Universities have expertise in research and teaching in areas that are relevant to understanding global warming: geology, physics, mathematics, biology, oceanography, engineering, and atmospheric physics.
Furthermore, those universities with medical schools have experience of the health impacts from climate change, including injuries from violent storms and floods; burns and lung disease from fires and smoke; heat-related illness; depression and anxiety especially in farmers and rural communities trying to sustain farms in a warming climate; and the transmission and spread of insect-borne infections (dengue, Ross River virus, malaria, Japanese encephalitis virus).
But have Australia’s universities acted on their knowledge when it comes to climate change, particularly those with medical schools?
A group of DEA members sought to examine this question. Their enquiries revealed an entirely inadequate response to the issue from a sector that should constitute a beacon of hope.
Australian universities need to urgently clean up their investments to address the climate crisis.
This oped was co-authored by members of the Business and Divestment Committee of DEA South Australia: Dr David Everett, Dr Rob Ferris, Ms Bora Hyoung (medical student), Dr Graeme McLeay, Dr Douglas Shaw, Dr Nicolas Wickham and Emeritus Prof John Willoughby, with expert ethical investment advice from Mr Andrew Gaston (Adv.Dip FS (FP); FIPA; SA.Fin). Enquiries to Dr Rob Ferris, Chair, DEA(SA) Healthy Investment Special Interest Group at email@example.com
Read the full oped, which was published in Pearls and Irritations on 28 March 2023.