News about DEA

News from the Secretary January-February 2006

Nuclear policy
At the AGM in November 2005 it was resolved that DEA would develop a position on nuclear energy which would be encapsulated within a policy on the health aspects of energy generation. Work has commenced on the policy. The need for us to provide this as soon as possible has been emphasized when several politicians whom we have met have asked if we have a policy. Please could members of DEA with particular interests or skills in this area identify themselves so that we could consult with you.

Four Corners and Climate Change

News from the Secretary, November-December 2005

With global environmental change gathering pace, and the almost universal recognition that climate change is with us and is already presenting numerous challenges to humanity, it would be inappropriate for us to be satisfied with our achievements over the past year. Rest assured that our New Year resolution will be to work harder.

Nevertheless in the past 4 years Doctors for the Environment has established itself as an organization that is scientifically credible and one that can gain access to those in power to brief them on the essentials for environmental sustainability. We have established educational programs and have sufficient financial members to maintain the momentum. We thank all those who have joined us and supported us in these endeavors.

News from the Secretary, October 2005

Management Committee—call for nominations
At the AGM on 26 November, under the Constitution, the Management Committee is subject to reappointment. I am therefore calling for nominations from any member who wishes to serve. Since we were formed in 2001 there has not been an election, presumably because members are satisfied with our efforts. In maintaining an effective committee we have tried to attract Committee members from all states and territories in accordance with the Constitution. This year our priority is to find a representative in NSW (yes we are still searching!) and to have a student representative. Nominations must be lodged with the secretary 2 weeks prior to the AGM, see Constitution at item 5.3

News from the Secretary, September 2005

International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE)

At present I am in Europe having just attended the General Assembly of ISDE which was held in Vienna. I will be making a full report to the AGM of Doctors for the Environment, Australia (DEA) in Canberra on November 26, but meanwhile I will provide for you some of the key messages that I bring from the meeting.

ISDE and Childhood Health

DEA is a member of ISDE and we pay annual dues for this privilege. The General Assembly of nation members of ISDE is held every 2 years. On this occasion there were some 15 representatives from a total membership of about 30. Each national organization works on national issues of importance to them and these tend to be diverse. However ISDE tries to coordinate efforts in a small number of international issues. The most important activity is in the sphere of child health and in particular the increasing threats to childhood development from pollution of the biosphere with persistent organic pollutants, dioxins, mercury etc. Chemical industries are not under control and are exporting their production and pollution to developing countries. ISDE is well represented in the EC, WHO and the UN on these issues and is holding seminars and teaching sessions on children’s health.

News from the Secretary, July/August 2005

DEA Poster Project
In earlier news items we informed you that DEA had obtained an Environmental Education Research Grant from the Federal Government

We are now in the exciting preliminary stages of producing our two posters for doctors waiting rooms – “Human Health and Climate Change” and “Biodiversity and Climate Change”.

These posters are a fabulous way for our members, indeed any doctor, to contribute to improved understanding of these potentially complex issues while jazzing up the waiting room. The posters will utilize the best evidence available, presented in a very accessible and attractive format.

News from the Secretary, June 2005

Greenhouse Emissions and Health
All doctors now accept that climate change will have serious consequences for human heath. The Committees of DEA spend a considerable proportion of their time educating the profession and governments on this issue. It is depressing for all of us to realise that greenhouse emissions continue to rise. Furthermore if we look at the data from those countries making a major effort to reduce emissions and having a greater contribution from alternative energy, their emissions are nevertheless increasing. Emissions in the European Union are increasing by about 1.4 % per annum. Emissions are also increasing in the UK.

News from the Secretary, May 2005

Good News for DEA
DEA has obtained its first competitive grant from the Federal Environmental Education Research Grant Scheme.
Our successful proposal entitled “Community environmental education using human health messages”, explained that the medical profession regularly uses health messages to promote good health and a healthy lifestyle. To improve the community’s understanding of major environmental issues, we aim to develop two posters on biodiversity and climate change that link human with environmental health. These posters will be displayed in the waiting rooms of at least 150 doctors (GP’s and Specialists) who are DEA members. The posters will be eye catching and informative and will provide suggestions for individual and collective action. Poster design will utilise the expertise of DEA Members and Committees as well as environmental communication and design specialists.

News from the Secretary and the Chairman, April 2005

How does Doctors for the Environment operate?

This question is frequently asked by members and by others. Some may have the impression that we are trying to be yet another environmental NGO that operates by press releases, lobbying and the media. This is not so. It is our role to describe, using scientific and medical data, the impact on human health of environmental degradation and pollution. We explain these impacts to our colleagues and students, to the public, to industry and commerce and to our elected representatives and to government. This must not be confused with “lobbying”. We are not “lobbying” our students or any of these groups. Rather we provide briefings based on our scientific and medical expertise. The definition of lobbying (New Oxford Dictionary of English) is “a group of people seeking to influence politicians or public officials on a particular issue” Yes we are a group of people and we are briefing politicians on health issues. But so do the Cancer Council, the nutritionalists, geriatricians and other groups with specialist expertise. All provide important information that politicians can use in making their decisions The definition of lobbying implies influence on voting...This is not our role. Doctors for the Environment is non party political. Our membership includes members of the Liberal, Labor, Democrat and Green Parties. We have no difficulty in working together to prepare policy for the agenda is environmental health, not a political one!

News from the Secretary, March 2005

This is very much a ‘Chemical and Pollution’ Newsletter

1. Mariann Lloyd-Smith joins DEA Management Committee
Mariann Lloyd-Smith is the Coordinator of the National Toxics Network Inc (NTN), a public interest non-government organisation which is the Australian focal point for the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN). Mariann has a PhD from the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology (UTS), Sydney. She has worked in the area of chemical and waste management for over two decades, including co-authoring Australia’s national management plans for persistent organic pollutants (POPs), developing information systems to support environmentally-sound chemical management and representing the community sector in a range of technical advisory groups and regional/international chemical negotiations.

News from the Secretary January/February 2005

The Management Committee of Doctors for the Environment Australia established its priorities for 2005 during a teleconference in late January.

1. Community environmental education with posters in doctors’ waiting rooms.
We are developing an educational project involving the design and distribution of posters on sustainability and health. The health aspects of climate change and loss of biodiversity have been selected. The posters will be distributed for display in doctors’ waiting rooms and we look forward to the help of all DEA members in implementing this proposal. We will keep you informed of all the details. To fund the project we have made application to the Federal Environment Education Program. If unsuccessful we will initiate the project slowly from our own funds whilst applying to other funding sources. We are very enthusiastic about this project for it is the first instance that we will be able to involve all our members. The project will be run by Sarah Morton with assistance from David King and myself.

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