Welcome to the August Climate and Health News!
First up, we would like to formally welcome our new members:
Top three reads
Australia is trailing behind the rest of the world in taking the health effects of climate change seriously, according to new analysis by the Global Climate and Health Alliance. Australia’s climate commitment under the Paris Agreement (called an NDC, or Nationally Determined Contribution) scores zero for dealing with health impacts, health adaptation measures, health co-benefits, economics, and any other redeeming feature. Right now, our targets are leading towards a 3 °C warmer world, likely to be catastrophic for human health.
We’re looking for our new CEO
CAHA is currently looking for its new Chief Executive Officer to lead the development and delivery of CAHA’s vision and strategy, at a unique time in the organisation’s ten-year history. We're looking for someone who is deeply committed to playing a leadership role in tackling the climate crisis, an empathetic and strategic leader, a highly effective communicator and persuasive fundraiser, with the networks and capacity to deliver on CAHA’s ambitious goals.
The position is based in Melbourne and is full time (negotiable) at the rate of annual salary package of $120,600 inclusive of 10% superannuation. The contract is for three years. Application closes 6 September 2021.
The new IPCC report warned that the planetary health crisis is 'code red for humanity’' How can the health sector contribute to transforming Australia’s political dynamic on climate policy? Here are a few suggestions by Croakey, which include pharmacy-led climate and health education, investing in mass communication campaigns, learning from the pandemic, supporting existing climate and health groups, foregrounding climate equity in all health reform and having zero tolerance for climate misinformation.
The science is in – so what now? Implications of the new IPCC report for corporate and government decision-makers
This Insight, produced by law firm and CAHA Member Minter Ellison, summarises the key takeaways from the recently released IPCC report for government and corporate decision-makers, and the implications for governance, strategy, risk management and oversight.
This headline is inspired by Dr Tarun Weeramanthri’s recent speech at the Better Futures Forum. This article is a wrap of recent climate and health news, covering recent publications about a global focus on children’s rights and responses to the growing problem of extreme heat, and also a reportback on the health sessions at the recent Better Futures Forum.
Many nations receive failing scores on climate change and health
The Global Climate and Health Alliance’s new scorecard, outlined above, gained international attention. OECD countries like the European Union and the United States, also need to do much more to address human health in their national climate change commitments. As record-breaking heat has smothered much of the Northern Hemisphere, the impact of climate change on human health has been evident.
This year’s theme for NAIDOC Week (4-11 July) was Heal Country. It underscores the urgency and importance of working for climate justice, informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ knowledges. Historical truth telling, including the role of colonisation in harming Country, is also critical.
Traditional knowledges, land management and conservation practices are valuable resources for maintaining biological diversity and preserving important ecosystems. They need to be an integral part of our national climate change mitigation efforts. We need to put Country before comfort, for the health and wellbeing of us all.
Extreme temperatures kill 5 million people a year with heat-related deaths rising, study finds
More than 5 million people die each year globally because of excessively hot or cold conditions, a 20-year study has found, and heat-related deaths are on the rise. “If we don’t take any action to mitigate climate change … more deaths will be caused”, warned Professor Yuming Guo from Monash University, one of the study’s lead researchers (and a Friends of CAHA member. Congrats, Yuming!)
Give feedback on the proposed national Climate Risk Module
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is currently developing a 'National Standards Climate Risk Module'. The Commission is seeking feedback on how to implement the Module, whether the Module actions should be assessed and whether the Module should be mandatory.
Improving the sustainability of health services through a Climate Risk Module is an opportunity to improve the safety and quality of care, improve community health, reduce low value care and unwarranted variation, and reduce waste. CAHA supports the Climate Risk Module actions being mandatory.
In May, 60+ health organisations sent an open letter to the Prime Minister, calling for climate action to protect our health. The health sector is calling for climate action, loud and clear. Will you show your support for these calls by the health sector and sign this petition to the Prime Minister?
Send your MP an email for urgent climate action to protect Australians’ health
Australian individuals, families and communities are at risk of health impacts from heatwaves, extreme weather, and changing patterns of disease associated with global warming. But unlike many nations, Australia has no national strategy to respond to this serious risk.
A national approach is needed to ensure the community and health professionals are ready to respond to these risks. Will you email your MP to demand action to protect our health from the adverse effects of climate change?
Every second Thursday, 12 Aug-4 Nov, online
In weeks leading up to COP26, Global Climate and Health Alliance are hosting a series of webinars focused on specific skills, framings, and tools to help ensure that advocacy by the climate and health community is its strongest yet.
