Climate and Health News September 2019

Welcome to the September 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 becoming a CAHA member!

Don't forget about our Greening the Healthcare Sector Forum 2019 next week on 23 and 24 September. See more details below or book your ticket here before sales close on Thursday!

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

Finally -- remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the loop. Please also consider donating to help grow our work at the Climate and Health Alliance.

Quick Links

Greening the Healthcare Sector Forum 2019 - less than a week to go!

Monday 23 - Tuesday 24 September, Melbourne

CAHA is proud to once again partner with Western Health and the Institute for Healthcare Engineering Australia to deliver this Forum.

Join us for presentations from leaders in sustainable healthcare, including Dr Forbes McGain (Western Health), Rachel McConville (DHHS) and Terence Jeyaretnam (Ernst & Young).

Learn practical ways to address environmental sustainability in your workplace, join in discussions and networking with other climate-minded members of the healthcare sector, and hear more about current research and policies in the area.

Register now as ticket sales close Thursday!

News

CAHA News: Welcome aboard!

We are delighted to welcome Adam Pulford to the role of Engagement Manager at CAHA. He brings a wealth of experience to the role, and will be leading the development and implementation of our strategic communications, fundraising and advocacy strategies. He will lead initiatives to build engagement with health sector stakeholders, government (federal, state and local), CAHA members, supporters and donors.

Pictured: Adam Pulford (centre) with Milly Burgess (left, Administrator & Volunteer Coordinator) and Eliza Watson (right, Sustainable Healthcare Volunteer)

Australian Medical Association Declares Climate Emergency

The AMA has recognised climate change as a health emergency. The Association notes the extensive impacts to various aspects of health and well-being including increased morbidity and mortality from heat waves and severe weather events, increased vector-borne diseases and negative mental health. 

Hospitals Must Adapt to Cope with the Climate Crisis

Brisbane-based emergency physician Marianne Cannon has called on the healthcare sector to do more to adapt to the changing climate. Dr Cannon says the health system is not prepared and must focus on education, prevention, infrastructure and reducing carbon emissions.

The Climate Crisis and Mental Health

A variety of research and news articles are showing the ever-growing issue linking the climate crisis with negative impacts on mental health. Studies have shown saddening statistics that approximately half of all people who experience an extreme weather event go on to have negative health impacts. Sadly, knowledge of this link is nothing new, but with climate change leading to increased extreme weather events, the impacts are being seen even more frequently. 

Read more about the impact following California's wildfires in 2017

Read more about the widespread effects in Greenland.

Managing Climate Change Evacuation 

The impacts of climate change including rising sea levels and more frequent weather events mean that retreat due to climate change is inevitable. Researchers from the US argue that effective planning and management is required now in order to make retreat an equitable option for adapting to climate change. Dr Siders, lead author, discusses the article further here.

Standing Up for Climate and Health

Take a look at the latest issue of The Lamp, NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association's monthly magazine, which is focusing in on climate change and health. The issue is full of great articles calling for support for the student strike on September 20, how adults can support the cause, and cutting hospital waste. 

How will Climate Change Impact what We Grow and Eat?

Agriculture relies on a predictable local climate, and we are likely to need significant changes to agricultural practices to adapt to the reality of a changing climate. This article, featuring beautiful photos of Australia's agricultural landscape, describes what it is like to adapt to the changing climate for those growing the food we eat.

Renewable Energy Thriving in Australia

Renewable energy is having a huge uptake in Australia, with the number of renewable projects on track to help meet the 2020 targets. But will the strong investments continue?

Dr Sandra Demaio new CEO of VicHealth

CAHA welcomes Dr Sandro Demaio, doctor and public health advocate, as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth). Dr Demaio has been involved in several foundations and campaigns advocating for prevention of disease and has promoted accessible health information for communities.

Big ideas: Climate and Health

Take a listen to ABC Radio National's show Big Ideas discussing climate change and health with a number of experts in the field from various institutes around Australia, including CAHA's own Fiona Armstrong.

Climate Policies on a Local Level

If you are a regular reader, you will know that we believe public health should be a main consideration when planning policies in relation to climate change. A recent article has also highlighted the importance of tailoring these policies to local communities by taking into account differences in population demographics and socio-economic status, in order to protect those most vulnerable.

Advocacy

Clearing the Air - Sign & Spread the Word!

This December, Australian Environment Ministers will meet to decide on new air pollution standards for three dangerous pollutants connected to the burning of fossil fuels: nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone.

