contributing to the harrowing extreme weather events in Australia and globally. 

The “C” word that must be uttered

Climate change is fundamentally a health issue. Doctors' groups need to face up to this truth and divest from hazardous fossil fuels, which are one of the primary drivers of rising temperatures, writes DEA's Richard Yin in this piece for doctorportal.

Text of letter on divestment sent to Royal Colleges (apart from RACP) and other doctors' organisations

In welcome news, the American Medical Association recently voted to divest their financial holdings from fossil fuel companies. To date the only major medical organisation in Australia to move its investments from these hazardous fuels has been the RACP. DEA has written to the AMA, RACGP, RACS, ANZCA, ACEM, RANZCOG, RANZCP, ACRMM urging them to divest from fossil fuels and signal their commitment to action on climate change. Read the letter HERE.

Save Our Sands: Mining in Rural Communities

Many regional communities in NSW are affected by mining, which is a very distant and abstract concept to people in urban areas. In Sydney, people don’t engage with the health and environmental issues mining creates – they don’t think it affects them. But what happens when Government approves a mine that does affect Sydney, in particular, its drinking water?

ABC online: Australia's climate change adaptation plan is non-existent

The recently released UK climate plan should be compulsory reading for the Australian Government, because we have no such plan, writes Dr David Shearman who poignantly highlights that: "Considering the lives that will be lost, this is negligence in medical terms. And as a doctor, it concerns me greatly: all doctors recognise the vital need for adaptation to manage the growing health risks of climate change." Read more HERE.

Senate Select Committee on Electric Vehicles submission

"Electricity is the thing. There are no whirring and grinding gears with their numerous levers to confuse. There is not that almost terrifying uncertain throb and whirr of the powerful combustion engine. There is no water-circulating system to get out of order-no dangerous and evil smelling gasoline and no noise.”  Edison to Ford c1895 

Download the Senate Select Committee on Electric Vehicles submission

The Advertiser: Mayo issues

As various political parties increase their electioneering efforts in today's Super Saturday by-elections in Brisbane, north-west Tasmania, Perth, Fremantle and the Adelaide Hills,  DEA doctors in South Australia  list the vital issues for Mayo in a poignant letter to the Adelaide Advertiser. Read more HERE.

The Mercury: National energy policy failing our community

THE Coalition’s rush to implement the National Energy Guarantee looks set to lock in a continued reliance on fossil fuels for our energy-- despite clean alternatives, writes DEA's Dr Rohan ChurchWhile Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull may claim to be "technology-agnostic" when it comes to securing our energy, it's impossible to remain agnostic when faced with the significant disease burden from coal-fired power generation. Read more HERE.

Blue Mountains Gazette: EPA to monitor air quality in Blue Mountains

The NSW Environment Protection Authority will monitor the Blue Mountains' air quality for the first time after strong pressure from the community, including doctors, about the uncovered coal trains travelling up and down the Mountains. Read more HERE.

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