Climate change affects all societies, communities and cultures, and it continues to affect the industries which provide essential services, including health. All organisations have a responsibility to take action to ensure a liveable and healthy future.
Ochre is strongly committed to reversing the impact of climate change on our environment, and we support regeneration strategies to aid in reducing its effects. We acknowledge climate change as a key public health issue that places doctors at the frontlines.
With the increase of environmental catastrophes, our emergency medicine doctors are bearing the burden of increasing presentations.
As farmers lose their livelihood to ongoing drought and family homes are destroyed by bushfires, we recognise the added pressure placed on mental health services.
Ochre supports and endorses specific statements and positions that Australasian, Australian, and New Zealand specialty-based colleges and medical societies have released on the issue.
“Climate change resulting from human activity is affecting our relationship with our environment and presents an urgent, significant and growing threat to health worldwide.” RACGP, Where does general practice sit in addressing climate change?
The time for change has already begun. Doctors have been advocating for action for a number of years now; as early as 2015, the RACP coordinated an international campaign Doctors for Climate Action, including a Global Consensus Statement: Act Now to Reduce the Damaging Health Impacts of Climate Change (PDF).
This position received support from 69 health and medical organisations, 1,500 doctors, and other individuals.
With Ochre’s roots firmly planted in rural regions of Australia, many doctors within our medical centres are already seeing the impact that climate change is having on the health and well being of the communities they serve; we are in agreement with the College of Rural and Remote Medicine’s statement that we are in a “rural health emergency”.
“Rural Generalists are not only committed to serving these communities but are also often impacted personally,” ACRRM President Dr Ewen McPhee, ACRRM recognises climate change as a rural health emergency.
We are very aware of the impact that climate change is having on communities; we are indeed in a “population health emergency”, as described by the college of Emergency Medicine (ACEM).
“Climate change presents an immediate risk to the capacity and ability of EDs, health systems and the medical workforce to cope with increased demand and more frequent and intense disasters. Climate change is a medical emergency; it thus demands an emergency response. ACEM calls for urgent action to establish mechanisms to mitigate and adapt to these threats to ensure the ongoing sustainability of our health systems.”
Statement on climate change, ACEM.
OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council is a society of NZ doctors and health professionals committed to highlighting the relationship between climate change and adverse health effects. We are in agreement with OraTaiao that mitigating and reducing the effects of climate change could bring benefits to the health of New Zealanders.
"Health gains are possible for heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, respiratory disease, and mental health, with resultant cost savings for the health system."
OraTaiao - Climate Change and Health
In 2019, the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) declared climate change to be a health emergency, pointing to illness and deaths from high temperatures, as well as mediated events such as the changing patterns of infectious disease.
"Climate action includes prioritising health equity which has significant potential to reduce existing, and prevent future, health inequities."
NZMA Declares Climate Change A Health Emergency