These pollutants can have harmful effects on people’s health -- even at levels well below Australia’s current standards.

We need strong, health-based air pollution standards to reduce the risk and harm to people’s health these pollutants cause, and to accelerate the transition away from dirty fossil fuels to clean, safer technologies.

This December is our chance to secure stronger air pollution standards. Will you sign the petition asking all Australian Environment Ministers to cut air pollution and protect our climate and our health by supporting stronger standards?

RACGP Calls for Stronger Air Pollution Standards

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has called on the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) to improve Australia's air quality standards in line with current research. The health impacts of air pollution are widely known, with thousands of deaths each year attributable to exposure, and experts stating that there is no safe level of air pollution.

Events

Global Climate Strike

20 September - Nationally

Only a few days to go until the Global Climate Strike! CAHA will be there supporting school students from across Australia and around the globe in demanding urgent action on climate change.

Click here to find health organisations and professionals who will be joining the strike in your area.

Greening the Healthcare Sector Forum

Monday 23 - Tuesday 24 September, Melbourne

See above for more details on CAHA's forum next week with Western Health and the Institute for Healthcare Engineering Australia.

CAHA's Climate and Health Symposium and AGM

Monday 14 October, Canberra

Join CAHA in Canberra for a symposium discussing the health of our land and our people. The symposium will present on various themes including climate and health strategy, heatwaves and health, and Indigenous perspectives. 

Following the symposium, CAHA members are encouraged to participate in our AGM. Non-members are welcome to observe.

Attendees are then invited to join our Climate and Health Briefing at Parliament House. This is an open briefing for all MPs, Senators, staff and individuals interested in climate change and health.

To register for all or part of the day, click here.

Reports

Victoria's Public Health and Wellbeing plan

The Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria has released a plan for Victoria's public health for 2019-2023. It's encouraging to see that one of the key focuses of this plan is the impacts of climate change on health, with the plan calling on increased action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promotion of adaptation within the healthcare system and increased understanding of the health risks of climate change.

Health and climate change in Australia and the Asia Pacific region

The Global Health Alliance Australia, along with the Monash University Sustainable Development Institute and School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, have put together a comprehensive report detailing the vast impacts that climate change will have on Australia and our neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region. This report gives a fantastic and in-depth overview and aims to build upon CAHA's Framework for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being in AustraliaCAHA welcomes the report and supports its recommendations.

Researchers from Monash University discuss the importance of the report, its focus on planetary health and outline the urgency facing policymakers.

A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience

A new report by the Global Commission on Adaptation reveals that the world is gravely unprepared for the climate crisis. The report was commissioned by political and economic leaders from 20 countries. It covers areas that require urgent adaptation in order to cope with the climate crisis, stating that the effects are now inevitable and precautions must be taken. 

Research

The Co-benefits of Improving Air Quality

New research shows the extensive co-benefits of improving air quality - from reducing morbidity and mortality, and improving agriculture, all of which will offset the costs of meeting the Paris Agreement reduction pledges. However, integrated policy perspectives are needed to maximise the possible benefits.

Ozone and Air Pollution Significantly Increase Emphysema

An 18-year long cohort study has found a significant association between exposure to ambient air pollution, in particular ozone, and increased percentage of emphysema. The authors state that this is the first long-term study that assesses this, and that they were surprised to see the extent of the impact of air pollution on emphysema, putting it "in the same league as the effects of cigarette smoking".

Resources

New England Journal of Medicine - Climate Crisis and Health

NEJM has released a comprehensive set of research, articles, editorials and interactive graphics covering the impacts of the climate crisis on physiological and psychological well-being and the health care system, and how health care workers can take action.

Climate Change and Health Videos

Victoria's Better Health Channel have released a series of videos great for informing the general public about the impacts of climate change on health. Alongside these four short videos is a factsheet outlining what the impacts are, who can be affected and what we can do to adapt to a changing climate.

WHO Guide to Impacts of Climate Change on Nutrition

This WHO report aims to increase understanding of how nutrition will be impacted by climate change through water and land access and agriculture. The report outlines the necessity of a multisectoral approach and provides a technical guide on how to conduct a Vulnerability and Adaptation assessment.

Free Online Course on Climate Change and Health

A free, self-paced online course created by a member of the IPCC provides students with an overview of the impacts of climate and health, what policies are needed to tackle it and how to engage with policy makers to fight for change. 

Join

This newsletter is brought to you by us at 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.

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