Introduction by Croakey: Last month the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) published a policy statement declaring that climate change is a “health emergency which threatens the survival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities, and cultures, as well as the broader population” and that climate change policy inaction “is a threat to human life”.
The statement backs calls from other national health groups for immediate bipartisan federal instruments for Australia to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and a national plan for climate change and health and advocates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak health organisations to fully participate in national planning for climate change.
It also calls for:
- adequate and ongoing funding to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander understandings of and knowledge about Country are integrated into land management strategies, including around fire management
- prioritising the social determinants of health (such as adequate housing infrastructure and water supplies) and cultural determinants of health (such as connection to and health of Country and language) as underlying enablers of health
- housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially in northern communities to incorporate planning for extreme weather conditions, including heat, and
- expedited adaptation planning for sea-level rise in low-lying coastal areas, particularly Arnhem Land, Kakadu, and the Torres Strait Islands to protect community health and wellbeing.
Climate change is having a critical impact on Indigenous peoples globally and, along with concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, is driving the work of the Indigenous Foods Knowledges Network (IFKN) across the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic and sub-Arctic and the United States Southwest to coproduce food sovereignty solution.
Eos Magazine staff writer Jenessa Duncombe reports on the network below, in a story that is published here as part of the Covering Climate Now collaboration, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story. The story originally appeared in AGU’s Eos Magazine.
This article is republished as part of the Covering Climate Now initiative, an unprecedented global media collaboration launched last year to put the spotlight on the climate crisis, of which Croakey Health Media is a member. It is co-founded by The Nation and the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), in partnership with The Guardian.
See Croakey’s archive of climate and health articles. 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 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.