Economic Growth and Health Poster

Economic Growth and Health Poster

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The words ‘economic growth’ appear in most news bulletins and political articles in the press. This poster raises the issue that growth in many ways is a health hazard for it is incompatible with a sustainable future for humanity.


In Western society progress is equated with economic growth. It is argued that wealth creation has allowed us to spend more on environmental and health objectives and certainly human health in many societies has improved immeasurably during the twentieth century.

DEA and Medical Observer - Prescription for a Healthier Planet

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DEA and Medical Observer have prepared the "Prescription for a Healthier Planet" brochure. The effects of climate change pose the most serious of threats to the health of the world’s population. The potential consequences of global warming include increased storms, droughts and floods. In regions with already marginal water supply, billions could face further water stress. Disturbingly, it’s predicted some of these effects could be seen by 2020. Of the developed nations, Australia is most vulnerable to the dangerous outcome of climate change. Continued warming will lead to a massive loss of farmable land and food production; amongst the health risks are increased deaths and distress from heat-related illnesses and the exposure of millions to mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever; ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu will be irreversibly damaged.

Transport and Health Poster

Transport and Health Poster

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Doctors regularly see the adverse effects of private motor vehicles via patients injured in road traffic accidents. Despite the number of fatalities halving over the last 30 years due to random breath testing and improved road and vehicle design, Australia still recorded 1611 road crash deaths in 2007. (1) It has been predicted that by 2020 traffic accidents will be the third largest cause of global disability adjusted life years lost. (2)

Climate Change Health Check 2020

Climate Change Health Check 2020

Dr Graeme Horton
Professor Tony McMichael
Doctors for the Environment, Australia
April 2008
A report prepared for the Climate Institute of Australia in relation to World Health Day on April 7, 2008 for which the World Health Organisation’s theme is ‘Protecting Health from Climate Change’.
Click here to read the full report.

Climate Change and Health Poster

Climate Change and Health Poster

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Why is climate change so serious?

Climate change happens when the earth heats up because of too much carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ in the atmosphere.

Climate change is already happening. Temperatures and sea levels are rising and rainfall is changing. The CSIRO predicts that by 2030, annual average temperatures in Australia may be up to 2.0°C higher than in 1990.

Biodiversity Poster

Biodiversity Poster

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The importance of biodiversity to your life and health

The single most important factor in the health of each person is not the availability of good health services, or effective cancer drugs, or short waiting lists or state of the art accident services, it is the integrity of the Earth’s ecological services. Perhaps this is an understatement for it is the only factor of consequence. Without ecological services, the Earth would be ‘dead’ like many other planets including our neighbouring planets in the solar system. It follows that the protection of ecological services is integral to maintaining all advances we have made in medical science and in providing a future for further advances.

Europe's Uprising Against GMOs and Patents on Life

The unstoppable groundswell of opposition to GMOs in Europe by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
We thank the Institute of Science in Society for Permission to reproduce this ISIS Report 25/05/09


The recent call for a moratorium on GMOs in Europe [1] (see Europe Holds the Key to a GM-Free World, 5th Conference of GM-Free Regions, Food & Democracy, SiS 43) reflects an unstoppable groundswell of opposition to GMOs from both European citizens and governments.

Protecting Health from Climate Change, global research priorities; WHO Report

17 May 2009: The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a report on climate change and health research during the meeting of Commonwealth Health Ministers, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland. The Chair of the report was Tony McMichael. Colin Butler was a contributor.

The report was drafted in response to a World Health Assembly resolution on climate change and health adopted by the 193 member States of WHO in May 2008. The resolution called on, inter alia, the WHO to work with external partners to support applied research in this field, from assessment of climatic risks to health, to estimating the health benefits of mitigation measures and the costs of adaptation.

Climate Change and Nephropathia Epidemica

An article by Clement and Colleagues in the International Journal of Health Geographics teaches us that we should be vigilant for changes in the frequency of infectious diseases and that a disease reported from Belgium is likely to have counterparts in Australia as climate change takes hold.  In fact it may well come to be that the discerning general practitioner will play a role in epidemiology similar to that of the famous Dr.Will Pickles of Wensleydale England  who described "catarrhal jaundice" (now recognised as Hepatitis A) in his book "Epidemiology in Country Practice" in 1923

Climate Change. Seal the Deal!

Commentary from David Shearman
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced that the UN is launching a worldwide climate change campaign under the slogan: "Seal the Deal! Power green growth. Protect the planet".

The campaign aims to galvanize political will and public support towards signing a new UN agreement on climate change, and urges world leaders to act in the best interest of their peoples and the planet by sealing the climate deal.

News and Comment from the Secretary

The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
The Government’s key proposal for the reduction of greenhouse emissions, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme may not deliver satisfactory outcomes.

