Climate and Health Newsletter July 2019

Welcome to the July Climate and Health News - This edition is packed full of news, events and information, keeping you up to date with what’s happening and providing the resources so you can take action, including joining CAHA!

We would like to welcome our new CAHA members - the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Australian College of Midwives (ACM), Medical Scientists Association of Victoria (MSAV), Abilita and the Australasian Epidemiological Association (AEA).

Please contact the Climate and Health Alliance if you have any upcoming events, or other information to include in our newsletter.

Remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the loop. Please also consider donating to the Climate and Health Alliance.

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A Staff Update:

We would like to say a warm welcome (back) to Carol Behne! Carol will be rejoining the CAHA team in Melbourne, taking over as the Sustainable Healthcare Program from Libby Muir from the beginning of July. Carol has previously worked with CAHA on the GGHH program. We would like to farewell Libby and wish her the best of luck on her next journey.

Pictured (left to right):

Top - Emma Keech (Social Media and Communications Volunteer), Alison McKinnon (Research and Policy Volunteer), Fiona Armstrong (Executive Director), Libby Muir (Programs and Campaigns Coordinator/GGHH Pacific Network Rep)

Bottom - Milly Burgess (Administrator & Volunteer Coordinator), Eliza Watson (Sustainable Healthcare Volunteer), Carol Behne (Sustainable Healthcare Program Manager) with son Freddy.

Top News Stories:

The 'catastrophic' effect of increasing heatwaves on Queensland

"Queensland’s emergency services are planning for more catastrophic weather events - including 30-day heatwaves and 43-degree peak temperatures - as the effects of climate change turn up the heat on regional parts of the state." 

The Qld state government commissioned the Queensland State Heatwave Risk Assessment 2019, which can be found here.

The UK commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Theresa May committed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making Britain the first major economy to do so. This legislation will increase their current target from 80% to 100% emissions reduction.

Theresa May said there was a "moral duty to leave this world in a better condition than what we inherited".

Climate Emergency

Pope Francis has declared a climate emergency and urges people to act. An article from the Guardian says, "[Pope Francis] endorsed the 1.5C limit on temperature rises that some countries are now aiming for, referring to warnings from the IPCC of “catastrophic” effects if we crossed such a threshold. He said a “radical energy transition” would be needed to stay within that limit, and urged young people and businesses to take a leading role."

The Canadian House of Commons passed a motion to declare a national climate emergency in Canada on June 17. The motion declares a national climate emergency and supports the country’s commitment to meeting the emissions targets outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Today's lesson: a safe planet is a human right

NSW's HSC Student AVA Woodward writes poignantly in an article for The Australian:

"Recently, I came back from a trip to Tasmania where we visited the beautiful Cradle Mountain national park. As we drove to the entrance, we passed acres and acres of bleached trees denuded of their foliage. I thought at first that it must have been the result of a fire. But no, these spectral forests were the result of successive seasons of drought. And in Tasmania of all places, the wettest state in Australia.

"When I came back from the trip, I read that Scott Morrison said he would “burn for the Australian people every single day". An ironic choice of words considering we as a country are burning up every day – parched agricultural lands and our cities hot, dry, dusty and becoming, on some days, borderline unlivable."

Air Pollution in India

Air Pollution, the theme of this years World Environment Day, is becoming an ever more talked about issue. A report by the UN, found that 14 of the world's 15 most polluted cities were in India. Aarticle by SBS News details more findings, stating that air pollution is responsible for 12.5 per cent of all deaths in India, including more than 100,000 children under five every year.

Mirvac Plans All-Electric Buildings, Net Zero Emissions

Australia’s $200 billion property industry is a major contributor to emissions, representing 25 per cent of total carbon emissions.

Listed property group Mirvac said it expects to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. Mirvac general manager Sarah Clarke says “The key steps Mirvac will take to reduce carbon emissions include continuing to maximise energy efficiency and developing all-electric buildings powered by 100 per cent renewable energy” 


Extinction Rebellion Rally

On May 24, CAHA joined more than a thousand others to march through Melbourne CBD and stage a "die in". The rally was organised in response to the Australian federal election results and called for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take immediate action on the Climate Emergency.

Recent Events 

World Environment Day 2019

World Environment Day was held on June 5th, with this years theme being Air Pollution. Only 12 per cent of cities have air quality measures that meet WHO standards, so it is no wonder that exposure to outdoor fine particles is the fifth leading risk factor for death worldwide.

World Environment Day was a busy day at CAHA! Firstly, we joined Sustainability Victoria, the ANMF (Vic Branch) and other stallholders at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for seminars on reducing environmental impact in healthcare and waste education. 

In the afternoon, CAHA attended a World Environment Day Luncheon held at Ross House. CAHA Executive Director Fiona Armstrong spoke at the lunch about CAHA's work.

Pictured: CAHA's Milly Burgess and Research and Policy Volunteer Alison McKinnon at Ross House.

Maximising the value of Public Policy for Population Well-being Forum

June 26 - Adelaide: How the urban planning, energy, natural environmental and justice sectors can contribute. 

The forum was put on by Flinders University’s Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity and focused on policy translation.

CAHA executive director Fiona Armstrong spoke at the forum on a panel alongside the Hon Chris Picton, Shadow Minister for Health & Wellbeing, the Hon Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Henley from Uniting Communities and Associate Professor Peter Sainsbury from the University of Sydney as part of an energy sector policies panel.

