13 March 2019
Health professionals are pledging their support for school students around New Zealand who will be striking this Friday to call for meaningful action on climate change.
“As health professionals we know that climate change is already affecting the wellbeing of children and young people,” says Dr Alex Macmillan, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council.
“For as long as adults in leadership and government fail to act adequately to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, we will support school students to strike in protection of their own futures.”
“As climate change is the most serious threat to human health in the 21st century, health professionals recognise the urgent need for rapid change at all levels of society.”
Young people today will face the burden of extreme weather events and costs from a planet that is warming due to uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions.
“By striking the students are calling on our government to do everything it can to limit warming to no more than 1.5°C, through measures such as a firm, fair Treaty-based Zero Carbon Act, which so far appears to be a unfulfilled promise by this government,” says Dr Macmillan.
“While failing to take the necessary actions to protect health, we are also missing out on the potential to improve our quality of life now and for our children’s future. Well-designed climate action can address some of our most important health issues – many of which cause many thousands of children to have unnecessary days off school each year. By simply reducing car use and our burning of coal we could prevent many of these sick days because as well as reducing the emissions that cause climate change we would also be addressing air pollution.”
“Like school students around the country, we see continued wordy promises followed by inaction, including by our own national and local governments, as a moral failure to safeguard our children’s future and to take hold of the opportunity for wellbeing that climate action brings.”
“We applaud the strong leadership shown by young people in advocating for a safe and healthy future for everyone. Our society’s failure to take genuine climate action is an appalling intergenerational betrayal. At this time, more than ever, we need to listen to the voices of young people.”
Media Spokesperson: Dr Alex Macmillan, Mob. 021 322 625
Dr Alex Macmillan ([email protected]) is a Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago and Co-Convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council.