News about DEA

News from the Secretary, February- March 2007

Doctors for the Environment, Australia web page www.dea.org.au

A new web page has been promised “soon” in several of the DEA newsletters and many of you must have despaired at this prolonged gestation. We give our apologies and seek your recognition that the sustained effort to do this is inevitably put aside as everyday DEA tasks intervene. You will now find the new, less formal format at www.dea.org.au We are deeply indebted to Sarah Morton and webmaster Glen Morris for their hard work. The site is not yet finished and indeed much remains to be done. However at this stage we would value your input. Firstly let me explain that our audience is diverse and we therefore must cover several needs.

News from the Secretary, January 2007- the Report of the IPCC

 
The first part of the 4th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has now been published and the outlook is very bad unless the world acts quickly and decisively. This entire newsletter is devoted to this topic.

News from the Secretary, November- December, 2006

The Rising Tide of Greenhouse Emissions
In his first statement on becoming leader of the Labor party, Kevin Rudd listed four priority items for action. Climate change was one of his four priorities. He has plenty of work to do. The Global Carbon Project records the following facts. In 2000, 6.8 Gt of carbon was spewed into the atmosphere. In 2005 this had risen to 7.9 Gt. Prior to 2000 emissions rose by less than 1% per year, they are now increasing at more than 2.5% per year. The World Meteorological Organization confirms the rise in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 in the last few years. In Australia, emissions have increased by 10% over the past 10 years. This topic is discussed further together with other climate change and health topics on www.dea.org.au "Whats new".

News from the Secretary, October 2006

This newsletter is a report on the Management Committee Meeting and Annual General Meeting held in Canberra on October 28th, 2006.

Annual Report
This is now available at www.dea.org.au

DEA Energy policy
This is an integrated energy policy for Australia that contains important messages on nuclear power. Day by day it becomes clearer that the Commonwealth government will promote the development of nuclear power in Australia. This is supported by preliminary statements by Ziggy Switkowski on behalf of the Uranium Mining Processing and Nuclear Energy Review, by Prime Minister Howard who names nuclear power as “clean and green” and by Senator Campbell who quotes the International Energy Agency (IEA) (http://www.iea.org/Textbase/press/pressdetail.asp?PRESS_REL_ID=187) to support the need for nuclear power in Australia

A correction for News from the Secretary. August -September 2006

Rising atmospheric CO2 levels represents an excess of planetary respiration and combustion over photosynthesis, which has been increasing at an alarming rate over the past few decades.

Mitigation of climate change will require us to address both of these aspects of CO2 metabolism. Increase in CO2 entrapment through cessation of land clearing and massive re-vegetation has been shown also to improve soil fertility and rainfall. There are many options to reduce CO2 emissions, particularly by increasing energy efficiency such as improved building design and better public transport, and by moving towards a lower -carbon economy through a suite of renewable non-polluting energy generators such as wind power, solar hot water systems, sliver-cell electricity generation, geothermal energy, hybrid cars and solar-generated hydrogen for fuel cells.

News from the Secretary, August –September, 2006

Climate Change and Health
The scientific documentation of climate change and its existing effects become more and more worrying. Evidence indicates that climate change is accelerating and we may have only a few decades to take action. Studies on arctic sea-ice cover, glacier and permafrost melting and the release of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) together with the projections of sea-level rise and increasing drought in many continents all tell the same story, more rapid change than expected.

Despite many other environmental health problems besetting us, DEA has concentrated recently on climate change and health because we believe this is the greatest and most urgent problem facing humanity. The health implications are enormous and we feel that our concentration on these is a potent way of bringing climate change to the attention of both government and community.

News from the Secretary July 2006

Nuclear Policy
There has been some delay in the completion of the Doctors for the Environment 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 commenced on “An Energy Policy for Australia” at the end of 2005. The intent was to place nuclear energy in the context of all the measures necessary to address the climate change threat. During the final preparation of this policy the nuclear issue became debated nationally when the Federal government made statements for the need to consider the use of nuclear energy in Australia as a greenhouse saving measure. This was followed by the announcement on a “Review of Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy". It is possible to see this Review as the economic justification for nuclear developments in Australia. The composition of the Committee leads credence to this interpretation.

