Welcome to the July Climate and Health News!
First up, we would like to formally welcome our new members:
- Arriba Group
- Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine
- Australian Federation of Medical Women
- Australian Lesbian Medical Association
- Climatewise Design
- Cultivate Impact
- Food For Thought Consulting Australia
- Health Care Consumers' Association ACT
- Inner East Primary Care Partnership
- Optometry Australia
- Rural Doctors Association of Victoria
- Women's Health Goulburn North East
Launching our climate communications guide for health professionals
In May, we launched our new guide for health professionals, Real, Urgent and Now: Communicating the Health Impacts of Climate Change.
Health professionals know that effective communication is one of the most powerful tools they can use to protect public health. There, effective communication is crucial to emphasise climate change as biggest health threat – and health opportunity – of the century.
This guide is designed to support health professionals to speak with confidence about climate change and its health impacts, take a leadership role in encouraging health services to be as environmentally sustainable as possible, and promote actions that will improve our climate and health, and more.
Doctors, healthcare workers sound alarm over health risks of climate change
In early June, a group of doctors and frontline health workers marched to the WHO Headquarter in Geneva to urge global leaders to declare climate change a public health emergency. They demanded that health authorities and governments avert a global health crisis, through preventative healthcare, more equitable access to medical care, reducing the carbon impact of healthcare, and stricter industry control to ensure clean water and air. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the protesters, and said "the pandemic will end, there is no vaccine for climate change."
AAMRI Position Statement on climate change and its impact on human health
On June 1, the Australian Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes released their policy position on climate change and its effect on human health. Their policy priorities include:
- providing advice to medical research institutes to reduce carbon emissions;
- encouraging institutes to adopt environmental, social and governance principles when making financial investment decisions;
- encouraging increased research and investment in health and medicine that directly respond to the potential impacts of climate change;
- ensuring climate change is seen as a key, cross-cutting priority across its policy and advocacy work.
AFMW Position Statement on climate change and its impact on human health
On June 23, the Australian Federation of Medical Women (one of our newest member organisations) released a statement on climate change and its disproportionate effect on women's health.
AFMW is "strongly urging the government, institutions and individuals to introduce policies to reduce carbon emissions and limit environmental degradation for the benefit of women, children and the whole population."
Imperial College London published a report stating that policymakers are yet to grasp the scale of climate change impacts on mental health, and the subsequent economic impacts. Author lead, Dr Emma Lawrance said the mental health outcomes of climate change are "a big problem that is going to affect more and more people into the future, and in particular, exacerbate inequality. It is very likely to be a really big unaccounted cost." Dr Lawrance said the costs to mental health and the benefits of climate action must become part of the mainstream work on tackling the climate crisis.
The report concludes that "the climate crisis affects the mental wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people around the world. These impacts are currently 'hidden costs', unaccounted for in policy and planning."
Climate change causes over a third of heat-related deaths
Climate change is responsible for thousands of heat-related deaths in recent decades, just a fraction of future deaths expected even if we adopt ambitious emissions-cutting efforts. An international study published 31 May found that 37% of heat-related mortality could be attributed to climate change. For Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, that translated into almost 3000 extra deaths.
Battery to power NSW hospitals and more
A win! A 100-megawatt battery will help provide renewable energy to NSW hospitals, schools and government buildings. NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean said the deal would deliver great value and electricity security for the people of NSW.
Kimiko Hirata: 2021 Recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize
A good news story! Kimiko Hirata, 50, is the international director and founding member of the Kiko Network, a Japanese NGO dedicated to halting climate change. Over the past several years, Kimiko Hirata’s grassroots campaign led to the cancellation of 13 coal power plants in Japan, which would have released more than 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide over their lifetimes. The carbon impact of Hirata’s activism is the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road every year for 40 years.
Eco-social work: a new podcast
This podcast hosted by social worker Andrew Nicholson features interviews with experienced Australian eco-social work practitioners who share their perspectives on a diverse range of topics, including ecological economics and the circular economy, and climate change denial and resistance. The podcast aims to stimulate listeners to engage in conversations on the incorporation of ecological principles into social work practice (and other health professionals' practice).
Deakin University's Environmental Workplace Mental Health Promotion
Deakin University's recent research project Environmental Workplace Mental Health Promotion culminated in a report and a webinar for Australian environmental organisations. Key findings from the research report include: workers are experiencing eco-anxiety about climate change and environmental degradation, workers are faced with these impacts on a constant basis, worker experiences are characterized by an entangled set of supportive and risk factors, e.g. love of and connection to nature and passion for it, and many more.
Have you got 3 minutes for a survey?
We’d love your input to our election plan. Can you take this 3-minute survey to share your ideas for climate health action at the next election?
An Open Letter to Australia's CEOs
Better Futures Australia has published an open letter to Australia's CEOs, inviting their companies to advocate for ambitious national climate policy. The open letter asks CEOs to publicly commit to advocating for ambitious action to tackle climate change and work towards Australia's net zero future.
Business leadership is vital to secure meaningful climate policies, especially ahead of COP26. If you're in a position to encourage your organisation to sign onto the Better Futures Australia Declaration, we strongly encourage you to! You can sign the declaration here.
Fresh Science 2021 application now open
Are you an early-career researcher with a peer-reviewed discovery or results and want some publicity? Or do you know someone like this? Fresh Science is a national competition that helps early-career researchers find their voice, get some media training and learn how to tell their research story in a compelling way – be it to a journalist, politician or philanthropist. Practice being interview by journalists and be a part of the media landscape.
Apply now – we'd love to hear of any climate-health researchers in this program.
