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.

The Lancet Series on Health and Climate Change

The major aim of Doctors for the Environment Australia for the past few years has been to educate our colleagues, their patients and governments on the health aspects of climate change. The wealth of knowledge in this issue of the Lancet indicates the distance travelled by colleagues in many countries. To those of you actively involved in the area there will be little new in content but there is perspective and resolve. I see the series as an educative review for the profession and health workers. Professor Andy Haines, Chairman of the taskforce says

Scientists Concerned For Academic Freedom over GM foods

Scientists Concerned For Academic Freedom,  Open Letter to Premier of Western Australia

This invitation to sign a letter to Colin Barnett, Premier of WA,  appeared in an Institute of Science in Society letter on 20.11.09. For your information Judy Carman is a scientist based in South Australia and I support her work - secretary.

To join the 70 scientists who have already signed send an e-mail message to m.w.ho@i-sis.org.uk

Background

Dr. Judy Carman, senior scientist working in the field of epidemiology in Australia and awarded a government grant to study the safety of GM feed, has been subjected to a sustained campaign of vilification by individuals associated with the biotech industry, with the clear intention of preventing her from carrying out the research. Political pressure is now being brought to bear on her research by the current Agriculture and Food Minister of Western Australia.

WATCH THIS VIDEO - Climate Code Green Campaign - the impact of Climate Change on health

AMSA  web site
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This is an initiative of the Australian Medical Students Association sponsored by Doctors for the Environment Australia, 

CODE GREEN A Climate Emergency; Exploring the Effects of Climate Change on Health

CODE GREEN A Climate Emergency; Exploring the Effects of Climate Change on Health

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This is an initiative of the Australian Medical Students Association (AMSA) Think Tank in partnership with Doctors for the Environment Australia, 2009 For more information visit www.amsa.org.au/climate.

A National Meeting of DEA Student Members, 5-7 December 2009, Melbourne

A National Meeting of DEA Student Members, 5-7 December  2009, Melbourne

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The student division of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) is hosting an inaugural gathering for medical students this December. Join medical students from across Australia as we converge on Melbourne for 3 days of inspirational talks, workshops, and social events. The purpose of the gathering is to raise awareness, educate and develop strategies for medical student involvement in the areas of climate change and environmental health.

Climate Change; understanding 350

350 ppm is an atmospheric CO2 target supported by an increasing number of experts

In its 2007 report the IPCC indicated a target of 450 ppm would be equivalent to a temperature rise of 2-3 degrees centigrade which would be dangerous to exceed This has become an unofficial goal for the Copenhagen negotiations.

Since we already have an atmospheric concentration of approximately 380 ppm 350 would seem to be an impossible task

The 350 target is gaining credence because of the recognition that a 0.74C rise in a hundred years has lead to much more extensive physical and biological change than was predicted by the 2007 models. Further, there is increased concern about tipping points. The changes in polar ice and other effects have lead Jim Hansen from NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies,  to carry out further modelling which suggests that the temperature rise is twice as fast for a given CO2 rise. He indicates that 350 is the bottom line. You can read the scientific arguments at

Climate Change Faster Than Expected, by Paul Roth

What if the IPCC projections for the rise in the Earth’s temperature were wrong?  Well, if the temperature does not rise much further, everyone will be relieved, but what if the temperature rise is much greater than predicted? In the article below, Paul Roth, DEA Member, reviews for us the evidence that warming is occurring faster than expected.

In a paper published in NatureGeoscience Aug 9 2009, Global warming in the Cenozoic era 55 million years ago was studied. In the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum period, there was a massive injection of carbon into the ocean–atmosphere system, but the resulting climatic warming was much greater than expected from the modelled rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide alone. Temperatures rose by 5–9 °C whereas modelling shows that only 2-3 degree rise was predicted. The author concluded that feedback mechanisms released additional carbon dioxide and methane. Since there was no ice on the planet at that time possible operative feedback mechanisms included methane emissions from swamplands and permafrost and increases in atmospheric moisture, biogenic aerosols and cloudiness.

Climate Change and the Millennium Assessment of Human Behaviour - Paul Ehrlich

Many recent articles by scientists involved in climate change research display increasing anxiety. Climate change and its impacts are happening faster than the models predicted and government action remains lost in interminable debate. As Paul Ehrlich explains in the article below there is more than enough scientific evidence for us to act; the inherent problem relates to human behaviour. Many of us have embraced these thoughts and indeed put them on paper but Paul Ehrlich has decided to do something about it with the MAHB initiative. An optimistic view would be that behaviour could be influenced  successfully by the same methods as used detrimentally by the smart  advertisers of food and goods. By contrast many scientists are now pessimistic that we must wait for increasing calamity before political machines will act.

Climate Change Strategy and the Environmental Movement

An interesting review article  'Hijacked by Climate Change" by Richard Black on BBC News has asked “Has climate change hijacked the wider environmental agenda? If so, why? And does it matter?”
 
These questions are highly relevant to how we present our case to the community and to government.

It is unarguable that we were heading toward a world ecological crisis even without adding in the damage of climate change. Biodiversity is declining rapidly, as the habitats and ecosystems of forests, wetlands, coral reefs and rivers are plundered for resources or urbanisation. Pollutions, draining of aquifers, overfishing, desertification due to land over use and a burgeoning population, collectively had humanity on the road to crisis before climate change added some fuel to the fire-literally

Red Meat, Human Health and Climate Change

The control of climate change will ultimately depend on many small actions by each one of us. As doctors we are in an influential position to educate our patients into healthy lifestyles and to implement preventative medicine in our clinics. To our advice on smoking, alcohol, exercise and drugs, we must surely add advice on meat. This is an issue that will have a significant impact on the health of the individual and at the same time the on health of the planet by reducing greenhouse emissions. Let us look at the evidence.

A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine “A prospective study of meat intake and mortality in over  half a million people” determined the impact of the consumption of red, white and processed meat on total and cause-specific mortality.  Many possible confounding factors were studied. Red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality. These results complement the recommendations by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund to reduce red and processed meat intake to decrease cancer incidence.

DEA Submission to Government of South Australia on the proposed Olympic Dam Expansion EIS

The Proposed Olympic Dam Expansion to increase the production of copper and uranium from an open cut mine will have significant impacts on national green house emissions and on water security in South Australia. DEA believes that health implications have not been addressed in the EIS of 4200 pages. These relate particularly to the production of uranium and the storage of waste which is likely to be a threat to human health for thousands of years. The DEA submission pays attention to the potential effect of this proposal on the sustainability of South Australia.

Nanotechnology and the environment: A mismatch between claims and reality

In this report the European Environmental Bureau and the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) Nanotechnology Working Group, challenge industry claims about the potential environmental benefits provided by nanotechnology products:
 
Nanotechnologies are presented as providing unprecedented technological solutions to many environmental problems including climate change, pollution and clean drinking water. Proponents claim that it enables economic growth through better products and new markets while dramatically reducing our ecological footprint. However there is emerging evidence these claims do not provide the whole picture, with serious environmental risks and costs being trivialised or ignored.