Medical students to participate in Code Green Week
THE government’s push to introduce a carbon price will receive a boost from Australian medical students this week, when they take a break from study to participate in Code Green Week.
The event is a joint national initiative of student members of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) and the Australian Medical Students' Association (AMSA), and aims to educate health professionals and the public about the health threats resulting from climate change.
DEA student president Rohan Church said the carbon price was an essential public health measure to combat climate-related illness like malnutrition, diarrhoea, vector-borne diseases, natural disasters and armed conflict.
“A price on carbon… represents a first step towards safeguarding human health from the worst impacts of climate change," he said.
The campaign culminates in a week of action, from August 1–7, with hundreds of medical students participating in a variety of events and activities at medical schools across the country, including public lectures, grand rounds, film screenings, vegetarian meals, letter-writing, meeting with MPs, and permaculture workshops.
In addition, National Tree Day (31 July 2011), which preceded Code Green Week, has given medical students the opportunity to get outside and start taking action on climate change immediately, in a gesture designed to highlight the urgency of the need to deal with global warming.
Mr Church said while planting trees is a fun and practical response to the threat of climate change, it was not nearly enough to protect human health from a warming planet.
"We are glad to see the Australian government finally taking steps towards doing something about climate change, but the bipartisan target of 5% reductions is paltry in comparison to what the science demands," he said.
Code Green campaign director, James Correy, said that the level of support that Code Green has received was very encouraging.
"To have events happening in every state and at just about every medical school in the country shows that medical students are greatly concerned about the health of our planet and its people,” he said.
“As a future doctor, I hope that we can start saving lives right now by urgently reducing Australia's carbon dioxide emissions."