Climate and Health Newsletter May 2019
Welcome to the May Climate and Health News - as we approach the federal election on Saturday 18 May we are urging all our supporters to vote for the climate, so this edition is packed full of details about our election campaign, 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!
Please contact the Climate and Health Alliance if you have any upcoming events, or other information to include in our newsletter.
Our 2019 Federal Election Campaign
This federal election health professionals and others working in the sector have the opportunity to influence candidates on the issue of climate change, health and well-being.
We invite all our supporters to contact their local candidates and either email or visit them to let them know that climate change will affect Australians health and that, conversely, climate action is a win for both people's health and in reducing the economic burden of ill-health associated with climate change.
For more information about the major parties commitments to climate change take a look at the CAHA 2019 Federal Election Scorecard.
We are pleased to be able to share formal policy announcements from Federal Labor and the Greens in relation to development and implementation of the National Strategy.
The Australian Labor Party have committed to introducing a National Strategy based on the Framework for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia if elected to govern.
The Australian Greens have also announced their support for a National Strategy.
Unfortunately the Federal Coalition do not support health sector calls for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being.
Nearly 50 health and civil society organisations and 20 scientists and health leaders, representing around 1 million Australians, have signed an Open Letter to All Political Parties and Parliamentary Candidates calling for urgent action on climate change for the health of Australians.
This was a huge response from health, welfare and conservation groups who joined together to call on the government to implement a national strategy on climate, health and well-being for Australia, to end the climate and health emergency.
We urge all those voting in this election to choose a candidate that is committed to climate action and supports this policy.
We know that action on climate change needs a parliament that understand the dire implications associated with climate change and we would therefore also urge you to deliver the Open Letter to your local candidates and share it in your workplace, local community and on social media.
Check out our video of CAHA Executive Director Fiona Armstrong calling for climate action for the sake of the health of all Australians. Read her opinion piece "Who will address the health emergency of climate change?" published on Pearls and Irritations.
As a health professional, your voice is trusted and so important!
We need your help to make sure that the next government implements the framework and realises we need a comprehensive, national approach to address the threat of climate change.
Use your voice to rewrite the future in the lead up to this election:
- Sign up to vote for climate this election - help us get to one million votes!
- Email your local MP or Senator to tell them climate change is affecting the health of your community and that this is an issue for you when it come to voting in the federal election.
- Talk to your colleagues, family and friends about the impacts of climate change on health and invite them to join the Our Climate, Our Health Campaign. Let us know how these conversations go.
- Join these inspiring folk in making a Personal Pledge to take action on climate and health - download the pledge, take a photo and share it with us here.
Here are our Top News Stories:
CAHA would like to acknowledge and congratulate the Australian Medical Association for their inclusion of climate change in their "key issues" statement ahead of the 2019 Federal Election (p.g. 22). The AMA's policy on climate change aligns with that of the CAHA's framework for a national strategy on climate health and well-being. The AMA has announced their support for an urgent transition from fossil fuels, reducing exposure to harm from nearby sources of air pollution, and establish an Australian Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) to coordinate efforts to enhance the environmental sustainability of the healthcare sector.
The Medical Scientists Association of Victoria have also publicized their support for the Open Letter on their website, and the Public Health Association of Australia has listed curbing climate change on their Immediate Priorities 5-point plan.
The WA Minister for Health has announced an Inquiry into the impact of climate change on health in WA. It will aim to strengthen how communities and health services address key climate change vulnerabilities, and make preparations to reduce harmful health impacts for Western Australians. It will also identify how WA health services can implement change, including reducing emissions and waste and increasing energy efficiency. Read more here.
More frequent natural disasters and heatwaves are causing illnesses and deaths, and higher temperatures support the spread of disease vectors, all of which are putting a strain on the health system.
Hospitals across Australia will struggle to cope more frequently in the future unless more is done to offset the effects of climate change, according to public health experts writing in the Medical Journal of Australia. Read more here.
