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Muswellbrook Chronicle: Singleton Dr Bob Vickers, and member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, weighs in on recent Dartbrook coal mine decision

August 23, 2019 - THE NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) recently decided on the Dartbrook underground coal mine, writes Dr Bob Vickers. In its decision, they approved the mine to continue operations until 2022, but did not support a five-year extension recommended by the NSW Department of Planning. In the words of the IPC, this project “would not be in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development or inter-generational equity; and, as such, is not in the public interest”. The IPC cited concerns about air pollution, water security, social costs and economic impacts of Dartbrook. These, however, are not just affected directly by...

Fight for the Tarkine

February 17, 2013 - ...an environmentally and economically sustainable future for the region through eco-tourism and selective primary industries such as the proposals to re-work old mine sites. The Cradle Coast Authority, a body formed and supported by various local governments, in 2008 reported that a sustained income of almost $60 million per year with 1100 ongoing jobs could be generated through the establishment of a Tarkine National Park. This is more jobs than Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings believes will be generated by an expanded mining industry in the region. Unfortunately, it now looks as though North-West Tasmania will play host to Pilbara-style open-cut...

We need to act on climate change now – by Professor David Karoly

July 9, 2009 - ...policy relevant but policy neutral, and contain no recommendations. The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report was written by hundreds of scientists, reviewed by thousands more, and more than 100 governments, then approved unanimously by all the governments and released in 2007 (this assessment is available from www.ipcc.ch ). Independent assessments by the US National Academy of Sciences and the US Climate Change Science Program reached the same conclusions as the IPCC. The IPCC conclusions on climate change science were: ● “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal”; ● “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century...

‘Green jobs’ won’t save the debate

May 11, 2011 - ‘Green jobs’ won’t save the debate This article published in Climate Spectator is based on a presentation Richard Denniss gave to the Doctors for the Environment Australia medical students’ conference on climate change, environmental health and political change. Richard Denniss is Executive Director of The Australia Institute, a Canberra-based public policy think tank www.tai.org.au This conference was held in Sydney April 30 –May 1 “Imagine your doctor suspected you had a deadly illness, but given the cost of the diagnostic test they decided to wait a year or two to see if things got better, rather than potentially waste money...

Doctors call on the Australian health sector to follow NHS England’s commitment to a net-zero target

October 2, 2020 - ...energy.   “With the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has followed science-based recommendations. We need to do the same with climate change and create climate resilient healthcare systems while also addressing the climate crisis.”  Resources The details of the NHS plan can be found HERE. DEA’s proposal for an Australian Healthcare Sustainability Unit Media interviews  Please call DEA’s Media and Communications Coordinator Carmela Ferraro on 0410 703 074  About DEA  DEA is an independent organisation of medical doctors protecting health through care of the environment www.dea.org.au We are supported by a Scientific Advisory Committee of distinguished health experts: Prof Stephen Boyden AM, Prof Emeritus...

Narrabri decision ignores the health risks, doctors warn

September 30, 2020 - ...to advice about the risks of gas.   “As we have learned from COVID-19, we have to listen to the scientists and health experts to address public health crises.”  Media contacts   Dr John Van Der Kallen, Co-Chair of NSW DEA   Dr Helen Redmond, Rehabilitation Physician and co-author of Investing in Health: How health professionals can help shape the future.   Dr Bob Vickers, Hunter Valley GP  To arrange an interview, please contact Media and Communications Coordinator Carmela Ferraro- 0410 703 074  Resources NSW IPC’s Narrabri Gas Project Statement of Reasons  DEA’s Supplementary Submission Narrabri Gas Project The Implications for Human Health and Wellbeing of...

Are we in danger of passing peak health?

June 6, 2011 - ...poor dietary choice and inactivity, has become a major contributor to chronic disease while eroding traditional, spiritual and cultural values necessary for our non-material well being. Rates of diabetes and obesity are escalating, worsening health outcomes, diminishing quality of life, and stretching health and welfare services and budgets. Alcohol and drug use are compromising physical and mental health, damaging our social fabric. But rather than address the causes of societal ill health, we are instead focusing on increasingly expensive, technology-based, hospital-oriented and, inevitably, unsustainable solutions. Antibiotic resistance is a prime example of why this type of exploitative thinking is so...

