Pages tagged "climate"

  • Tragic loss and untimely death of CAHA board member, Assoc Professor Erica Bell

    The CAHA Committee of Management and Membership is shocked and saddened by the untimely death of Committee of Management member and Expert Advisory Committee member Associate Professor Erica Bell, who died on Saturday following a massive stroke early last week. Erica has been a tireless supporter of the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), attending its inaugural meeting in 2010, serving on its Committee of Management and Expert Advisory group since its establishment, amid an incredibly demanding role at University of Tasmania, previously as Deputy Director, University Department of Rural Health, and more recently in the Translational Health Services Group in the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre. Erica championed and led the development of the CAHA expert advisory group, which has been pivotal to the organisation's credibility and reputation. Erica was influential in building support for CAHA particularly in the rural and remote education sector, and her innovative approaches to community engagement in climate and health research and emphasis on rural and remote health, as well as her insights into integrating policy and research, were extremely valuable and will influence research for decades to come. Erica was much admired in the CAHA community and her support of CAHA and its work deeply appreciated.  

  • Health sector urged to engage with social media to promote climate action

    What does the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report mean for health in Australia? This post first appeared on the blog Croakey on 31 March 2014 A new report from the IPCC issues the world one of its most stark warnings on climate change to date. Leaked drafts suggest this report will be one of the IPCC's most stark warnings yet issued on climate change, especially as it relates to human health. Authors of the health chapter say the report chronicles serious impacts to human health and wellbeing already from climate change, and warn of our limited ability to adapt to rapidly increasing global temperatures. What is the IPCC and what does it report on? The IPCC is a scientific body under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) - 195 countries are members of the IPCC. Every four years, the IPCC releases a series of assessment reports on the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. Four Assessment Reports (AR1, AR2, AR3 and AR4) and part 1 of the Fifth Report (WGI or AR5) have been released to date. The AR5 WGI report covered the physical science and was released in September 2013. The second part (WGII) of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) will be released this week. This IPCC Second Working Group report (WGII) covers the evidence on the impacts of climate change on humans and other species, the vulnerability of human society and other species and ecosystems to climate change, and on the adaptation measures underway or needed to minimise adverse impacts. The third working group report on mitigation (WGIII) will be released in Berlin in April 2014. This second report from Working Group II is an important one for health. What does the IPCC WGII report say about health? The findings of note from WGII include that climate change is affecting everyone in every nation on every continent, right now. Australia is particularly vulnerable to impacts on food production. The report highlights that people everywhere are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, especially extreme weather events which are now more frequent and more severe. Despite long standing warning on the need for mitigation (curbing emissions) and adaptation (responding to minimise the impacts of climate change), levels of adaptation to global warming around the world remain low. Some efforts by defence organisations, the tourism industry and insurance companies lead the way, but much more must be done. Failing to do so will put health further at risk, as it means we are not acting to avoid some potentially preventable impacts, like coastal flooding, heat stress from heatwaves, and the spread of disease. The report shows that failing to cut greenhouse gas emissions will lead to levels of warming that will make some parts of the world uninhabitable. However reducing emissions can cut the economic damage from climate change considerably. Further, the report shows that reducing emissions will bring many immediate and localised benefits to human health “ the savings from which would substantially offset the costs of reducing emissions. Health professionals are urged to act to raise awareness about the health risks from climate change and the health benefits of cutting emissions. Unless these issues are more widely understood, we risk failing to take actions that may ultimately determine whether or not we survive as a species, this profound, manmade, global threat to health. What can you do? You can help promote the issues raised in the IPCC report this week by joining a social media Thunderclap on climate and health. Follow the Climate and Health Alliance (Australia) on Twitter @healthy_climate) and our international group the Global Climate and Health Alliance on @GCHAlliance. Like our respective Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/climateandhealthalliance and https://www.facebook.com/climateandhealth Have a look Climasphere for lots of resources about climate change and the IPCC report. Later this week, you can check out a short film, share some infographics and join a webinar on climate and health “ look for details here: http://www.climateandhealthalliance.org/ipcc Importantly however, please do as CAHA President Dr Liz Hanna urges in this press release: "Act at a global level, a national level, at state and community level and as individuals. We must do all we can to cut emissions and urge others to do so if we are to avoid putting health at greater risk," Dr Hanna said. "The reality is, cutting emissions will bring many immediate benefits for public health, as well as help limit climate change in the longer term. We can afford to do it, but we cannot afford to wait."

  • How to make your conference carbon neutral (or even carbon negative)

    Australian Medical Students Association (AMSA) take some real climate action Henry West Embedded image permalink For many years the World Health Organisations (WHO) have made it clear that the health care sector should lead by example in terms of reducing climate change pollutants and by demonstrating how climate change mitigation can yield tangible, immediate health benefits. At the recent Australian Medical Student Association (AMSA) Global Health Conference (GHC) in Hobart the challenge this viewpoint presents to us was taken up with vigor. For the first time ever an AMSA event was completely carbon neutral and actually carbon negative. This was no minor undertaking, as the conference was very well attended with over 500 people present; nearly 200 tonnes of CO2 were offset. This was achieved via two internationally recognised projects coordinated by Climate Friendly, a large Australian carbon-offsetting firm. One of the projects in particular had immediate health benefits and was of particular satisfaction to the GHC organising committee. This project was a Cambodian one that actively replaces highly polluting indoor wood/charcoal fired cooking stoves with new far more efficient and clean ones, the New Lao Stove (NLS). The NLS was developed by GERES, an NGO ?that has been operating in the region for many years. More efficient than traditional stove models, the NLS uses 20-30% less fuel-wood and charcoal, thereby reducing CO2 emissions from cooking. This has immediate and dramatic health impacts for whole families, mostly regarding respiratory health, in conjunction with the large CO2 mitigation. For AMSA to be taking positive action in this way, by providing budgetary means for events to be offset and also personnel to ensure that reductions in impacts are made in the first place is a testament to their commitment to both global health and also playing their part in addressing the climate emergency we are facing. I encourage all to consider the impact of their own events in the health care sector, whether it is in management or simple attendance. Cleaning up our own backyard allows us to encourage and assist others to do the same. When we are in the business of health care contributing to what will likely be the greatest health threat of the 21st century is not acceptable. Embedded image permalink Henry West was the Environmental Officer for the AMSA 2013 GHC and is the 2013 Student Representative for Doctors for the Environment Australia in Tasmania. He is a student at UTAS.
  • Sydney screening: The Human Cost of Power

