The latest on climate and health, March 2019

Monday 25 March 2019

Welcome to the March Climate and Health News. This edition is packed full of news, events and information, keeping you up to date with what’s happening in the world of climate and health and giving you resources to 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.

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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Australia has endured another scorching summer, with record temperatures, drought, fires, heatwaves and floods. But what captured attention in over the last month?

Here are the top news stories:

Victoria’s coal and gas plants failed in the heat, causing rolling blackouts in the state. Read Nicky Ison’s take on the weaknesses in our power systems that led to these failures, and how we can be better prepared.

A powerful and deeply saddening piece by Richard Flanagan - that struck a chord with many of our social media followers.

In a landmark decision, a judge rejected the proposed Rocky Hill coal mine near Gloucester, NSW, citing its impact on the town and ‘dire consequences’ of increasing emissions.

Unprecedented flooding in Far North Queensland kills 500,000 cattle.

A changing climate is creating unusual fire events across the world: at a cattle station in the Northern Territory, the ground started burning and was unable to be extinguished.

Kim Mahood's op-ed in the New York Times eloquently expresses the distress and despair that many have felt in the wake of a string of environmental catastrophes in Australia.

The school strike movement gains momentum globally, and 16-year-old Greta Thunberg continues to speak out about inaction in climate change.

New analysis suggests that massive forest restoration efforts could wipe out a decade of emissions. 

The spectacled flying fox has been listed as endangered after QLD heatwave wipes out one third of the population.

Protector? Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has approved the dumping of more than 1m tonnes of dredge spoil near the reef, using a loophole in federal laws supposed to protect the marine park.

Accounting tricky won't work when it comes to meeting Australia's Paris climate target in half - numbers matter



From the inspiring students in the School Strike movement to the older Australians in Grey Power, there is huge range of initiatives underway to advocate for climate action. 

School Strike 4 Climate

School Strike 4 Climate continues to gather national attention. Tens of thousands of students in Australia and around the world will be striking on March 15. Even if you are not a student, you can join them in solidarity. Find out how you can get involved in your city and sign up

To support the students and join other healthcare professionals attending the strike in your city, visit CAHA's events page on Facebook.

Grey Power

Grey Power is a new group aimed to "inspire and train older Australians to take bold and creative nonviolent action to help change the politics of climate emergency." Check out their Facebook group here.

Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion is "declaring international non-violent rebellion against the world's governments for criminal inaction on the ecological crisis". Find out more at:

Meeting with MPs

CAHA members and supporters continue to reach out to Members of Parliament to provide briefings on climate change and health, asking them to acknowledge this critical issue and asking them to commit to supporting the development of a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia.

Pictured is CAHA President Amanda Adrian at a recent meeting with her local MP, Mike Kelly, in the electorate of Eden-Monaro in NSW.

If you would like to meet with your MP or a Senator in your state (or parliamentary candidates in the lead up to the federal election), please let us know by signing up here, and access our Advocacy Toolkit here. If you would like assistance or advice, please get in touch via [email protected].

Don't forget, you can also email your local MP, it takes just 5 minutes and you can change the email to make a request for a meeting at the same time.



Sustainable Living Festival

CAHA was at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne. This was a fantastic opportunity to talk to the public about the connection between climate change and health. Even among those at the festival - a climate-aware crowd - many had not heard about the connection between climate and health, and were excited to learn more. People are receptive to talking about climate change and health - so don't be afraid to talk about it - loud and proud!

Pictured: CAHA CEO Fiona Armstrong signing up new supporters at the Sustainable Living Festival in February 2019.


Upcoming Events

QUEENSLAND: March 30-31, Climate Health Champions Workshops in Cairns and Townsville

Are you concerned about the impact of climate change on the Australian community? Do you want to increase your ability to act? CAHA is pleased to offer health professionals the opportunity to attend a one-day Climate-Health Champions workshop in Cairns on Saturday March 30, and in Townsville on Sunday March 31.

We're after people who are passionate about change, willing to develop skills, and want to be part of leading an effective movement for climate action. Register online now for Cairns and Townsville.

VICTORIA: March 14 and March 21, Melbourne and Geelong Climate Conversations Workshops

One of the most powerful ways to push for action on climate change is by having conversations with people in our networks and community about common values and practical steps forward.

CAHA invites you to participate in these short face-to-face workshops to help build your confidence in having conversations with politicians, colleagues and friends about the link between climate and health and available solutions. Register for these workshops by clicking on the link for your city: Melbourne on 14 March, and in Geelong on 21 March 2019. 

VICTORIA: March 19, Guest Lecture with Dr Trevor Hancock

In this stimulating presentation, long-time activist and thought leader Dr. Trevor Hancock will discuss how he and others are working towards this in Victoria, Canada, and offer guidance on how others (from government, civil society, and industry) can contribute to achieving this goal. Register online now.

