by Work the World

Clinical Features, News

Work the World has been extra busy in Australia over the last couple of months, working closely with AMSA at the September Global Health Conference in Cairns to support students working towards demonstrating environmentally sustainable practice and promotion.

AMSA's work focuses on the environment and the role this plays in determining human health. Man-made pollution and environmental changes reduce soil and air quality, access to safe water supplies and basic sanitation, decrease farming capacity and alter normal climate systems. The vast environmental variations associated with climate change are expected to greatly exacerbate the burden on disease of the global population, especially in developing nations, where there is less resilience and capacity to mitigate these changes.


The conference went to lengths to educate delegates on the interplay between environmental factors and health, promoting personal changes that will help reduce delegates’ individual environmental impacts, and exploring strategies to address a changing environment and its effect of global health patterns. It also laid out a detailed breakdown of how the conference's environmental footprint would be minimised, showing just how important it is to offset the negative impact of large scale events that require high energy use, resource, food consumption and associated transport. Everything from water recycling to locally sourced products to soup kitchens had been thought of to reduce waste and energy, and the combined efforts really drove home how easy and important it is to put theory into practice. 

This year was particularly relevant for Work the World students as there was a focus on the role of climate change in communicable disease and demographic movements, climate change scepticism and the implementation of sustainable energy programs in developing nations. Over 500 students from around Australia and the Asia Pacific took part in discussions about global health and development, and heard from key speakers including Prof Stephen Howes, Chief Economist at AusAID; Dr Mark Wenitong, Aboriginal Pubic Health Medical Officer at NACCHO; Mr Richard Towle, Regional Representative of the UN High Commission for Refugees; and A/Prof Linda Selvey, immediate past CEO of Greenpeace Australia.

We look forward to the 2013 event in Hobart.

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