    The new short film, The Human Cost of Power, a project of the Climate and Health Alliance and Public Health Association of Australia, will be screened in Sydney on 20th November 2013. An event at the University of Notre Dame will be the first NSW screening of the film that explores the health and climate impacts of coal and gas. When: 6.00pm-7.30pm Wednesday 20th November 2013 Where: Lecture Theatre NDS14/201, University of Notre Dame, 160 Oxford St, Darlinghurst NSW. Download a campus map here.

  • Green dialysis program in Geelong

    By CAHA Convenor, Fiona Armstrong "I had the pleasure of attending the September meeting of the Victorian Green Health Round Table Group this month and was inspired by some of the actions being taken within Victorian hospitals to reduce their environmental footprint and save resources. Individuals from around fifteen major hospital groups met at Barwon Health in Geelong to discuss current initiatives and to hear from Professor John Agar on the world leading green dialysis program run at Barwon Health. Professor Agar shared the success of the green dialysis program, and the Barwon team's contribution to starting the world's literature on eco-dialysis. There are now 30 publications in the health and medical literature about this program. The program began as a nocturnal dialysis program to allow patients to dialyse at home, however the excessive costs associated with water, power and waste that were then borne by patients forced a rethink about how to take a smarter approach to water use and re-use and sourcing cheaper power. The unit now provides the world's first solar powered dialysis system and recycles and reuses reject water from the reverse osmosis system. Patients are sent home with solar panels that cover all the energy requirements of the dialysis machine. A recent publication in Australian Health Review on the carbon footprint of dialysis outlines the carbon footprint of the unit and compares it to other hypothetical units in other states in order to predict the impact of local factors on emissions profiles. In the longer term the team hopes to have a purpose built facility that is eco friendly, eco responsive, and carbon light in order to deliver ecodialysis services to all patients." For more info, see www.greendialysis.org

  • Greening the healthcare sector: Policy Think Tank

    The second annual CAHA - AHHA think tank on sustainability on the health care sector was held in Melbourne on 30th August 2013.

    We heard from international speaker Dr Blair Sadler from the University of California and the successful Healthier Hospitals Initiative as well as local and interstate sustainable healthcare professionals sharing their experiences. Josh Karliner from Health Care Without Harm shared a innovative new communications platform that's connecting people working on greening the health sector initiatives worldwide! Check out this report via Croakey for a Twitter report of the day's events. Click here for Program details. Full report coming soon!
  • The Human Cost of Power

    Film Screening

    A new short film, 'The Human Cost of Power', produced by award winning science journalist, Alexandra de Blas will be previewed at a public forum in Melbourne on Wednesday 18th September 2013. The film, 'The Human Cost of Power' explores the health impacts associated with the massive expansion of coal and unconventional gas in Australia. The public forum will feature expert speakers including University of Melbourne researcher Dr Jeremy Moss, climate scientist Professor David Karoly, Friends of the Earth campaigner Cam Walker, and Dr Jacinta Morahan from Surf Coast Air Action. The Human Cost of Power is produced for the Climate and Health Alliance and the Public Health Association of Australia. The forum is supported by the Social Justice Initiative at the University of Melbourne. The public forum and film screening will be held from 6.00pm-7.30pm at the Laby Theatre, Room L108, Physics South Building 192, University of Melbourne on Wednesday 18th September 2013. Eventbrite - The Human Cost of Power For more information about the film, and CAHA's work on this topic, check out our Healthy Energy Projects page.
  • Spreading the word

    CAHA has been out and about talking to students, health professional and the community about climate change. Check out some of these presentations here: The Art and Science of Policy Advocacy - Latrobe University May 2013 The Implications of Climate Change for Women - Australian Women's Health Conference 2013    
  • Climate and health Clinic at SLF 2013

    A big shout out to the wonderful health promotion practitioners and students who participated in the Climate and Health Alliance's initiative at the Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival for the second year in 2013. Here, volunteer Sally talks about what they got up to and what the Climate and Health Clinic is about. http://vimeo.com/63054314
  • Lives increasingly at risk from ˜angry climate'

    Australian's lives are increasingly at risk from extreme weather being driven by climate change, the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) has warned. CAHA has responded to a new report from the Climate Commission, The Angry Summer, which shows the recent summer was the hottest ever, during which Australia recorded its first ever average maximum of 40.30°C, on 7 January 2013. Heatwaves pose the most serious threat to health, but lives were also lost in recent bushfires and flooding following extreme rainfall. The report shows the world is moving into a ˜new climate', the consequences for which could be devastating for all people everywhere and for the natural systems on which we rely. Read more here.