A global energy system that is 90 per cent renewables and dominated by solar, is not only possible by 2050 – it will also be cheaper. A new Finnish and German study looked at how to meet the 1.5°C target of the Paris climate treaty, and found that the most effective, quickest and cheapest means was to switch just about everything to electricity, and power it with solar and other renewable energy technologies. Read more here.
A new review of scientific literature shows fracking (hydraulic fracturing, used for oil and gas extraction) is linked to preterm births, high-risk pregnancies, asthma, migraine headaches, fatigue, nasal and sinus symptoms and skin disorders. The study published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public Health looked at several hundred scientific articles about the community and health impacts of fracking. Read more here.
"...Certain populations, such as pregnant women, the developing fetus, and children are more vulnerable to climate-related health risks. Breathing unhealthy levels of air pollution and/or exposure to more extreme heat and serious events that result from climate change can increase a mother’s risk of poor birth outcomes..." Read the whole post here.
No safe level of air pollution: "A new CAR study has found that even the low levels of air pollution in Sydney are associated with increased risk of premature mortality. The study is the first in the world to assess a cohort at such low concentrations, and provides further evidence that there is no safe level of air pollution." Read more here.
CAHA joined the 100 000 people at the Change the Rules rally in Melbourne on April 10th supporting fairness and job security for all working Australians. The effects of climate change only work to increase the hurdles faced by workers.
Read more about the rally here.
School strikers together with friends, communities, and families, will be holding a National Day of Action on Friday May 3 to pressure our Federal MPs by heading to their electorate offices, calling their phones, speaking with their staff, organising colourful rallies, and so much more. Check out this page to find information on an event near you!
They're inviting everyone to take time off school, work & uni for the day to pressure all politicians to meet their demands right before the Election:
- No New Fossil Fuels
- 100% Renewable Energy by 2030
CANBERRA: May 1, Symposium on Climate Change, Society and Health at the School of Regulation and Global Governance
The Australian National University hosted a Symposium on Climate Change, Society and Health at the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University on May 1.
Director of the School of Regulation and Global Governance, Professor Sharon Friel, was a key speaker at this event. Read her recently published book, "Climate Change and the People's Health". Order online at www.oup.com/academic and enter AMPROMD9 to save 30%. CAHA Executive Director Fiona Armstrong spoke at the forum on "making action happen: lessons from social movements".
See more about the event here
VICTORIA: 23rd April - 19th May, ART + CLIMATE = CHANGE 2019 Festival around Melbourne and Regional Victoria.
The ART + CLIMATE = CHANGE festival is back for 2019! It is a socially engaged festival of ideas, exhibitions and events. The 2019 festival will consider ideas and concepts around art and activism, community engagement, transition and accelerated action on climate change.
There are over thirty curated exhibitions at museums and galleries in Melbourne and regional Victoria alongside artist talks, film screenings, keynote speakers and theatre works. These programs bring together experts in art practice with some of the foremost researchers in climate and environmental science with prominent thinkers on cultural, philosophical and psychological consequences of climate change.
Join with the artists, curators and committed partners and creatively move to a just and sustainable future – for all life on earth! The 2019 program is now available to view online and download program here. For more information, visit the website.
"The Zero Carbon Bill, implications for the healthcare sector and opportunities to create health and wellness"
Don't miss this exciting forum which you can attend in person or online
When: Wednesday 8th May 2019 8:30 am-5pm
Where: University of Otago - Wellington campus, 23 Mein Street, Nordmeyer lecture theatre and online via Zoom webinar
Visit the event page for more information.
Better Soil, Better Life, Better Future
International Compost Awareness Week Australia is a week of activities, events and publicity to improve awareness of the importance of compost, a valuable organic resource and to promote compost use, knowledge and products. We can compost to help scrap carbon pollution by avoiding landfilling organic materials and helping to build healthier soils.
Visit the website for more information about the events happening around Australia.
