Health professionals urge collective action to avert climate crisis

Health professionals urge collective action to avert climate crisis

MEDIA STATEMENT26 September 2019

Members of OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council will join climate events around the country this Friday, 27 September, and are issuing a symbolic medical certificate, as part of the global strikes for climate movement.

“We are taking to the streets tomorrow to show our solidarity with striking students, because to avert the climate crisis requires collective action. As health workers we see it as our professional duty to urge leaders to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr Rhys Jones, Co-convenor of OraTaiao.

“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.”

OraTaiao members will be joining climate strike events tomorrow in a number of centres including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Rotorua.

“The effects of climate change are already being felt across all areas of health and will only get worse unless we take urgent action,” said Dr Jones.

The effects of climate change on health include increased illness and deaths from high temperatures and other extreme weather events, increase in infectious disease, threats to food security and mental health impacts.

“The knowledge and means to control global emissions are available to us – we just need political will – such as the introduction of a strong Zero Carbon Act, bold action to reduce agricultural emissions and phasing out fossil fuels,” said Dr Jones.

“What’s more, these actions can have huge benefits for our health. Transforming food systems to provide plant-based diets with less red meat and dairy will contribute to preventing disease. Redesigning cities to encourage active transport would be yet another win-win for health and the environment.”

“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 and take action.”


Media Spokesperson: Dr Rhys Jones, 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 and Health Council.

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