When We Die—a case for easier deaths and natural burials

Not many lectures are a work of art. This one is, in more ways than one.  Bryan Furnass, DEA Member, welds ecological and medical knowledge, using Western art and literature, to create a masterpiece. When you read it you will both learn and enjoy the experience. Don’t miss it!

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, www.worldwatch.org

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.

The Control of Pesticides in the European Union and Australia

The Collegium Ramazzinihas made a Call for Action to Protect Human Health in relation to pesticides
The Collegium is an international scientific society that examines critical issues in occupational and environmental medicine with a view towards action to prevent disease and promote health. The Collegium is comprised of 180 physicians and scientists from 35 countries, each of whom is elected to membership. The Collegium is independent of commercial interests. It states

Almost half of all fruits, vegetables and cereals grown in the European Union are contaminated with pesticides. Five percent of food items tested contain concentrations that exceed legal limits for individual pesticides. In addition, contaminated drinking  water, dusts and spray drift contribute to human exposures.

Endosulfan, a toxic organophosphate insecticide, in Australian tomatoes

This report was published in July by the Soil & Health Association of New Zealand

More endosulfan in tomatoes - this time Australian ones are worse!

Independent residue testing commissioned by Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa NZ and the Soil & Health Association has found endosulfan residues in both New Zealand and Australian tomatoes - but this time the residues are much worse in the imported tomatoes.

Endosulfan residues were found in cherry tomatoes, but not loose tomatoes, from both countries, with those from Australia having 4 and a half times more endosulfan than the NZ cherry tomatoes.

How Peak Oil will affect Health Care

by Stuart Jeffery
This is a fascinating article and I recommend all DEA members to read it-Editor. This article is reproduced under Creative Commons conditions
We acknowledge the author Stuart Jeffery and Journal the International Journal of Cuban Studies, volume 1 issue 1 2008 under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative 3.0 Licence;  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

This paper explores the concept of peak oil, its relationship to health care in the UK and suggests that the Cuban model of health care may provide a framework for future UK health care provision. The rate of extraction of oil is reaching a plateau, yet demand for oil continues to rise. Simple economic theory dictates that the price of oil will rise rapidly as demand outstrips supply, and this is demonstrated by the recent price of oil exceeding $100 per barrel. Oil underpins the UK National Health System, as well as the functioning of wider society, and in order to prevent a collapse of the NHS, radical change is suggested. The key to societal survival of peak oil is a drastic reduction in reliance on oil, and Cuba provides a model of how this had to be achieved in health care when the 1990s 'Special Period' saw a dramatic fall in the supply of oil, and yet Cuba managed to maintain health indicators on par with and in some cases exceeding those of the UK. The paper suggests that the UK public, clinicians and media are not ready for the challenge of change required, which would effectively move health care away from cure and from increasing profits through privatisation, to prevention and to state provision, and there are lessons that can be learnt from the Cuban experience.

A call for publishers to declare their conflicts of interest

This article was published in  the  J O U R N A L  O F   T H E   R O Y A L  S O C I E T Y   O F   M E D I C I N E ,
  V o l u m e  1 0 0 ,  A u g u s t,   2 0 0 7, page 355.
We acknowledge permission to publish this letter.
The letter should be read in conjunction with the article below. We are proud of the work that DEA members have done on this important issue. The authors are from Doctors for the Environment Australia, Medical Association for the Prevention of  War, and the Presidents of their two parent bodies International Physicians for the Prevention of  War, and International Society of Doctors for the Environment.

The successful campaign (2005-2007) to force the publisher of the Lancet to divest itself from the arms business

Cleaning up a dirty business: the successful campaign (2005-2007) to force the publisher of the Lancet to divest itself from the arms trade
 by Colin Butler, colin.butler@anu.edu.au

Introduction by David Shearman
"This article should be read in conjunction with the the letter  posted above
It is an inspiring story of decisions  forced upon the recalcitrants by  the activism of NGOs and  professional organisations. DEA is proud that its Committee members have been involved"

Reed Elsevier and its role in promoting sales of arms and torture equipment

Cycle for Sustainability completed

In July 2005 two DEA members Michelle Allen and Nick Towle left Brisbane on an epic cycle journey down the east Coast of Australia, taking education for sustainability to schools and community members between Brisbane and Hobart, where the journey finished in mid December. The early part of this journey was reported on this page below. The report is from Nick Towle, member of the Management Committee, DEA.

Our aim was to promote sustainable ways of living to as many people as possible. Throughout our journey we carried Gandhi's philosophy of 'be the change you wish to see in the world' and drew much inspiration from The Otesha Project, a Canadian team undertaking similar projects (Otesha - Swahili for 'reason to dream'). In total we rode approximately 4800km, presenting and performing our comical theatre to over 3000 school students. It was most inspiring to spend time with young people after our presentations to hear about their own endeavors, small meaningful actions such as creating a recycling campaign in their school or making compost in their back yard.

“Dangerous Climate Change: Together We Can Stop It”

The Climate Action Network Australia (CANA) recently held their annual conference in Melbourne, “Dangerous Climate Change: Together We Can Stop It”.

A number of presentations were made on the first day of the conference which was open to the public. Among other presentations there was a thought provoking discussion from Dr. Jon Barnett on the human insecurity impacts of climate change and “Impacts of climate change: water and drought in Australia” from Dr. Roger Jones of CSIRO.

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Sir David King visits Australia

Sir David King, the Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government, who last year said that climate change is a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism, is in Australia reportedly on a diplomatic mission to Canberra to convince the Government to reconsider signing of the Kyoto protocol. He appeared on the ABC’s Lateline program refuting a number of myths about climate change, including that the veracity of the science behind it is still debatable, and that following a Kyoto pathway is detrimental to economic growth.

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