Natural ecosystems support our health by filtering our air, providing fresh water and food, regulating our climate and protecting against the spread of disease and pests. They also foster our psychological and spiritual wellbeing and serve as places of recreation and sources of nature-based jobs in tourism and other vocations.
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) is focussed on the complex interaction between human health and our natural environment and is therefore interested in environmental restoration and the protection of biodiversity to promote human health and social stability. A global environment that supports biodiversity is better able to support human health. This is a topic of utmost urgency, given the alarming decline in biodiversity in recent years.
Australia plans to become one of the World’s largest producers of natural gas The paper reviews all referenced literature on the mining of gas, potential local harms on the environment and community health from gas mining and its many complex process. It identifies evidence of some health harms which are already occurring in residents close to mines and in particular in the newborn. Of even greater concern is the greenhouse emission profile of gas production which on recent evidence is probably only marginally less than coal, thus negating its use as a transition to renewable energy.
Continued expansion of natural gas development in Australia carries serious risks for human health and wellbeing both locally and globally. These concerns are detailed in a our Policy Paper on this issue.
environments, climate change, and poor diet are major contributors to both
chronic and acute illnesses. Changes to the way we produce our food, and the
type of food we eat, are urgently required for both human and planetary health. Health, sustainable diet and agriculture Position Statement
Transport is an important part of a developed nation such as Australia, providing goods and services vital to health and the economy. The way in which transport is conducted in Australia is important to the health and well-being of all Australians.
Globally air pollution is an increasingly important public health problem. Nationally ambient (outdoor) air pollution contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality. Reductions in fossil fuel combustion to mitigate climate change have the potential to also benefit health by reducing concentrations of air pollutants which contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular disease and premature mortality.
Unconventional gas development (UGD) is the extraction of natural gas which is difficult to access conventionally, from coal seams, shale or other rock formations, using techniques such as directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Hydraulic fracturing involves the pressurised injection of fluids, sand and chemical additives into rock to open up fractures, allowing gas to flow out.
Most Australian children today benefit from better food, cleaner water, more preventive health measures (such as vaccination) and a higher standard of living than ever before. Childhood mortality is very low and many would think that Australian children have never had it so good.
Contrary to dominant views about the industry, coal-fired power is not the cheapest fuel and its value to the community is dubious. Yet this polluting industry continues to enjoy unjustifiable support.
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) has a deep interest in energy policy because it is the major determinant of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which via climate change present a significant threat to human health.