Dr Eugenie Kayak along with many other Australian health leaders representing millions of Australians are calling for immediate and ambitious climate action to protect our health. Video with thanks to Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA).
We coped as a nation very well with the threat of covid and the pandemic. We listened to the science and we took action based on the evidence. Now it’s really beholden on us as a nation and as the healthcare sector to do the same when it comes to action on climate change.
We need to act decisively within the next decade if we are going to protect the health and wellbeing of Australians and the population more broadly.
By the energy choices we choose, the transport options we choose and the diet choices – we have the added benefits of decreasing air pollution, increasing physical activity and decreasing diet related illness if we choose the low carbon options.
So it’s a win-win-win for Australia if we choose to be a low-carbon society.
Further as health professionals we have a responsibility to ensure our workplaces and practices are ‘part of the solution’ rather than contributing significantly to climate and environment related ill health.
Dr Kayak is a Melbourne based public (Alfred and Austin Health) and private anaesthetist who has led the medical profession through her work with Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), and her own anaesthetic specialty, to raise awareness of, and address, the health impacts of climate change and environmental degradation for over a decade – including health care’s own impact.
Dr Kayak has represented DEA on multiple issues, including sitting on the Victorian State Government Climate Change Advisory Panel and leading DEA’s 2011 legal challenge on health grounds to a proposed new coal-fired power plant. She is presently Convenor of DEA’s national Sustainable Healthcare Special Interest Group and is a past DEA Board member 2009 -2020, Co-chairing the Board from 2018-2020.
She has presented, taught and contributed to numerous publications in relation to climate change and health, with a particular interest in environmentally sustainable healthcare, including ANZCA’s Statement on Environmental Sustainability in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine Practice and DEA’s Healthcare Emission Reduction Target Report. Recent work with the AMA has resulted in a DEA / AMA MOU and collaboration calling on the Australian healthcare sector to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2040.