Health professionals will be among thousands of New Zealanders out on the streets this weekend calling for solutions to climate change. The NZ-wide marches are part of thousands of People’s Climate events around the world – ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit starting this Monday in Paris.
“Taking action on climate change could be the greatest health opportunity of the 21st century, and it’s our professional responsibility to ensure we don’t miss this opportunity,” says Dr Rhys Jones, co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council.
Dr Jones quotes Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, past president of the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, talking recently to New Zealand’s medical professionals about publicly calling for action on climate change:
“Doctors need look no further than the clear evidence that what is good for the climate is also good for their patients’ health to give them a clear mandate for speaking out. We remain respected and trusted within our communities and have a responsibility to make clear to them the urgency and enormity of the challenge to mitigate the impact of climate change. What better way to do this than by marching."
Dr Jones says: “Here in New Zealand there are so many things we can do to improve health that will also protect our climate. These include rapidly phasing out coal, switching from car trips to more cycling, walking and public transport, and creating energy-efficient homes. We need to take advantage of these win-wins to create a healthier society, reduce the burden on our health system and promote a liveable climate.”
“Urgent action, based on a fair approach to reducing global climate emissions, is essential for our health,” says Dr Jones, “As a developed country and a high emitter, New Zealand needs to be a team-player at the upcoming climate talks in Paris.”
Dr Jones says we have a unique chance to create a healthier and more hopeful future. “Join us and the growing number of New Zealanders calling for real climate solutions, not pollution, at your nearest People’s Climate March this weekend.”
Media Spokesperson: Dr Rhys Jones, Ph. 021 411 743
Dr Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu) ([email protected]) is a Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, and Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate Climate and Health Council.
This is a joint media release from:
- OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council www.orataiao.org.nz
- The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand http://www.hauora.co.nz/
- Medical Students for Global Awareness https://www.facebook.com/groups/19614588936/
- People’s Climate Marches in NZ at http://www.peoplesclimatemarch.org.nz/
- Professor Sir Ian Gilmore biography at http://baco2015.org/portfolio/professor-sir-ian-gilmore/
- Two editorials in the NZ Medical Journal by OraTaiao, which are Open Access, at:
NZMJDigest ‘Promoting Paris’s unprecedented health opportunities’ at http://digest.nzma.org.nz/?iid=131372#folio=29