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A rolling wrap of #CoveringClimateNow Twitter Festival discussions – part two

This is the second in a series of posts providing rolling coverage from the #CoveringClimateNow Twitter Festival. It is being compiled by Marie McInerney and Melissa Sweet.

Check out part one here.


On media, expert voices and the climate crisis

Molly Glassey, Ditigal Editor at The Conversation, one of the Australian media outlets involved in #CoveringClimateNow
@GlasseyMolly from @ConversationEDU

Before I start tweeting, I would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people who are the Traditional Custodians of this Land. I would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present of the Kulin Nation and extend that respect to other Indigenous Australians.

My work involves promoting our #CoveringClimateNow coverage and ensuring the expert voices behind our articles get as much exposure as possible. We believe access to independent, high-quality, journalism underpins strong public debate (especially when it comes to climate change.

As a bit of background, @conversationEDU is a not-for-profit independent news site. We have about 25 editors who edit the work of academics to ensure it’s readable for a general audience; it’s our way of producing evidence-based news coverage.

On top of this, all our pieces are free to be republished (it’s our way of injecting more quality information into public debate). This piece on predatory climate deniers by Tim Flannery (http://bit.ly/2mcErB0) was also republished by @guardian and @ABCnews.

With something like climate change, it’s so important to have the right scientist comment/write/do media. Eg. Who better to write a piece on climigration, than an academic with experience in enviro and urban planning studies, ie @drtonymatthews.

Psst. This is a great piece.

I used to be a reporter in Queensland, and back then I had zero understanding of climate science. Yet, one day I’d be writing about a car crash, the next I’d be writing about climate change. That’s what reporters today have to do – they have to be a jack of all trades.

That’s how information/research/science can be misrepresented in the media. Our model ensures academics have final sign off on their articles after a thorough edit from our section editors. We include the researcher in every stage of the writing.

Regarding our decision to ban climate deniers from the site: comments, no matter how flippant, can undermine an expert voice.

You might have a climate scientist write on the drought and climate change, then someone comments the author is ‘a nutjob’. It changes the way a readers takes in that information.

This is a new era of commenting. When we say ‘climate denier’, we’re not talking about Joe Blow who heard an opinion and doesn’t mind sharing it on FaceBook.

These commenters are organised; they know who to attack and when, with the sole aim of discrediting researchers.

Maybe it’s best to compare them to the Anti-Vaxxer network, to understand #climatechangedeniers aren’t simply ‘doubters’. They have a serious intent of hijacking conversations and stalling discussions.

Our writers are the best in their field; academics who have spent years, if not decades studying the very thing they’re writing on. It’s important to protect their credibility, for the sake of public debate (and our planet).


Healthy homes and pushing back against vested interests

Kellie Caught, Senior Advisor, Climate and Energy, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)
@kelliecaught from @ACOSS

I’m tweeting for #CoveringClimateNow and would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this land I am currently tweeting from, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and pay my respects to the Elders both past, present and present.

I currently work for ACOSS, the peak body for social sector organisations in Australia, managing their climate and energy policy and advocacy. Previously worked for @WWF_Australia.

I’ve always been passionate about speaking up on behalf of the voiceless whether it be the environment, animal rights, and inequality. I see the climate crisis as one of the greatest threats to people and planet.

Unless we urgently act to address the climate crisis and do so in an equitable inclusive way, it will entrench and drive greater poverty and create intergenerational equity.

Done right, the climate crisis presents an opportunity to create a more sustainable and equitable society and planet. But we have to do things differently and push back against vested interest.

One area ACOSS is currently trying to get Australian governments to focus on is improving energy efficiency in existing homes, which will help with climate resilience, reduce bills and the energy transition.

Australia has some of the worst-performing homes in the developed world! Creating significant health risks. Almost double cold deaths than Sweden, and more heat-related deaths than any other natural disaster.

Aussies’ new homes have an average rating of 6.1 stars whereas existing homes (about 95 percent of homes) have an average rating of only 1.7 stars. Rental housing is often worse.

Poor energy efficient homes make people on low incomes more vulnerable to poor physical and mental health outcomes, as they are much more expensive to run. As the climate crisis increases people will be more vulnerable to heatwaves.

People on low-incomes are spending significantly more of their income on electricity and gas (6.4%) compared to households on the highest income quintile (1.5%). They struggle to heat and cool their homes and go without other essentials.