News from the Secretary May-June 2006

State Committee News
Your management committee places priority on developing action within each State by establishing State committees. I can report to you that the WA Committee is now very active under the leadership of Bill Castleden. In Perth on June 10th, the Inaugural West Australian State meeting, dinner and lecture were held. There was an attendance of 25 members and three “interested” doctors - a pleasing attendance when one considers that our membership is well dispersed throughout the huge State of Western Australia. The presentation “The Science in Global Warming - Living on Greenhouse Earth” was given by Dr Ray Wills, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, The University of Western Australia. Our thanks are due to John and to Erica Stokes for organizing a most successful meeting and to Ray Wills for his stimulating address.

News from the Secretary April 2006

Appeal for Funds
Thank you to those who responded to our appeal to you at your postal address. If you attempted to make your donation by direct deposit to our bank account, you may have discovered the Bank BSB number in our letter to you was incomplete! We inadvertently left off the last digit of the six digit number. This means that your bank would know the correct BankSA account to credit, but not the branch- and this would be resolved by bank staff. We apologise for this error and hope that it has not deterred you from making a donation. If your donation by direct deposit is pending, please note the complete number for donating by direct deposit is. Account details: Name: “Doctors for the Environment, Australia” BSB 105108 Account 025060640

News from the Secretary March 2006

Prescription for a Healthy Planet. A report from Sarah Morton
The Prescription for a Healthy Planet posters and brochures have been very well received.

The project was launched to the media on Wednesday 22nd March. Prof. Tony McMichael, the renowned epidemiologist who sits on DEA’s Scientific Committee and Dr. David King, our DEA Queensland representative and GP advisor to the project, both took part in a number of regional radio interviews on the day and during the week following. Many thanks to Tony and David. News of the project launch was also circulated throughout several GP and physician e-lists, appeared on ABC Online and is due to appear in further medical media and surgical news in the coming weeks. The project’s new website http://www.healthyplanet.info displays the posters, brochures and further information, including how to sign-up to receive the posters. It has already recorded 6000 hits from more than 80 different users since the launch date.

Demand is likely to exceed the initial pilot project’s printing run of 200-250 copies of each poster. Some of the posters and brochures are still to be sent out this week, so if you signed up and haven’t received them yet, don’t worry. The project team will now need to discuss where we go from here.
Thank you to all who will be displaying the posters and to all those who helped to spread the word about the project. If you would like to display the posters but haven't yet registered to receive them, please do so, as we hope to supply more in the near future and this will help to guide our decisions. To view the posters or register to receive them please go to the above website or email posters@dea.org.au

Some Comments from David Shearman
All the reactions to the posters received by me are very complementary. Steve Schneider, climate change scientist at present visiting Australia at the invitation of the South Australian government says “the punchline about mozzies and humans is great”. Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Head of the WHO’s climate change initiative says “I very much liked the poster and brochure - I now have a copy of the poster on my wall. As a result our educational efforts DEA will have a link with WHO. There are many messages of praise from members of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment.

The poster project has been our first major educational effort. As always these initiatives become much more time consuming than expected. Sarah Morton, Glen Morris and David King have put in a huge amount of effort and all members of your management committee have played a part. Others who are not DEA members have also helped and we will acknowledge them in our reports. Thank you to everyone.

No doubt we will expand the project but we need more help to do this. We remind members that we are appealing for funds to enable us to have paid secretarial assistance to relieve our work load. To those who have contributed already, we thank you

New South Wales Representatives for the Management Committee
For the past few years our efforts in New South Wales have lagged behind those of other States because we have been unable to attract a representative to the Management Committee. Last year Jo Senior was appointed but she is sorry to announce that she will be resigning as the NSW representative as she feels she cannot devote enough time to the position, given her commitments to her young family, study and work. The Management Committee regrets Jo’s departure and looks forward to her help once more in the future.

It is good news that we now welcome two NSW members to be representatives on the Management Committee, Graeme Horton is in General Practice and has an appointment at Newcastle University. Michael Schien is in rural General Practice. They will present a new and vital perspective for our endeavors. Their details will soon appear on the web page and they will be contacting New South Wales members soon.

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