The first problem relates to the voluntary reduction in emissions by the community. It is possible that these efforts will become a waste of time under the CPRS. Many critiques have argued that when a citizen reduces personal emissions by  installing solar panels or indeed by using the Government’s new insulation scheme for houses, the reduced electricity production from power stations will allow this power station  to sell permits to other polluting industries. Overall there will be no decrease in emissions. The government has not answered this criticism satisfactorily. The second problem relates to major exporting polluters, including iron ore and aluminium producers BHP Billiton, Alcoa and Rio Tinto, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers Chevron and Woodside Petroleum, who will get significant exemptions for their emissions. The government appears to have been rolled over in the face of heavy lobbying by industry.

Clean and Green Tasmania?

The Premier of Tasmania says that Tasmania is clean and green and its future is to provide clean, green food produce to the world. Water will be provided to irrigate a productive centre of the island.


To be clean and green is laudable but perhaps the Premier needs to be reminded of three major problems to be solved if his claim is to be accepted.  Firstly, the material below relates to meetings held in Launceston and at the Royal Hobart Hospital which documented chemical spraying practices dangerous to the environment and to human health. Secondly,the proposed pulp mill assessment procedures question the judgement of the Tasmanian government. Thirdly, forestry practices which include the wood chipping of old growth and regrowth forest are now reprehensible in terms of Australia fulfilling its necessary role in reducing green house emissions. Once the Premier has acknowledged and acted on these problems it will be satisfying for us to remove the question mark from the title of this article.

Reports on Recent Climate Change Conferences

These reports were prepared by Peter Tait, DEA member, NT

Key Science Messages from the Climate Conference in Copenhagen

Scientists at the international congress in Copenhagen, held in March 2009, have prepared a summary statement of their findings for policy makers. The congress was conceived as an update of the science of global warming ahead of the UN summit in December.


 Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in December this statement will go to officials and heads of state at the conference. The full conclusions from the 2,500 scientific delegates from 80 countries that have attended the three-day meeting this week will be published in full in June 2009.

The impact of global crises on health: money, weather and microbes

This is an Address  by Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, given at at the 23rd Forum on Global Issues,  Berlin, 18 March 2009

This is an inspirational Address. I see it as clarion call for health professionals to make heard their case  in the halls and corridors of bad governments. To those members of DEA who are briefing their elected representatives. please print out a copy and take it to your meeting. We acknowledge WHO-- Editor.

"The world is in a mess, and much of this mess is of our own making. Events such as the financial crisis and climate change are not quirks of the marketplace, or quirks of nature. They are not inevitable events in the up-and-down cycle of human history.

Current Climate Trajectory for Australia and Health Impacts.

Dr Grant Blashki - Senior Research Fellow, Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne - recently presented a paper before an audience including the Governor of Victoria, Professor David de Kretser. It is both disturbing (it is forecast that river and stream flow in Victoria may be reduced by half across much of the State by 2070*) and hopeful ... "We already have the technology for many of the solutions if we choose to put them in place." Click here to access the PDF file.
*Source: Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Victoria, “State of the Environment” 2008. 

Feeling under the weather?

Martin Williams has provided an excellent poster, "Feeling under the weather?". The poster highlights climate change problems, with specific reference to Victoria, and questions the viability of emission permit trading over a carbon tax, as well as the CO2 reduction levels needed. Martin also makes a wry, and accurate, observation on river management in Australia. Click here to download the poster PDF.

Climate Change Blues and Greens

by David Shearman

Evidence is accumulating that the public is increasingly disinterested in climate change. What is this evidence, what are the reasons for its occurrence and how does it affect our mission to get government to act?

In the US a Gallup Poll in March indicated “the highest level of public scepticism about mainstream reporting on global warming seen in more than a decade” of polling. Most Americans thought that global warming was “either correctly portrayed in the news or underestimated” but two-in-five said the media are exaggerating. In the 2006 Gallup Poll, 66 percent thought that the issue was reported correctly or underestimated in news reports, and 30 percent thought it was exaggerated. In 2009 these figures were 57 percent and 41 percent.  It was also found that climate change was the only issue for which public concern dropped significantly over the year. This fall in concern did not occur with other environmental problems.

Clean Energy For Eternity and Matthew Nott

Clean Energy For Eternity  is a  project run by community groups and initiated  by surgeon Matthew Nott. His story  which follows, is inspirational and is a model that could be applied to many rural and regional communities around Australia. I urge you to look at the web site  -- Editor

I am an orthopaedic surgeon, based in Bega on the Far South Coast of NSW. The Bega District Hospital attempts to provide a trauma and elective orthopaedic service to South East NSW, covering a population of 100 000 people. The service is growing. We now have three orthopaedic surgeons; there are plans for a new regional hospital, and a new private hospital is in the planning stages.  As it is for most rural surgeons, life is extremely busy. Three years ago, I decided to make my life a whole lot busier by starting a community campaign looking at regional solutions to climate change. Why on earth would I want to take on such a big task?