Threats to human health from climate change

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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Is climate change the biggest global health threat of the 21st century?

A world expert in human health and climate change will address this issue in the annual Florey Lecture at the University of Adelaide this month.

Organised by the Florey Medical Research Foundation, the free public lecture will be given on Monday 21 September by Professor Anthony J McMichael (MBBS, PhD).

"On current form we are moving towards a more precarious and health-unfriendly world. The scale, context and moral dimension of the risks to health are unfamiliar to humankind," says Professor McMichael, who is an NHMRC Australia Fellow at the Australian National University, and also Honorary Professor of Climate Change and Health at the University of Copenhagen.

"We can itemise the diverse health risks from climate change - such as heatwaves, infectious diseases, impaired food yields, freshwater shortages, weather disasters, and others - but this may not convey an understanding of their real 'bottom line' significance."

Professor McMichael says human health is a key issue for environmental sustainability, but "western societies have largely lost sight of the absolute dependence of our health on nature's systems".

"2009 is a crucial year for initiating post-Kyoto policies. Many aspects of our ways of living and our international politics will soon be transformed - in either benign or malignant form. To achieve the former, a great responsibility sits on the health sector at large," he says.

Professor McMichael's research has spanned dietary, social and environmental epidemiology. In South Australia, he coordinated a long-running study (1979-1994) of environmental lead exposure and early child neurocognitive development in Port Pirie. During the 1990s he helped pioneer the study of health risks from global environmental change, especially climate change.

WHAT: 2009 Florey Lecture: Climate Change and Health, Present and Future Risks: A Core Issue for 'Sustainability' by Professor Anthony J McMichael
WHERE: Florey Lecture Theatre, Medical School North, University of Adelaide, Frome Road, Adelaide
WHEN: 5.30pm - 6.30pm Monday 21 September
COST: Free - all welcome

Email or call +61 8 8303 3995


Contact Details

Kerry House
Fundraising Manager
Florey Medical Research Foundation
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3995
Mobile: +61 421 742 706

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762