Register for the next webinars:
- How to talk about climate change and health on 9 Sep
- Health and climate change as a legal and economic issue on 23 Sep
- Advocacy skills for climate action on 7 Oct
Exploring our Eco-Psychology with Dr Lori Pye
Every Saturday, 25 Sep-30 Oct, online
In this six-part virtual course, Exploring our Eco-Psychology with Dr Lori Pye, participants will unlearn the narratives that have long disconnected them from the living world and re-engage with their ecological psychology. This interactive and transformational deep dive will explore the five pillars of eco-psychology – energy, diversity, no-waste, change and relationship – to help co-shape the world in connection with nature.
16-24 Oct, online
Join the Climate Reality Leadership Corps of activists and learn how by attending a free online training led by Al Gore and a team of world-renowned scientists, activists, innovators, and more.
Abstracts now open for the Greening the Healthcare Forum 2021
30 Nov 2021, online and in-person at Royal Brisbane and Women's Education Centre
CAHA and UnitingCare Queensland are partnering to deliver the Greening the Healthcare Sector Forum. The Greening the Healthcare Sector Forum is for anyone interested in improving the environmental footprint of healthcare and aged care, and fostering a healthy future for people and the planet. This year’s theme is ‘Working towards a net zero emissions, climate resilient, equitable and environmentally sustainable healthcare sector: ensuring good health for all'.
Research and Reports
A systematic review of food waste audit methods in hospital food services: development of a consensus pathway food waste audit tool
By Cook et al., published June 2021 on Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
This review by Monash University, Deakin University, Behaviour Works and Eastern Health University used published evidence to develop the first food waste audit consensus tool for hospital food services to use and measure food and food-related waste.
Environmental impacts of Australia’s largest health system
By Malik et al., published June 2021 on Resources, Conservation & Recycling
This study provided a quantitative supply-chain assessment of the environmental impacts of the health system in NSW. Their findings show that in 2017 the NSW health system was responsible for 6.6% of NSW’s greenhouse gas emissions; 4% of NSW’s water use; and 8% of waste produced in the NSW economy.
The results highlight the need for implementation of targeted policies to reduce not only the direct environmental impacts generated by health systems but also those from its supply chains that connect with many other economic sectors.
Climate change empowerment handbook
By the Australian Psychological Society
Psychological science can help people come to terms and cope with the profound implications of climate change, so that they can stay engaged with the problem, see where their own behaviour plays a part, and participate in speedy societal change to restore a safe climate.
The Australian Psychological Society (another CAHA member 👏🏼) has developed a handbook containing strategies to help activate the public to engage with climate change more effectively.
Passing the Message Stick
By Dr Jackie Huggins AM, Larissa Baldwin, Karrina Nolan and Kirsty Albion
A guide to changing the story on self-determination and justice. Passing the Message Stick is the results of a two-year research project to find messages that are effective in building public support for self-determination and justice for Indigenous Australians.
By the Health and Climate Network
Several short briefings on climate and health are newly available on the Wellcome Trust website, providing an overview of the evidence on the connections between climate and human health – with a focus on food, energy, transport and health systems.
These briefings are prepared by the Health and Climate Network, a loose coalition of organisations working to put positive health outcomes at the centre of responses to the climate crisis in 2021. The short briefings were developed to provide a common narrative and broad set of tasks for people to build on, so please do use them as you see fit.
Book: Hope and Courage in the Climate Crisis
By John Wiseman, 2021
As the risks of the climate crisis continue to grow, so too do the challenges of facing a harsh climate future with honesty and courage; justice and compassion; meaning and purpose. Hope and Courage in the Climate Crisis by University of Melbourne Professor and CAHA expert advisor John Wiseman explores diverse sources of learning and wisdom – from climate scientists and activists; philosophers and social theorists; Indigenous cultures and ways of life; faith based and spiritual traditions; artists and writers – which can strengthen our capacity to live courageous, compassionate and creative lives in a world of accelerating climatic and ecological risk.
In case you missed it
Full page newspaper ads calling for strong climate action
On 12 August, full page ads appeared in The Australian, AFR, Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, calling on the federal government to commit to much stronger targets and policies to tackle climate change this decade.
CAHA proudly endorsed this call. Thank you to the CAHA members who joined us:
- Australian College of Nursing
- Women’s Health in Goulburn North East
- Australian Primary Care Nurses Association
- Australian Association of Social Workers
- Medical Association for Prevention of War
- Vets for Climate Action
- Australian Federation of Medical Women
This newsletter is brought to you by the team at the Climate and Health Alliance.
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