VICTORIA: Meet-up - SOS Climate Chat and Support: Sustainability of Self as Part of a Whole Life Organism
Join psychologist Lyn Bender and ecopsychologist Deb Punton on the last Sunday of each month from 3-5pm, to chat and support each other's feelings about our climate crisis. These free sessions at the St Kilda EcoCentre aim to build resilience and maintain well-being. For more information on the sessions, including where to meet and what to bring, visit the website, or express your interest, obligation free.
Research and Reports
This report provides an overview of the evidence in relation to the health co-benefits associated with climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. It is intended to inform the City of Melbourne about the health and social benefits available from the implementation of initiatives to achieve its net zero emissions goal by 2050.
Read the full Review here.
The recently published City of Melbourne’s Climate Change Mitigation Strategy is a commitment to urgent action to reduce emissions. It includes a number of references to the health sector and describes the health benefits of climate change action based on the CAHA literature review (p.46).
The Australia Institute have recently released two HeatWatch reports, for Mackay and the Townsville. These reports have found that increasing extreme heat will have profound impacts on people, industries and ecosystems in these regions. CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology projections estimate that the average number of days over 35 degrees could increase from around one day presently to over 70 by 2090 in Mackay and increase fivefold by 2030, reaching over 100 days by 2090 in Townsville without strong climate policies.
The Australia Institute have previously released a number of other HeatWatch reports, including those for Western Sydney, south-east South Australia, the Whitsundays, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, Roma and Gladstone.
You can check out the HeatWatch report for your area here.
The physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization.
An article on the report states United Nation's Secretary-General António Guterres concern for climate change as he urges world leaders to take action. "The impact on public health is escalating," Guterres said, "The combination of extreme heat and air pollution is proving increasingly dangerous."
The latest Ipsos report, published in April, uncovers a growing momentum for action on climate change and acceptance of the role of humans in causing it. It highlights growing support of Australians for the government to act on climate change.
Here are some key findings:
- More Australians than ever before believe that climate change is entirely or mainly caused by human activity (46%)
- Two-thirds (64%) believe that increasing renewable capacity should be a high or essential priority in Australia’s energy policy
- 40% of Australians would like to see an emissions reduction target that is more ambitious than the Paris Climate Agreement
Read the full report here.
United Nations Environmental Programme - Global Environmental Outlook (GEO): Healthy Planet, Healthy People
Recently, the United Nations Environment Programme published the sixth Global Environmental Outlook: Healthy Planet, Healthy People. This report paints a glum picture of the state of the environment, the implications for economic prosperity and human health and well-being, and the time available for corrective action.
The first point of the Key Messages document sums it up well: ‘… the overall environmental situation is deteriorating globally and the window for action is closing.’ The report also provides a strong call to action, outlining the key areas in which we need transformative change and innovation and how we can harness current technology to address challenges and accelerate progress towards sustainable development.
Did you ever notice that the same leaders denying climate change are the ones drumming up fear and hatred against migrants? Check out this short explainer video on why the climate movement must fight for migrant justice to win the world we need.
Published by The Leap.
Natural disasters and other traumatic events can significantly impact on infants and children, who rely on the adults around them for safety and security. The newly released Community Trauma Toolkit is a suite of resources to help workers and parents/carers to support children before, during and after a disaster or traumatic event.
The Toolkit was developed by Emerging Minds and the Australian National University as part of the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health project.
Call for Nominations
2019 Health Care Climate Challenge Awards - Apply Now!
The Climate Champion Awards are available in multiple categories related to the three pillars of the Climate Challenge-Mitigation, Resiliency, and Leadership.
Health Care Without Harm: Global Communications Manager - Apply Now!
Health Care Without Harm is recruiting for a new Global Communications Manager. They will be responsible for developing and implementing a communications strategy, as well as managing all aspects of communications projects, systems, and tactics for Health Care Without Harm’s global work. Find out more and apply now if you think this role is right for you, and share widely with your networks!
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!