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The time is now

The Beagle Editor, This week, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, joined the Australian Medical Association, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Australasian College of Emergency Medicine and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, and declared climate change to be a health emergency. I am a fellow of this college and I am so pleased to no longer feel alone as a doctor speaking up about the climate emergency. Increasingly, medical bodies around the world are recognising climate change to be not only an environmental issue but also a health issue. ‘There is a substantive and compelling body of medical and scientific evidence supporting the position that this is a health emergency,’ said Dr Lara Roeske, Chair of RACGP Specific Interests. ‘We acknowledge the serious threats posed to the health of children, older Australians and those in rural and remote communities. Climate change disproportionately affects the health of Australians with asthma, respiratory conditions and heart disease. The research demonstrates that women are at higher risk of death from climate change, in particular from climate-change-linked natural disasters.’ My college is joining many other professional organisations calling, with ever increasing urgency, on the Australian Government to recognise and help seriously address the health impacts of climate change. NSW is in a state of Emergency, unprecedented bushfires continue with no end in sight, toxic smoke chokes our towns and cities for days on end, and the drought is the worst on record in this state - these are natural disasters fuelled by climate change. We are in the climate emergency now and this is just the beginning. We must band together to demand we end the days of fossil fuels, restore our natural environments and unite to become a stronger and more resilient community. It’s not just our future health, wellbeing, prosperity and security that depends on it, but our current quality of life. Dr Michelle Hamrosi BioMedSci(Hons) MBBS FRACGP DCH IBCLC

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