Thank you to our exceptional speakers, as well as our wonderful delegates, sponsors, our organising team, staff, and everyone who made iDEA22: Time To Act such a hugely exciting, inspiring and successful event!
It was with much joy and anticipation that we welcomed medical professionals and students as well as DEA friends from across Australia to our annual conference, which this year was hosted in Melbourne from 2-4 September with an inspiring theme, Time To Act. As DEA’s first-ever hybrid event, iDEA22 united over 250 in-person and virtual delegates through a valuable and engaging program.
iDEA22 began with two fantastic workshops: First Nations Environment and Sustainability presented by the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, and Media Training headed by the Climate Media Centre.
Delegates then attended the conference’s Opening Night Reception which was sponsored by the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. We were delighted to have esteemed Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty, Professor Michael Kidd AM, and Professor Jane Gunn join us.
Day 1 of the main program explored global actions to bring about change, with a line-up of outstanding expert plenary speakers who shared their deep knowledge about climate change issues, impacts and solutions. They included Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton, Historian and 2018 National Biography Prize Winner Professor Judith Brett, Otherlab founder and chief scientist Dr Saul Griffith, founder of Climate Energy Finance Australasia Tim Buckley and Bush Heritage CEO Heather Campbell.
The focus shifted to community actions in the afternoon, featuring exemplary research presented by DEA doctors. Dr Sujata Allan presented Building Healthy, Sustainable and Just Communities: The Grassroots methods of the Armidale Climate and Health Project, Dr Sonia Chanchlani and Dr Monika Coha, From day one to fellowship – integrating climate-related health risk and sustainability into all levels of medical education, and Dr John Van Der Kallen, Rheumatology Consultation and Carbon Emissions.
Delegates were greatly stimulated by our two panels later that day. Greens Senator Janet Rice, Labor MP for Higgins Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah and Cr Dr Susan Rennie took part in an exceptionally engaging politicians panel, which was facilitated by Dr Catherine Pendrey.
This was followed by a moving and powerful panel, First Nations voices: working together to protect our country, with Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung elder Uncle Dave Wandin; Gudanji/Wakaja woman, founder, Indigenous Literacy Foundation and author Dr Debra Dank; Kamilaroi man, 2019 National NAIDOC Person of the Year Dean Duncan; and Kulkalaig woman, Marine biologist, Climate campaigner, Common Ground Tishiko King. It was facilitated by Dr Jimmy Ingram, Convenor, DEA First Nations Solidarity Special Interest Group.
The day was concluded with a special book signing for Dr Debra Dank’s profound new novel We Come With This Place, and a lively and fun-filled cocktail night.
Day 2 of iDEA22: Time To Act addressed ways to transform our professional and personal lives to mitigate the effects of climate change, looking at how delegates can be leaders in their workplaces, as well as the individual actions that can be taken to achieve a more sustainable and ethical society. Delegates heard from accomplished plenary speakers social trends researcher and author Dr Rebecca Huntley, Climate 200 founder Simon Holmes à Court and Lajarri owner and Director, Gudanji/Wakaja woman from Borroloola NT, Rikki Dank.
Getting to net zero Australian health care panel was presented by Dr Eugenie Kayak, Convener of DEA’s Sustainable Healthcare Special Interest Group and Enterprise Professor in Sustainable Healthcare at Melbourne University; Associate Professor Forbes McGain, Anaesthetist, Intensivist and Healthcare sustainability expert; Dr Emma-Leigh Synott WA DEA Chair, founding member and Steering Committee WA Climate and Health Community of Practice; and Dr Hayden Burch, Victorian Chair, Sustainable Healthcare committee. This event was facilitated by Dr Gabrielle Hayman, Secretary of DEA’s Sustainable Healthcare Special Interest Group.
The Members Assembly session provided an opportunity for DEA members and Friends of DEA to engage with DEA’s leadership team.
This was followed by an educational responsible investment panel, with Susheela Peres da Costa, Chair, Responsible Investment Association Australia; William van de Pol, Market Forces campaigner; Lou Capparelli, Manager of Sustainable Portfolios and Governance at UniSuper; Désirée Lucchese, Head of Ethics and Impact at U Ethical; and Harriet Kater, Climate lead at The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR). Dr Helen Redmond, Convenor, DEA Divestment Special Interest Group, facilitated the session.
A memorable panel on food, health and sustainability featured Professor Anthony Capon, Director, Monash Sustainable Development Institute; Rebecca Scott OAM, co-founder and CEO of STREAT; and Associate Professor Gyorgy Scrinis, food policy and politics expert, Melbourne University, Department of Agriculture and Food.
Dr Cybele Dey, Chair of the DEA Mental Health Working Group, spoke on the significant mental health impacts of climate change; from emotional distress to anxiety, depression, grief, and suicidal behaviour.
We are grateful to everyone within and outside DEA, including our sponsors VicHealth, The University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health and the Department of Critical Care, Tahbilk Winery, and the Good Car Company, who together helped make iDEA22: Time To Act a knock-out success.
The event was wide-ranging and enriching, inspiring delegates to become high-impact change makers in transforming their lives, workplaces, and communities, so that the world can be more healthy, sustainable and just.
At its core, delegates learnt that while there is hope to be gained from the increasing momentum for climate action, there is still much to be done in the mobilisation of the community for our earth. This includes collaborating with First Nations peoples to elevate their voices and invaluable wisdom, and advocating that climate change and health are critically intertwined as public health issues that affect us all.
Dr Lauren Chiu
Co-convenor of iDEA22: Time To Act
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