Upcoming Events

Waste in Healthcare Workshops - July to August

Sale, Bendigo, Ballarat, Wangaratta, Warrnambool, Melbourne

The Department of Health and Human Services, with support from ANMF (Vic Branch) and Sustainability Victoria, is hosting a series of free workshops to help clinical and non-clinical staff to introduce a new, or improve an existing, recycling collection on your ward or in your health service.

The Waste Workshops are a one-day program that will help you understand how to set up/improve a recycling program in your hospital, who you need to talk to for support and how to sell your idea to them. 

The workshops are available in a number of locations throughout Victoria in July and August. Click here to find your closest workshop and find out more details on each before you register.

AIR Space: Awaken Inner Resources! Peer Support for Climate Concerned Citizens

10am July 1st - Fairfield, Melbourne

AIR Space is a 90 minute session focused specifically for people who are concerned about climate change. It is a space to share feelings and experiences, provide peer support, and to build psychological resources for well-being. The sessions are facilitated by Dr Bronwyn Gresham, clinical psychologist, climate concerned citizen and mindful self compassion teacher.

AIR Space sessions are offered monthly, on the first Monday of each month, at $35 per session. For more information, check out the events on the facebook page: or the website:

Sydney Science Festival - Activism in the Age of Climate Change Panel

6pm August 9 - Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo

Hear from champions of climate action in Australia, and learn how movements have joined forces to reclaim the dialogue around climate change. Panelists will share insights into their motivations, inspirations and the projects that are making a difference for their communities.


Sitting on the panel is CAHA Executive Director Fiona Armstrong alongside Ambrose Hayes, student organiser for School Strike 4 Climate and Jemilah Hanlan, Outreach Director for the Environmental Defenders Office.

The event is free for students and children, but booking is essential. Book tickets here.

Seminar: Crocodiles or Climate Change, what will get you first? Perspectives from remote Northern Australia

July 24

Dr Simon Quilty is presenting a seminar at the London School of Hygiene Tropical Medicine reflecting on the practice of clinical medicine in tropical Australia and the fierce reality of climate change. He will be highlighting the increasingly extreme climate conditions in which he works, asking some hard questions and proposing real ways of addressing this developing slow-motion catastrophe that has arrived at his doorstep.

The seminar will be live streamed and recorded, with details on how to access it here.

Research and Reports

Global Peace Index 2019

The Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness and is produced by global think tank, the Institute for Economics & Peace. The report presents an analysis on peace, its economic value, trends, and how to develop peaceful societies. 

The effects of climate change pose a major challenge to peacefulness in the future. - "Climate change can indirectly increase the likelihood of violent conflict through its impacts on resource availability, livelihood, security and migration. In order to address these challenges, there will need to be much greater cooperation both within and between countries."

International Comparison of Health Care Carbon Footprints

A recently released report, published in Environmental Research Letters, discusses the linkages between climate change and human health in regards to the carbon footprints of economies around the world. It reports results of the health carbon footprint decomposed by geographic regions, final demand sectors (private consumption, governmental consumption and investments), health care providers, and production sectors. Read it here.

Ozone depletion driving climate change in Southern Hemisphere

This paper, published recently in Nature Sustainability, reports on the complex interactions between ozone depletion, UV radiation and climate change, and how they impact human health, food and water security, and the environment. While ozone depletion has long been known to increase harmful UV radiation at the Earth's surface, its effect on climate has only recently become evident.

Read more here.


Do you know the difference between compostable, biodegradable and oxo-degradable?

These terms are often used interchangably, yet there are crucial distinctions between each category. Confusion regarding bioplastics terminology, especially where it concerns the disposal of bioplastic products, can have dire consequences. This insightful blog piece provides a straighforward explanation of biodegradable, compostable and oxo-degradable plastics.

Have a read and share your knowledge with your friends and family to help improve the way we dispose plastics!

Climate Change Toolkit for Health Professionals

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment have released a toolkit for health professionals which consists of eight modules on various aspects of climate change and health. This toolkit is designed to help health professionals who want to engage more directly on the issue of climate change as educators with their patients, peers and communities. Find the full toolkit here.

Health Effects of Climate Change Video

CAHA Supporter Dr Kim Loo has produced the amazing video speaking about the health effects of climate change.

She is finding herself at the coalface of what climate change is doing to the population. She has been a doctor for more than 30 years, and has seen firsthand how climate change contributes to increased impacts on peoples health - and can contribute to the risk of heart attacks and respiratory failure. She says "it's so important for doctors to speak out... if doctors don't speak out, who will?"

This video is a great resource to share on social media. Copy the youtube link or find it on our Facebook page.

Guide: Communicating Climate Impacts Through Adaptation

Climate Outreach have developed a new guide useful for anyone who anyone wishing to communicate climate impacts and ways to adapt within their communities.

The guide includes do's and don'ts to successfully communicate climate impacts, as well as short factsheets about flooding, heatwaves and drought, and activities that communities can engage in to adapt to these risks.

Download the guide here.

Call for Submissions

NOW OPEN: Improving WA Climate and Health 

The government of Western Australia are calling for submissions for the Climate Health WA Inquiry. Submission are currently being accepted and close Friday 30 August 2019.

For details about lodging a submission, visit the webpage here.


This newsletter is brought to you by the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA). Did you know individuals, as well as organisations, can join CAHA? If you like what we do, and would like to support our work, please join and become a member of the Climate and Health Alliance. You will be joining a dynamic effort to ensure people's health and well-being is central to national and global efforts to respond to climate change. To join CAHA, follow this link!

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