L-R (student) Alice Minchin, (Dr) Nick Towle, (Dr) Rohan Church, (student) Alice McGushin
Dr Rohan Church (Centre), with comedian Dave O’Neil, medical students and community members
On Saturday May 3rd, Burnie doctors, medical students and community members staged a gathering outside Burnie bank branches as part of a ‘National Day of Divestment Action’. This was part of a nationwide rally with up to 1000 individuals turning out to urge their banks to divest from fossil fuels or pledging to close their accounts and move to another bank.
The Burnie group are members of Doctors for the Environment Australia. Spokesperson for the group, Dr Rohan Church, explained the significance of their involvement. “As doctors, we are extremely concerned about the growing health impacts from climate change and we see divestment from fossil fuels as an important public health measure.”
“The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has reinforced the urgency with which humanity must start drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avert serious consequences for human health.
“What isn’t widely appreciated is that since 2008 the big four banks have loaned $19 billion to coal and gas projects in Australia, and that as much as 55 per cent of our superannuation is invested in high carbon sectors globally.” added Dr Church.
“When the science is so clear on the risk to human health, we don’t believe it is ethical to continue to profit from investing in the expansion of the fossil fuel industry.
According to the group the campaign to promote divestment from fossil fuels is just beginning to gain momentum and we are likely to see many more health professionals engage in these sorts of events in the near future.