Economic Growth and Health Poster

Economic Growth and Health Poster

Download the poster (Low Res 876 KB)

Download the poster (High Res 4.5 MB)

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

Dowload link.

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

Download the poster (Low Res 468 KB)

Download the poster (High Res 4.0 MB)

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

Download the poster

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

Download the poster (Low Res 308 KB)

Download the poster (High Res 5.4 MB)

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.

A Brief ABC of Biochar; importance in reducing green house emissions

Biochar is a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water. The carbon in biochar resists degradation and can sequester carbon in soils for hundreds to thousands of years.

Millions of dollars are being deployed on research into sequestration of carbon derived from burning coal in power stations This research is seen as a political and employment necessity. However, there are more simple and efficient ways to sequester carbon which are under exploration. The creation of biochar is one of them.



News from the Secretary January 2009

Health impacts of climate change are felt in Adelaide
The discerning citizens in Adelaide and its environs have recognised the coming of climate change for some time now by changes in the flora and bird population. The River Murray debacle is obvious to all but many still say there have always been such droughts and climate change is not necessarily to blame. But the present heat wave with a succession of days in the low 40’s cannot be escaped physically or scientifically. It has signified the future to most suffering citizens.



Environmentalists Spar Over Corporate Ties

This article by Ben Block in Worldwatch on November 11, 2008 is of interest to all doctors because of our own interactions with the pharmaceutical industry. However, there are more fundamental concerns in relationships with organisations which fuel a form of economic growth that  is the cause of the ecological crisis.

For permission to publish the updated version of this article we are grateful to the Worldwatch Institute, Eye on Earth,

At a time when more than a third of the planet's species are threatened with extinction, the resources that are needed for effective conservation far exceed the money available for the cause.

Good News for Research into the Health Impacts of Climate Change


Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Climate Change and Water;
The Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Minister for Health and Ageing;
Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. 
27 January 2008


Australia’s top research institutions are turning their attention to the human health impacts of climate change, and the strategies Australia will need to reduce the risks.

The Australian Government’s National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the CSIRO have identified health and climate change as a strategic priority for research, and $10 million is being provided to fund the effort.

Climate Change and the Financial Crisis; a new opportunity for DEA to redouble its effectiveness.

Dr Bill Castleden

Having completed my five year term as Chair of DEA I have been asked to write a ‘farewell’ piece for the website. It builds on an article David Shearman posted on 4 November 2008 and incorporates my thoughts on the recently circulated Hansen letter to the Obamas.


DEA exists because climate change, environmental degradation and pollution are such serious threats to human health. In particular climate change will bring to Australia an increased burden of heat stroke, injury from fire and storm, infectious diseases, social disruption and mental illness. In the developing world it will bring famine and water shortage.

Food, Population Policy and Climate Change

Walking to the shops instead of driving would seem to be one way that each of us can reduce our greenhouse emissions. Unfortunately, your emissions may be less if you take the car. If you take your family in the car as well then greenhouse will benefit even more. This seems counterintuitive.  The reason is that if you eat an average Australian diet with meat and dairy, the calories you use walking to the shops will probably create more greenhouse emissions than driving. If you grow your own food, don’t use fertiliser, collect your rainwater and are mainly vegetarian then definitely walk to the shops.

Climate change; ethics and human rights

The recent Poznan meeting on climate change produced thousands of statements but little progress. In sifting through the deluge of words, one fundamental issue emerges, the conflicting views of developing and developed nations. This has human rights and ethical connotations. To illustrate the issue I will discuss statements from Evo Morales, President of the Republic of Bolivia, from representatives of the Pacific countries and from a US ethicist representing Western thought. 

Climate Change: Save the Planet from Capitalism a statement delivered to the meeting in Poznan by Evo Morales Ayma, President of the Republic of Bolivia.

News from the Secretary, December 2008

In a week when the World Meteorological Office (WMO) reported that 2008 was the tenth warmest since records began in 1850 and global temperatures for 2000-2008 stood almost 0.2 °C warmer than the average for the decade 1990–1999, the WMO said "The industrialised world must cut its emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020 if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change”. The Australian government set a target of 5 percent reduction In the Carbon Reduction Pollution Scheme (CRPS)—called an Emissions trading scheme (ETS) in other countries. Industry and the Opposition claimed this proposal was too much or too soon or both. Certainly it was not an auspicious week for the most wealthy and stable country in the world and the biggest per capita emitter. And it was a bitter disappointment to those who understand the implications of climate change. There is more comment in the article below

Climate change; the middle ground is not enough

David Shearman

Telling words were uttered on the ABC TV 7.30 Report, 11 December. Asked about a forthcoming government statement on greenhouse gas emissions Mr Rudd said,

“And I'm sure when this is delivered, early next week, we'll get attacked from the left, from the right, we'll get attacked by various radical green groups saying that we haven't gone far enough because we haven't closed down the coal industry by next Thursday.”

O’Brien: I think that's a little unkind, but ...

 Mr. Rudd modified by saying

News from the Secretary, November 2008

This Newsletter describes DEA activities during the past month together with some commentary on relevant events in Australia and the world. We urge you to refer to the DEA web page for the latest articles. This month we have highlighted the Hepburn Community wind

One has to worry about the effect of the financial crisis on plans to curb greenhouse emissions. There is no doubt in my mind that the climate change crisis is much more threatening to humanity that the financial crisis but that is not how it is seen by government. Around the world some governments and industry are being deflected from their resolve because the falling price of coal and oil makes renewable development ‘uneconomic’. However, as pointed out in my article that accompanied the October newsletter, the financial crisis offers opportunities to reform economies on the back of green jobs. Both the European Union and  President-elect Barack Obama have resolved to stick to commitments to cap emissions of carbon dioxide and invest in new green technologies, arguing that government action could stimulate the economy and create new jobs in producing sustainable energy. “Despite the Economy, Obama Vows to Press Green Agenda,” was a headline in Time magazine.

Mary Robinson: Climate change is an issue of human rights

These principles must be put at the heart of any deal on global warming

Printed with permission of The independent Newspaper UK.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Sixty years ago today, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the cornerstone document created in the aftermath of unimaginable atrocities. This declaration, and the legal documents that stemmed from it, have helped us combat torture, discrimination and hunger. And now, this venerable document should guide us in the fight against one of the greatest challenges ever to face humankind: climate change.

Dieldren and Breast Cancer

Editors note. There is increasing concern about toxic chemicals in our environment. Dieldren, an organo-chlorine insecticide widely used between the 1950s’s and 70’s, is an example of the compounds called persistent organics pollutants which indeed persist in the environment and the human body. While dieldren is no longer used in Australia there are persistent organic pollutants that are. Dieldrin residues still persist in the environment, food and people.