News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Government not tackling climate change management - Academic

Government not tackling climate change management says Maori academic

The Public Health Association (PHA) annual conference at Lincoln University was told today that developing strategies to manage climate change is one of the most critical issues faced by New Zealand’s public health professionals.

“Climate change is the defining public health issue of the 21^st century,” Dr Rhys Jones (Ngati Kahungunu) from the University of Auckland said.

“Global climate change threatens the very foundations of health for human populations. Our health and wellbeing depends on having stable social, cultural and economic conditions, and sustainable natural ecosystems. Climate change will have major adverse effects on all these things.”

He said examples include unprecedented spread of infectious diseases, a dramatic reduction in global food production, and more natural disasters.

“It’s real and it’s happening. Globally, we are already experiencing more frequent and severe weather events, including extremes of hot and cold, floods and droughts. The effects will become much more serious as the temperature increases.”

Dr Jones stressed that action to prevent the worst effects of climate change is urgently required.

“We know exactly what is required to avoid these catastrophic outcomes – we need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions dramatically and quickly. The longer we leave it the more difficult it will be to stay within safe thresholds.”

Public health professionals have expressed frustration that this critical action is being obstructed by vested interests.

“One of the major problems is that, despite overwhelming scientific consensus, many New Zealanders remain unconvinced about the threat of climate change and the need to act urgently. This is largely due to a formidable public disinformation campaign that seeks to foster doubt in the public mind. Our government therefore lacks the mandate from its citizens to take necessary action.

“As a result, instead of promoting active transport and moving to renewable energy sources, our government is investing heavily in major motorway projects and supporting proposals to extract lignite. These actions encourage increased emissions, the direct opposite of what we know we should be doing.”

Dr Jones argues that public health professionals have an important role to play in confronting the ‘denial industry’.

“We are used to challenging corporate interests that clearly endanger public health – tobacco control is an obvious example. Climate change is an even bigger threat, and we have a responsibility to speak out in order to protect the wellbeing of current and future generations.”

[Dr Jones is co-convenor of OraTaiao: New Zealand Climate and Health, an organisation comprising senior doctors and other health professionals concerned about the effects of climate change on population health. The group is part of a worldwide movement of health professional authorities seeking to address the daunting health challenges posed by climate change.]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'


The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>


Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>


Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>


Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland