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.

Energy Policy for Australia by Mark Diesendorf

We thank Mark Diesendorf for writing this article for us. Mark has become a well respected authority on Energy. He will advise us on policy and we are very grateful.

Mark is Deputy Director, Institute of Environmental Studies' University of New South Wales.

I draw your attention to two of Mark's books referred to in his article "Greenhouse Solutions with Sustainable Energy" reviews the energy technologies (including coal with carbon capture and storage and nuclear) that have been proposed for cutting GHG emissions. It then goes on to discuss the policies needed to implement the genuinely sustainable technologies, namely energy efficiency and renewable energy. Bookshop price is $49.95.

The second book, "Climate Action", starts from the situation where most governments have failed to implement effective policies to cut GHG emissions and then proposes strategies and tactics for the climate action movement to overcome the political barriers to change. There is pertinent advice for those visiting politicians who are challenged with statements like-renewable energy cannot provide base load power. I strongly recommend this book. Bookshop price is $34.95

Click here to read the article Energy Policy for Australia.

Antarctica Update (number 2) from Merryn Redenbach of the Sea Shepherd CS

Merryn is a doctor with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

She works in community paediatrics, is a DEA member from Victoria and is a doctor on the Steve Irwin in Antarctica hassling Japanese whalers. Here is her second blog for us. I suspect that many DEA members are envious. You can donate by going to the Sea Shepherd site  click here -Editor.

The last month and a half of Sea Shepherd's Operation Waltzing Matilda have taken us onto the Antarctic continent, back to Hobart, to the French Kerguelen Islands (a week's sailing west of Australia) and back to Perth, have seen us resupply the new Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker with food, water and medical supplies and transport the ship-wrecked crew of the Ady Gil back to Australia.  Thankfully there have been only minor medical issues.

Uncharted Voyage: the Science and consequences of Ocean Acidification.

By Paul Roth FRACGP

Executive Summary 

Ocean acidification has been called “the other CO2 problem” and even “global warming’s evil twin”. It occurs when carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, producing carbonic acid (H2CO3).

Carbonic acid rapidly dissociates to produce hydrogen (H+) and bicarbonate ions (HCO3-). The hydrogen ions so produced combine with carbonate ions (CO3), sourced from calcium carbonate (CaCO3) to form more bicarbonate. This reduces the amount of available calcium carbonate.

Western Australia to Grow GM Crops

In November 2009 we published a letter from a UK scientific organisation to Mr Colin Barnett. The letter expressed concern for academic freedom over GM foods in WA (click here)  The letter stated

In 2005, the Government of Western Australia awarded a research grant worth $92,000 to researchers at the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, now based in Adelaide, Southern Australia. In announcing it, the then Agriculture Minister, Kim Chance, said that "the WA Government will fund an independent long-term animal feeding trial to gain data on the safety or otherwise of GM food crops

“Climate Science on Thin Ice”- an analysis

“Climate Science on thin ice” was the title of an article placed prominently in “The Australian” on January 18. The report stated

THE prediction, if true, was an apocalyptic one. The "rapid melting" of thousands of glaciers across the Himalayas would lead to deadly floods, followed by severe long-term water shortages across the food bowl of central Asia.
The melting glaciers would cause havoc to water supplies feeding Asia's nine largest rivers, including the Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow rivers, affecting hundreds of millions of people.The result, according to a 2005 report by environmental group WWF, would be "massive eco and environmental problems for people in western China, Nepal and northern India"

An Analysis of our Predicament on Climate Change

David Shearman

We are struggling through a labyrinth of ideas and pressures in our search for progress. However long we wander in this maze there is only one way out and the exit sign says “economic reform”. Free market liberalism which has ruled our lives for several decades is on the nose, it failed on the promise it could regulate itself and brought misery to millions. The views of discarded economic theories of JM Keynes are making a come back; they are apparent in the pleadings and cajoling of some governments but not as yet in the actions of bankers and financiers who continue on their merry way.

Copenhagen COP-OUT

David Shearman
This review in the December 15 newsletter to all members was an immediate response to Copenhagen. Now that more information is available it will be modified in future articles. Appended are some views from members.

Copenhagen was bitterly disappointing. The outcome was inconsequential compared to the task in hand. A non-binding statement mentions limiting climate rise to 2 degrees but even if achieved this offers only a 50/50 chance of avoiding ‘dangerous’ climate change and the existing commitments to emission reduction will allow for a temperature rise of 4 degrees.

Antarctica Update from Merryn Redenbach of the Sea Shepherd CS


Merryn is a doctor with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

She works in community paediatrics, is a DEA member from Victoria and is a doctor on the Steve Irwin in Antarctica hassling Japanese whalers. Here is her first blog. I suspect that many DEA members are envious. You can donate by going to -Editor.

Copenhagen Accord

The Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and other heads of the following delegations present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen: [List of Parties]
In pursuit of the ultimate objective of the Convention as stated in its Article 2,
Being guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention,
Noting the results of work done by the two Ad hoc Working Groups,
Endorsing decision x/CP.15 on the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action and decision x/CMP.5 that requests the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments of Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol to continue its work,

Leaders of the Rich World are Enacting a Giant Fraud

This article written by Johann Hari at the start of the 2 week Copenhagen conference was a predictor of one important reason while the conference would fail

Leaders of the rich world are enacting a giant fraud; Corporate lobbyists can pressure or bribe governments to rig the system in their favour

By Johann Hari, The Independent 11 December 2009
We thank  the author and The Independent, (UK) for permission to publish

Every delegate to the Copenhagen summit is being greeted by the sight of a vast fake planet dominating the city's central square. This swirling globe is covered with corporate logos – the Coke brand is stamped over Africa, while Carlsberg appears to own Asia, and McDonald's announces "I'm loving it!" in great red letters above. "Welcome to Hopenhagen!" it cries. It is kept in the sky by endless blasts of hot air.

Please Work to Green your Hospital


This is a resource article for those who wish to help green their hospitals

In England, the NHS has produced an extensive report “Saving carbon improving health” on reducing carbon emissions  in hospitals. I wonder how many hospital Boards in Australia follow such recommendations. These are

Energy and carbon management
Every organisation should review its energy and carbon management at Board level; develop more use of renewable energy where appropriate; measure and monitor on a whole life cycle cost basis; and ensure appropriate behaviours are encouraged in individuals as well as across the organisation.

Dr Linda Selvey - New CEO Greenpeace Australia Pacific


This appointment  is great news for health and the environment. The message is important, here is an eminent medical doctor and environmental expert appointed to a major organisation. It signifies the strong inter-relationship between health and the environment.
My membership in Greenpeace had lapsed-- I have now rejoined!  David Shearman, Editor
The following is the press release from Greenpeace

Dr Linda Selvey is taking on the top job at Greenpeace Australia Pacific after a solid career as a senior public servant in Queensland. For more than 12 years Dr Selvey has held senior management positions in Queensland Health including being Executive Director, Population Health Queensland  for almost 4 years.  She is highly respected professionally and personally within the field of public health in Queensland and nationally.