Declaring a Climate Emergency: a guide for primary care
Is your organisation interested in declaring a climate emergency? SEE Sustainability has developed a guide, aimed at practices and primary health networks, to help you understand what declaring a climate emergency means, how to take action and an example pledge.
Free online course: Climate change negotiations and health
UN Climate Change:e-Learn have launched a free online course on international climate change negotiations and human health. The course features key information on climate change and its impacts on human health, provides an overview of the climate change negotiations so far, and considers entry points to address health issues and priorities within climate change negotiations and policies. It could be useful ahead of COP26 in November.
Reimagining healthcare in Australia: the journey from telehealth to 21st century design
The Consumers Health Forum of Australia is currently conducting a national research project called Reimagining healthcare in Australia: the journey from telehealth to 21st century design, with the Digital Health CRC, Deloitte Australia and Curtin University. The project aims to better understand consumer expectations of virtual healthcare and includes several national consumer insights surveys focusing on consumer preferences and expectations in healthcare. The results will shape future service development and research.
Landmark climate change decision: Sharma decision has significant implications for developments and activities with climate change impacts
On May 27, a landmark decision for climate change litigation was handed down by Justice Bromberg in the Federal Court, after eight Australian children filed an application with the Court in relation to Vickery Coal’s intended expansion of its coal mine in New South Wales. Justice Bromberg accepted that there was a real, significant and foreseeable risk of harm for Australian children arising from a continued increase in global surface temperatures, to which the Vickery Project would contribute if it proceeded, and recognised the existence of a duty of care owed by the Australian Minister for the Environment to the children.
Assuming that the decision stands, Sharma has significant implications for the development of future projects which have the potential to create climate change impacts.
AMSA Global Health Conference 2021
5-9 August 2021, Perth
AMSA's national Global Health Conference's theme for 2021 is ;'eeds for Change', which reinforces the notion that the greatest changes that we may have in global health begin from the smallest and humblest of beginnings – through awareness, inspiration and innovation. GHC21 will connect hundreds of medical students from all over Australia to the bigger picture of global health through four days of stimulating discussion, five unforgettable social nights, and countless opportunities to get hands-on and make a tangible difference.
Better Futures Forum Australia
17-19 August 2021, online
Join Better Futures Australia for a dynamic three-day virtual event where you can interact with and be inspired by climate champions across all corners of society and the economy. The Better Futures Forum will engage decision makers to support ambitious action on climate change through interactive plenary sessions, lightning talks, workshops, exhibits and entertainment across a number of virtual stages.
CleanMed Europe 2021
29 November - 3 December 2021, online
CleanMed Europe is Europe’s leading conference on sustainable healthcare. The conference showcases cutting-edge practices in sustainable healthcare and is the ideal venue for healthcare innovators to network and share ideas, finding new ways to drive change within their organisations and communities.
In case you missed it ...
The Sustainable Healthcare and Climate Health Aotearoa 2021 Conference
Research and Reports
Recent submissions by the Climate and Health Alliance
CAHA completed a submission to National Preventive Health Taskforce in response to the Draft National Preventive Health Strategy. We acknowledged that the draft Strategy is an improvement on the earlier iterations which contained no reference to climate change. However, the strategy proposes to address climate change via a national environmental health strategy to be developed by 2030 – far too long to wait. We recommend a much stronger emphasis on climate change in the Strategy and a more urgent timeline for action.
We also recently completed submissions in response to the Draft NSW Clean Air Strategy and the Victorian Inquiry of Health Impacts of Air Pollution.
The Limits of Livability: A new climate-health report by the Global Climate and Health Alliance
Australia will face recurring episodes of widespread bushfire smoke and its associated negative health impacts unless governments tackle climate change and support communities and health systems to respond, according to a new report by the Global Climate and Health Alliance, The Limits of Livability: The emerging threat of smoke impacts on health from forest fires and climate change. The report specifies that governments must prepare public health systems to tackle the effects of air pollution from bushfire smoke, which has severe health effects and increases demand on health services.
An Australian Glossary on Health and Climate Change
We’re so proud to have been part of this important project, to document a common language on climate change and health to support collaborative approaches across disciplines to develop impactful solutions. Big thanks to the legends at Sydney University, NSW Health and NSW DPIE who developed this glossary of climate change and health terms.
New supplementary legal opinion on directors’ duties, climate risk and net zero
The Centre for Policy Development has released a range of new materials relating to directors’ duties and climate change, including a new supplementary legal opinion on climate change and directors’ duties. This latest analysis emphasises emphasises the increasing standard of care expected of directors in managing climate-related risks and opportunities, and highlights legal risks surrounding “greenwashing”, especially as scrutiny of climate-related disclosures and commitments grows.
Transforming the health system for sustainability: environmental leadership through a value-based health care strategy
AHHA's Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research recently published a Health Policy Issues brief, called 'Transforming the health system for sustainability: environmental leadership through a value-based health care strategy'. It examines how a value-based health care approach can support health systems to transform for sustainability and provides recommendations for a value-based strategic framework that supports the transformation to sustainable models of health care.
Australia in 2030 scenarios and policy agenda
With input from 100+ experts across different fields, we have developed five scenarios describing what Australia may look like in 2030, depending on the action we take today, and a new policy agenda to get to the future we want – one that is healthy, regenerative and just.
This future is one in which we prioritise planetary health (Healthy) and the protection of ecosystems and earth systems on which our health depends (Regenerative), along with a culture of cooperation for collective benefit (that’s ‘Just’).
This newsletter is brought to you by the team at the Climate and Health Alliance.
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