People on low income have little choice or control in improving the energy efficiency of their homes or access renewable energy, because they cannot afford the upfront costs of upgrades and/or because they rent.

ACOSS research finds a one off investment of $5,000 in energy efficiency or solar pv’s could provide average annual (ongoing) savings of around $1,139 a year for a house and improve health of the home.

Investment in energy efficiency for existing homes will also create jobs, reduce need for new costly energy generation, improve electricity grid reliability, reduce emissions and create greater social equity.

There is a relatively simple and cost effective answer to improve energy efficiency of existing homes in Australia – introduce standards and a trajectory for all existing homes over time, like we have done with new homes.

COAG Energy Ministers are currently investigating options to increase the energy efficiency & reduce the emissions profile of existing homes. This must be a given priority.

We want COAG Energy Ministers to, at a minimum, commit to setting a goal to achieve zero energy standards for existing buildings, ideally in line with the date that will be set for new home.

The benefits to people, society and the economy of improving energy efficiency of existing homes are enormous, it is the gift that keeps on giving and should be a Government priority.


Climate Justice: A brighter, healthier future for all

Oxfam Australia @OxfamAustralia

First we acknowledge that we’re tweeting from Cadigal land, pay our respect to elders, and in particular acknowledge the wisdom and leadership of First Peoples in tackling the climate crisis.

At Oxfam, our mission is a world in which everyone can thrive. And we know that the climate crisis is the single greatest threat to tackling poverty, hunger and inequality.

While the climate crisis may be the biggest threat in the fight against hunger and poverty, the solutions offer the promise of a brighter and healthier future. Here’s our Executive Director @MsLynM talking about this at Croakey.

Last month we headed to Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum – a remarkable show of Pacific strength and leadership in the face of this climate crisis. Have a read of our report ‘Save Tuvalu, Save the World’.

Back in May, ahead of yesterday’s UN Climate Action Summit, UN Secretary General @AntonioGuterres headed to the Pacific: “Nowhere have I seen the heartbreaking impacts of climate change more starkly than in Tuvalu.”

Also in New York overnight at the Climate Action Summit, some strong words from @FijiPM Frank Bainimarama and other Pacific leaders: “Acceptance of this living nightmare is morally unthinkable, and denial is unconscionable.”

And here’s our friend, @RichieMerzian from @TheAusInstitute with some interesting insights from the Climate Action Summit.

The science is in folks: the world at large needs to increase its ambition five-fold for a shot at limiting warming to 1.5C – a matter of survival for many vulnerable communities worldwide.

Australia, with its rising emissions and burgeoning coal exports, is looking even more isolated as students and front-line communities fill the leadership vacuum.

Australia is in a tiny minority of developed countries where emissions are going up + we are the largest coal exporter. Our actions are a complete breach of our obligations under Paris and risk a future of entrenched poverty, rising hunger and mass displacement.

We know that a future of zero poverty, zero carbon pollution, and jobs and prosperity for all is possible. Sign our Climate Justice pledge.

Oxfam was honoured to be at the Peoples’ Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival last week – a historic gathering of indigenous leaders and human rights defenders. Check here for a report and link to the landmark declaration.

The climate crisis is an issue of human rights and inequality. Earlier this year, @Alston_UNSR called it “Climate Apartheid” and  @UNHumanRights Chief @MBachelet says “The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope”.

Working for climate justice means getting behind Indigenous Peoples fighting to protect country. Check out the ever amazing @SeedMob.

To learn more about Oxfam’s campaign for climate justice, head here.

And a huge shout out to all the young leaders, front-line communities and climate heroes who are powering this incredible movement for climate justice, speaking truth to power, and creating a better future for us all!


Driving despair: global warming and mental illness

John Mendoza, director of ConNetica: @johno0910

First Things First: First do no harm. @HCWHGlobal reports if healthcare were a country it’d be 5th largest greenhouse gas emitter on Earth = 514 coal-fired power stations. Healthcare must FIRST heal itself from a reliance on fossil fuels and toxic chemicals.

Climate change matters to me. I first ventured onto the Great Barrier Reef in 1966. I have over 2,000 hours of diving on the Reef. It is in rapid decline now due to Greenhouse emissions. Its loss will be devastating for millions of people worldwide.

From The Lancet Countdown on Health & Climate report: Trends in climate change impacts, exposures & vulnerabilities show an unacceptably high level of risk for the current & future health of populations across the world.

Earth to @GregHuntMP: A lack of progress in reducing emissions and building adaptive capacity threatens both human lives & viability of national health systems with potential to disrupt core public health infrastructure & overwhelm health services.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are attributed to 30 percent of all anxiety cases & 40 percent of all depression cases in the USA. More extreme weather means more ACEs, more mental illness & suicide. Action on climate change is front-line mental illness prevention.

Weather disasters double-down on disadvantaged Australians. More people with mental illness live in disadvantaged neighbourhoods with poorer health and other services & poorer housing more prone to flooding and destruction.

18 months after Cyclone Yasi, I undertook a review of the impact on communities in disaster zone. Two Cat 5 cyclones in five years had a devastating impact with 30 percent of people leaving. The region has never recovered. More trauma = more mental illness.

The Lancet reports: negligible spending on resilience for human health and impact of climate change. Building resilience, the capacity to adapt in healthy ways to traumatic experiences, is essential for communities in the line of extreme weather in Australia.

Earth to mental health sector. “Ensuring a widespread understanding of climate change as a central public health issue will be crucial in delivering an accelerated response” The Lancet. Essential that mental health profession and organisations all rise to this challenge.


Protect and heal our Country

Professor Pat Dudgeon, Director, Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention
@cbpatsisp

We are located in beautiful Ngoongar Country in Western Australia, but our concern is national and global.

We applaud and support the youth-led 20th September Climate Strikes. Youth activist, Greta Thunberg says, ‘Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction’. We support demands: No new coal or gas projects. Heal our Country.

There is a link between feeling ‘connected to Country’ and a positive sense of wellbeing.

We support our Indigenous youth who marched, went on strike and who have led actions. We support those Indigenous youths across the world who have been part of the movement. We stand with them.

Great article by Teila Watson: We need to respect the land and each other. ‘At the end of the day, if “Australia” wants to survive and combat global warming, First Nations sovereignty and governance is the best chance it has.

We support Gadrian Hoosan, who said of remote Indigenous communities “We need a clean environment, if we want to get a good job in the community, in our community, we need a sustainable job…”

What hope for the future can we all have if climate change is not addressed immediately? This impacts on our mental health and wellbeing.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing has a holistic context, that encompasses physical and mental health and cultural and spiritual health. Land or Country is central to wellbeing. Self-determination is central.

We need love and hope for the future, this also includes protecting and healing our Country.

See this music video that was made by a collective of Indigenous young people and older people about connection and belonging.


Generating healthier healthcare

Elaine Stevenson @Stevenson_Epi tweeting on behalf of @HealthyFuturez.

Great to be at the Greening Healthcare Forum 2019 talking #RepowerHealth and other ways to act on climate and protect health.

We acknowledge Traditional Owners of this land and that if other Australians had looked after it like they did we might never have been in this mess. Thanks Michael Weelahan from Proud Mary Consulting for alluding to this yesterday.

Well explained at Greening Healthcare forum that climate change increases the vulnerability of already vulnerable populations.

Increasing climate events also increase health care costs which drive insurance premiums up.

Yesterday much talk on how best we measure emissions reduction. Ping @HESTASuper who recently certified carbon neutral in operations but still invest hundreds of millions in fossil fuel companies like @WoodsideEnergy.

Great to hear from @VicGovDHHS yesterday about all the solar going on Victorian public health services at the moment and to hear from @ACarbinesMP this morning that solar power in Victorian healthcare facilities to reduce carbon emissions by 13K tonnes per year!


Calls for action to protect remote communities’ health

AMSANT, the peak body for Aboriginal community-controlled health services in the Northern Territory
@AMSANTAus

Stay tuned for the third and final wrap from the #CoveringClimateNow Twitter Festival…


This article is published as part of the Covering Climate Now initiative, an unprecedented collaboration involving more than 300 media outlets around the world that is putting the spotlight on the climate crisis in the leadup to a Climate Action Summit at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 23 September. It is co-founded by The Nation and the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), in partnership with The Guardian. Croakey invites our readers, contributors and social media followers to engage with these critical discussions, using the hashtag #CoveringClimateNow. See Croakey’s archive of climate and health coverage.If you value our coverage of climate and health, please consider supporting our Patreon fundraising campaign, so we can provide regular, in-depth coverage of the health impacts of the climate crisis, taking a local, national and global approach. All funds raised will go to a dedicated fund to pay writers and editors to put a sustained focus on the health impacts of climate change. Please help us to produce stories that will inform the health sector, policy makers, communities, families and others about how best to respond to this public health crisis.

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