Croakey: Where was Australia during the UN biodiversity summit?

October 21, 2020 - ...be borne by future generations, and other species.   Australia’s focus on the monetary aspect of biodiversity protection is like demanding a ledger on vaccination or clean water. Both are life-giving interventions, with estimated benefits around 10 times the financial outlay.  Furthermore, fiscal measures — whether for vaccination, clean water or biodiversity conservation — can never adequately account for the social and intangible benefits of healthy children and communities. Australia must stop being an outlier on biodiversity protections and join the opportunity for collective transformation. Read the full article which was published on 12 October 2020 in Croakey  For further reading on biodiversity, visit  https://www.dea.org.au/biodiversity/...

“Coal a Health Hazard” Say Doctors

November 27, 2011 - ...in Australia, according to a 2009 report from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. This makes coal an expensive, as well as harmful, form of power generation” he said. Doctors for the Environment Australia is a voluntary organisation of medical practitioners who advocate that a change from coal generated power to renewable sources is vital to ensure that the health standards of present and future generations can be maintained. For Dr Helen Redmond’s article see: http://www.medicalobserver.com.au/news/coal-powered-energy-is-a-public-health-issue For poster see: DEA Coal & Health Poster For more information, please contact us Authors – Dr Kingsley Faulkner, WA – Dr...

MJA letter to the editor: A sustainable future in health, ensuring as health professionals our own house is in order and leading by example

October 21, 2020 - “Congratulations to the Medical Journal of Australia for emphasising the role of health professionals in needing to lead by example towards a sustainable future,” write Drs Eugenie Kayak, Forbes McGain and Hayden Burch in their letter to the editor. “Talley’s editorial encourages health care professionals to reduce health care’s own carbon footprint and pollution…” Read the full letter in the MJA.  Please note: The full article is accessible to AMA members and paid subscribers.  Further reading For DEA articles, submissions and policies on sustainable healthcare, visit: https://www.dea.org.au/our-work/sustainable-healthcare/...

REDD: An introduction

March 10, 2010 - ...threatening that it could increase the rate of deforestation unless it is compensated for not doing so through REDD. Trading carbon stored in forests would create an enormous loophole allowing greenhouse gas emissions to continue. There is also a high likelihood that allowing forest carbon to be traded would lead to a crash in the price of carbon. Trading forest carbon would also fail to address climate change – we need to find ways to stop burning fossil fuels, not create massive new loopholes to allow the pollution to continue. We attribute this work http://www.redd-monitor.org/redd-an-introduction/ to Chris Lang / REDD-Monitorhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/...

Illness and Pollution at Port Augusta; Doctors Prescribe Solar Thermal Treatment

May 2, 2012 - ...to pollution. Recent independent analysis of health data for the period 1998-2007 showed the incidence of lung cancer to be 1.45 times and for 2007-2009 twice the expected number. The community was angered to be informed by government that they were smoking too much and that air quality data measured by the operator Alinta was within EPA standards. A new analysis of the data by experts from Doctors for the Environment Australia indicates that the level of smoking is insufficient to account for the increase in lung cancer and that significant pollution is occurring. Research from many countries has shown...

Economic Health Growth

Economic Health Growth

August 27, 2010 - ...Convergence model is the opposite, based on the idea that “the right to emit some carbon dioxide is a human right and should be allocated on an equal basis to all of humankind”. Better health also requires sustainable human development. Measures to stabilise the population in countries with high birth rates could be the most cost-effective greenhouse gas reduction measures, and would reduce poverty, hunger and deaths of mothers and children. Reading Jackson, T.J. (2009). Prosperity without growth? The transition to a sustainable economy. Sustainable Development Commission report. Downloadable from www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications/downloads/prosperity_without_growth_report.pdf “Affluenza” Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss. Allen & Unwin...

Dick Smith on population growth and the developers

April 22, 2011 - Dick Smith, who assisted DEA with the press release of our population position paper, has written in the on-line press regarding the role of property developers in growth “Again and again as I tour Australia discussing our failure to have a sensible plan for population, I ask simple questions: Why would we want to rapidly increase our population? What’s so great about constant growth? What are the advantages for average Australians? I fail to ever get a convincing answer. The best the “pro-growthers” come up with is “because we can”, and that of course, is no answer at all. It’s...

Desalination and relentless ‘development’ for what? The sorry story of the SA Gulfs

April 10, 2011 - ...becomes too high? Will there be independent monitoring? Seven Post treatment of boron Boron is a metal (metalloid) found in seawater. Boron scales the rust off pipes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation for safe levels of boron in desalinated water is less than 0.5 mg/L. Some chemical standards assert that there is no safe level of boron for humans. Desalinated water has to be treated especially to control the boron level and this greatly increases the amount of electricity used in the process. Eight Enough water — Murray-Darling Basin System, stormwater The problem of the Murray-Darling Basin is caused...

Doctors Applaud Coal Funding Cut as Positive Health Measure

July 29, 2012 - ...proceed. “We welcome the news that the grant has been withdrawn”, said Dr Eugenie Kayak. “The evidence has mounted over recent years about the health impacts of coal. It is clearly time for Australia to join other developed countries in moving away from coal fired electricity generation to safer renewable energy.” “This is a sensible decision which is a step forward for the health of the Victorian public now and into the future.” The Victorian Government has yet to decide if it will withdraw its $50 million contribution to HRL. Background:http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/government-cans-100m-grant-for-coal-plant-20120727-22yle.html http://dea.org.au/news/article/landmark_hearing_doctors_vs_coal For comment: Dr Eugenie Kayak 0419 685 574...

Neglect of this patient will affect all of us

April 28, 2011 - ...water flows. Even areas that seem relatively undisturbed have not been spared. We’re seeing small mammals and seed-eating birds disappearing across the largely uninhabited north of Australia. And Phytophthora (root rot) is decimating the unique vegetation of Western Australia. Dissolved CO2 is causing acidification of the oceans, which is harming coral reefs and shell-forming organisms, with consequences for the entire ocean food web. Massive soil erosion and deforestation are not leaving Earth much capacity to metabolise and filter out the toxins. Sounds like liver failure and end stage renal disease. Our patient might have presented with hyperthermia, but now we’re...

A healthy world without inequality

May 3, 2013 - ...inequality. Twentieth century tools such as trickle-down economics, deregulation, resource-based growth and inept global governance are no longer suitable. One solution is ‘Contraction and Convergence’, developed by the Global Commons Institute. This calls for industrialised countries to reduce their emissions while developing countries increase theirs to allow for development and poverty reduction. This approach initially seems idealistic and unrealistic, as humans don’t easily give up their positions of privilege, nor want to ‘do without’. As doctors we know ‘crash diets’ rarely work for sustainable weight loss. Yet long-term behaviour change is more successful if unhealthy behaviour is replaced with a...

Children & Nature Seminar

November 11, 2012 - ...of the challenges and opportunities in creating nature experiences in a city with 1.1million children under the age of 12yrs with a rate of child poverty of 1/3. The seminar was co-presented by the Victorian Child & Nature Connection of which I am a co-founder and Health Advisor. I think the relationship between our children and nature is important and fundamental for wellbeing- I hope you will take the time to listen to the podcast of Tim Gill’s interview on the abc, link below or even peruse the report at http://www.londonsdc.org/documents/Sowing%20the%20Seeds%20-%20Full%20Report.pdf http://blogs.abc.net.au/victoria/2012/10/uk-childhood-expert-visits-evenings-.html?site=melbourne&program=melbourne_evenings Dr Dimity Williams- National Management Committee Member, DEA....

DEA & NTN 15/11/2012 – Coal Seam Gas Pollution

November 15, 2012 - Media Release: DEA & NTN 15/11/2012 – Coal Seam Gas Pollution FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : 15th November , 2012 FOR MORE INFORMATION: Dr Helen Redmond Doctors for the Environment Australiahttp://www.dea.org.au/ Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, PhD NTN Senior Advisorbiomap@oztoxics.org DOCTORS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS SAY NEW EVIDENCE ON AIR POLLUTION FROM COAL SEAM GAS MINING MEANS BETTER HEALTH PROTECTION NEEDED A recent independent university study of the atmosphere of a coal seam gas field near Tara, Queensland has shown evidence of widespread releases of methane and carbon dioxide concentrations. Hotspot concentrations of methane were detected within the gas field that were more than...