VICTORIA: April 3, 7-9pm Macnamara Candidates’ Forum on Climate Change and Energy, St Kilda Town Hall

The issues of climate change and energy are critical as never before. People are calling it “the climate change election”. Candidates from the three major parties in Macnamara (formerly Melbourne Ports) will be speaking at the Climate Change and Energy Forum. Take this opportunity to hear them speak and to ask questions. CAHA Executive Director Fiona Armstrong and Energy Analyst Simon Holmes a Court will also speak at the forum about climate change and health and climate and energy issues. Find out more here.

TASMANIA: April 5-7, Doctors for the Environment iDEA 19: Keeping The Lights On at the Menzies Research Institute, Hobart.

DEA’s annual conference empowers medical professionals and medical students from across Australia and beyond to skill up, get motivated and to address the biggest challenge and opportunity facing doctors today— the human health impacts of the environment and climate change. Register here.

NEW ZEALAND: April 7-11, IUHPE 23rd World Conference on Health Promotion in Rotorua, 

The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand, the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) and their partners are looking forward to host this important global public health event, in Rotorua, New Zealand in April 2019. The aim is to provide an unparalleled opportunity to link and demonstrate the contribution of health promotion to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to acknowledge the way SDGs contribute to improvements in health and wellbeing. Register and find out more here

VICTORIA: May 1, Symposium on Climate Change, Society and Health at the School of Regulation and Global Governance

The Australian National University will be hosting a Symposium on Climate Change, Society and Health at the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University on May 1, 2019, with more details to be published closer to the date.

Director of the School of Regulation and Global Governance, Professor Sharon Friel, will be a key speaker at this event. Read her recently published book, "Climate Change and the People's Health". Order online at and enter AMPROMD9 to save 30%. CAHA Executive Director Fiona Armstrong will speak at the forum on "making action happen: lessons from social movements".

MELBOURNE May 2, ANMF Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference

Attend the conference and learn new ways to reduce waste, promote sustainability and improve your community. Join together with a growing movement of health professionals who are changing the way we deliver health and striving to improve our work, home and wider environments. 

Keynote presenters will explore the impact of the environment on the health system, our personal wellness and our future resources. Hear from your colleagues from hospitals around Victoria as they present practical and achievable ways to improve environmental sustainability at work.

Don’t miss this opportunity to come along and connect with other nurses, midwives and carers who can support your journey towards a more sustainable life. Book your early-bird tickets online now

Please note this event was previously shown as being held in Canberra - we apologise as this was in error - it will be held in Melbourne.

VICTORIA: May 17, Nursing for the Environment - INTENSIVE

Are you a nurse or midwife who wants to know more about how you can make your workplace more sustainable? Designed for all nurses, this intensive seminar provided by the ANMF provides a crash course in sustainable healthcare that gives nurses the knowledge and confidence to respond to important environmental and health issues positively and effectively. Find out more and register here.


Research, Reports and Resources

The heat goes on: 28 major breakdowns at gas and coal plants in NSW in 2018.

A new report by the Australia Institute found that there were 27 major breakdowns at gas and coal power stations in New South Wales, each one removing hundreds of megawatts of capacity from the system, sometimes for hours at a time. This is the equivalent of more than one breakdown every fortnight through the year.

EAT Lancet Planetary Health and the Lancet Commission on Obesity

The dual challenges of climate change and obesity could be fought by changing the way we eat, according to to the EAT Lancet Planetary Health report and the Lancet Commission on Obesity released in 2019.  The EAT-Lancet Commission is a first-of-its-kind report provides scientific guidance for a healthy and sustainable diet - addressing the lack of scientific targets that have hindered previous efforts to transform the food system. 

How Local Health Districts can prepare for the effects of climate change: an adaptation model applied to metropolitan Sydney

Lucie Rychetnik, Peter Sainsbury and Greg Stewart use existing data sources and models to assess climate-related risks and vulnerabilities for healthcare services (including ambulance, emergency and acute health care, routine health care, and population and preventative health services), using a case study in metropolitan Sydney. 

Climate Change - A Health Emergency 

Two physicians from PSR’s Greater Boston chapter have just published a must-read article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine:  “Climate Change – A Health Emergency.” It is a strong and cogent statement of the challenge the world faces from climate change and the responsibility of physicians (and, by extension, other health  professionals) to respond.


Call for submissions and nominations

Nominate a female expert for the ABC

Most of the people interviewed on TV and radio as experts in their fields are men. Where are all the women? ABC News is building its database of women across industries to call on as expert talent, opinion leaders and sources for interviews/commentary on their digital and broadcast platforms. Nominate a female friend or colleague (or yourself!) who is an expert in their field.

Applications for 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award Now Open!

If you are leading a project that addresses both human health and climate change, apply for a UN Global Climate Action award under the category, Planetary Health. Submit your project here. Applications close on April 30, 2019.


Global Green and Healthy Hospital - new online platform

The online platform for Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, known as GGHH Connect is being redeveloped with a brand new platform to be launched in late 2019. In order to take advantage of dramatic innovations and improvements in technology, the GGHH Connect 2.0 will be developed in 2019

GGHH Connect will continue to be available for members to access GGHH Guidance Documents, Hippocrates Data Center, webinar recordings and presentations and other resources. Continue to go to to access the site.



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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