CHILD health legend and former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley says children are already suffering the effects of climate change and Australia has no plan for how to deal with it.
Speaking after the screening of a local documentary about logging in Western Australia’s native forests, Prof Stanley said the issue was one of the reasons that prompted her to join the movement Doctors for the Environment.
“We are now in a crisis situation in terms of the health effect of climate change,” Prof Stanley said.
“We don’t even have a national climate and health strategy in Australia.”
The award-winning epidemiologist called for an end to logging in native forests, saying they were a “fabulous carbon sink”.
“It’s something we can do immediately to improve the health of our children who are now being affected by climate change already, and are vulnerable people,” she said.
According to Harvard University paediatrician Aaron Bernstein, there is preliminary evidence that air pollution may be a factor in autism.
“The more we learn about air pollution the more we realise it doesn’t really care which organ it gets to,” he said.
Dr Bernstein’s Center for Climate Health and Global Environment has released papers warning that extremes in temperature linked to climate change will drive kids indoors more often, putting pressure on their waistlines. More disasters linked to weather events are also likely to increase their anxiety, which could lead to mental health issues.
Disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes would spread into new territory, with evidence recently emerging that ticks carrying the debilitating Lyme’s disease have recently migrated into Canada for the first time as temperatures have increased.
The anti-logging documentary Cry of the Forests is continuing to sell out in Fremantle, and sad to say you’ve already missed a chance to see tomorrow’s screening at Hoyts Millennium. However, the film was this week amongst 12 chosen by Documentary Australia Foundation or its incubator program, which will help filmmaker Jane Hammond develop new strategies to keep logging on the agenda.
“This is a huge honour for the film and an important milestone in the campaign to protect our native forests,” Hammond said.
The film has also been chosen to screen at Yale University’s environmental film festival next month, it’s 16th international showing.
“The world is interested and watching the disaster that is unfolding in our precious native forests,” Hammond said.
“Time for our government to act to protect what remains of these vital ecosystems for climate and biodiversity protection.”