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On planet, health and hope: what a roller coaster of a ride

For those unable to join the recent conference of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), we have compiled this summary based on the tweets from DEA and others.

Amongst other things, it is a reminder of the yawning gap between mainstream political debate and discussions informed by medical and scientific evidence.

Professor Will Steffen from the Climate Council spoke on “Aim High, Go Fast”, examining the current state of the climate crisis and the need for urgent action

 

The bottom line: keep global temperature to 1.5 degrees in line with the Paris Agreement. Restore and manage nature and biodiversity. Agriculture has a huge role in restoring the biosphere. We can learn from Indigenous knowledge.

Dr Kimberley Humphrey facilitated  a panel discussion on Planetary Health regarding climate and health, pollution and biodiversity loss.


Professor Nick Talley told the conference that the tide is turning and that business and the public are rapidly getting on board with the need for climate action. The laggards? It’s politicians – and we need to push for climate health action.

We’re at a cross road. We have an opportunity to step up to climate change and the health sector has a major role to play. Let’s stop talking and get on to doing – like the @GreenerNHS.

He said Dr Jennifer Martin (@jenhelenmar) led by example by speaking out against Mark Vaile’s appointment as chancellor at the University of Newcastle, leading to his resignation. Never Ever Ever Give Up!

A session titled ‘First Nations perspectives on climate change, social justice and impacts on country’ was facilitated by Roland Wilson, a Nari Nari
man and medical educator, and heard from
Rosemary Wanganeen – Kaurna Elder, Dr Anne Poelina, Nyikina Elder, and Dr Jared Thomas, Nukunu
custodian
.

When we look after ecosystems, they come back. Doctors have an incredible role to play – treat not just the patient but be cognisant of Healthy Country Healthy People: Dr Jared Thomas.

Indigenous people come from a world of We and not Me, and it’s time for all of us to wake up to planetary health ethics of care. From a conference tweep: Thank you for your insights and teachings Dr Anne Poelina – compelling words in a time of climate crisis and rights of Country.


Rivers are life: Dr Kate McBride from the Australia Institute spoke on the plight of the Murray Darling Basin.

DEA tweeted from Dr McBride’s presentation: Dead rivers, fish kills. This is not normal. Politicians are not managing the water appropriately. First Nations management is key to  Healthy River Healthy People. Water is life. Putting the environment before politics and respecting cultural flows in the Murray Darling Basin is vital.

Dr Brian Von Herzen from The Climate Foundation spoke on rgenerating life in the oceans, through marine permaculture, as a win/win/win for oceans, people and jobs.

 

Dr Kim Loo faciliated a “politicians’ plenary” with Senator Sarah Hanson, Young Chris Bowen, Zali Steggall and Helen Haines.

Hanson-Young: We have listened to the science for COVID, we need to do the same for the climate crisis. 2050 net zero is old news. We need a plan to reduce climate pollution THIS decade.

Steggall: Climate change is a health emergency. We need a plan now.

Haines: Rural and regional Australia are not laggards – and will gain the most from the boom in a #NetZe