The year may be hurtling to a close but there’s still time for us to share our deep gratitude with you. For 3 years, health workers have been stretched to their limits. Yet so many Healthy Futures supporters like you continued to step up and take action on climate change and it has had a positive impact. We’re so grateful to have you as part of our passionate network of health workers and community members campaigning for real change. Thank you.
Here is just some of what you helped create. In 2022, together we:
Transformed Australia’s biggest polluter - AGL - for the better
AGL is responsible for 8% of our national carbon emissions and has stubbornly refused to take responsibility for its role in the climate crisis. Yet our prolonged campaign, including public actions, letters, reports, lobbying and media exposure helped create two transformational breakthroughs - stopping its dirty demerger proposal and creating a stronger Climate Transition Action Plan which brought forward closure of Loy Yang A coal power station by ten years!
Championed clean energy for health
We launched campaigns in the lead-up to the Victorian and NSW state elections calling on major parties in both states to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Hundreds of health workers and organisations signed our open letters, took action at Victorian Parliament House and got the word out in their communities. This helped build pressure on the Victorian Government which has since announced a new target of 95% renewable electricity by 2035.
United the health sector
Climate change is the greatest health threat of our time and we’ve been working hard to support leading medical organisations to take bold action. Six key medical colleges, representing general practitioners, surgeons, ophthalmologists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, psychiatrists and sports and exercise physicians, showed fantastic leadership when they united to call on all levels of Australian governments and all energy companies to replace coal with renewable energy by 2030.
Called for cleaner air
People are often surprised to learn that Australia has weaker clean air regulations than China and the United States and that they’re well below WHO recommendations. While we still have a long way to go to improve our air quality laws, Healthy Futures in collaboration with others, built pressure on the NSW Environmental Protection Agency to end its ongoing exemptions for the Vales Point coal power station to exceed pollution limits and gave it 2 years to clean up its act.
Researched the impacts
Our research uncovered direct health benefits of coal closure. We found that bringing forward Loy Yang A’s closure to 2030 in line with World Health Organization recommendations would save 1500 lives, prevent 32,000 child asthma episodes and 1900 babies being born underweight.
Whether it was creative public protests, digital actions, speaking to the media or lobbying their MPs, Healthy Futures’ supporters effectively amplified the voices of health workers and allies to call out polluting and harmful fossil fuels and raise awareness of the health impacts of climate change. Amid another year of devastating extreme weather events, health workers are now unequivocally critical stakeholders in the climate debate and our voices are being heard.
So, what's next?
We’ve helped make significant progress on climate change this year, but we still need deeper and faster cuts to greenhouse gas emissions to protect our planet and our health. We will continue our crucial work calling for coal-burning power stations to be replaced with renewable energy this decade, and keep up the pressure on energy giants like AGL to take appropriate action. We’re also starting work on a new frontier in climate action - gas.
As another polluting fossil fuel, gas is not only harming our physical health and producing dangerous carbon emissions, soaring gas prices are creating an unacceptable mental health risk which needs to be urgently addressed. We’ll be mobilising health workers to lead this charge.
Can you help fund this crucial work with a tax-deductible donation?
Wishing you, your families and friends a healthy, happy and relaxing festive season. Thank you again for your wonderful support this year, we can’t wait to work with you for an even more impactful 2023.