Why action is needed
Human health is entirely dependent upon the health of our planet. Without rich biodiversity, healthy ecosystems and a stable climate, human health will suffer. Today, our planet—and our health—face unprecedented crises.
Climate change and environmental degradation are causing extreme weather events to be more frequent and severe. Loss of biodiversity and a changing climate threaten agriculture and food security.
Worsening air pollution levels are now linked to one in five deaths. Rising temperatures are rendering some places uninhabitable.
We still have time to avert the worst effects of climate change,but time is running out. Action is needed immediately if we are to protect our health and that of our planet.
Why Doctors, Why now?
As doctors, our mission is to protect and improve the health of our patients. We see action on climate change and the preservation of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems as vital to that mission.
As doctors we see the health impacts of climate change first-hand. We treat more cases of heat exhaustion in summer, more victims of extreme weather events like bushfires and floods, and more conditions linked to air pollution.
As doctors, we are best positioned to highlight the relationship between human health and the health of our environment. If the public,the health community and politicians are made aware of this relationship, the push to tackle climate change and build a sustainable future will become harder to ignore.
A key area of focus for our organisation is educating the public, the health community and politicians about the health implications of climate change.
This involves advocating for more ambitious emissions reduction targets and a swift transition to a clean energy grid.
Natural ecosystems support our health by filtering our air, providing fresh water and food, regulating our climate, directly improving human health and protecting against the spread of disease and pests. Without rich biodiversity, our health suffers.
Recent studies have linked one in five premature deaths to air pollution.
Poor air quality increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory diseases. Fossil fuels are a major contributor to poor air quality and phasing them out is vital.
The healthcare sector is responsible for more that 7% of Australia’s carbon footprint. As a sector that exists to preserve and improve public health, we must lead by example and decarbonise as quickly as possible.
Just as health-conscious organisations no longer invest in the tobacco industry, we actively encourage investors to sever links with fossil fuel industries, as their operations represent a serious threat to public health.
Food systems generate around 25% of carbon emissions. The food we choose to eat, how it is produced and how much is wasted will determine whether or not we meet the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals.