Author Archives: einhgreen

UMGHG in 2010 and Code Green

The University of Melbourne Green Health Group has not been active in the first half of 2010, in part because some of us are playing a greater role in Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA).

If you’d like to get in contact with medical students at the University of Melbourne who are interested in environmental issues, please contact Doctors for the Environment Australia via or

In the second half of 2010, DEA student members will be running ‘Code Green’, a campaign which aims to enable medical students and junior doctors to act on climate change, with the support of DEA and AMSA. For more information, see or email

The Code Green campaign features a 3-minute video clip which provides a basic outline of the key relationships between climate change and health. This can be viewed on You Tube.

Doctors for the Environment Inaugural Student Conference, 5-7 Dec 2009

Join health students from across Australia as we converge on Melbourne for 3 days of inspirational talks, workshops, and social events at ‘iDEA’ – a national student conference supported by Doctors for the Environment Australia (

Engage with community leaders, doctors, fellow students and others and share some of the positive ways that health students can harness the independence of their professions, their expertise in understanding complex biological systems and their privileged position of public trust, to demand change for the sake of planetary and human health.

The health professions have a long and proud history of service in the name of the greater good. The present unfolding global and regional environmental crises mean that never before has the need for action been so great.

This conference runs from 5-7 December 2009. Cost is $55 for the full conference or $20 per day. Subsidies are available for those who need them. Come for one, two or all three days. The location is Newman College, University of Melbourne.

It’ll be a great opportunity to learn about what’s going on in the area of health and environment and to network with like-minded health students and professionals. Hope to see you there!

For more information contact deastudents [at] or your Victorian state DEA reps: Sophie (sophiepgc [at] and Imogen (evelyn.imogen [at]

Carbon footprint competition – results and prize winners!

Thanks again to everyone who participated. The competition revealed the following results per sector and overall:

  • Energy: average 4.9 tonnes CO2 emissions annually.
  • Vehicle travel: average 3.4 tonnes CO2 emissions annually.
  • Air travel: average 3.9 tonnes CO2 emissions annually.
  • Diet: average 0.9 tonnes CO2 emissions annually.
  • Waste: average 2.9 tonnes CO2 emissions annually.
  • Total: average 14.5 tonnes CO2 emissions annually.

To put this in context, the average Australian emits  20.5 tonnes of carbon annually. This is higher than the 19.7 tonnes emitted by the average American. By comparison, China – which emits more carbon overall than any nation – has a per capita average of about 4.5 tonnes. In India, emissions are just 1.1 tonnes per person.

Thus, on average, those who participated in the carbon footprint competition emitted significantly less carbon than the average Australian; but unfortunately 14.5 tonnes of carbon per person is still far from sustainable. Current research suggests that in the medium and long term, a world-wide average of 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person per year is the maximum allowable quantity for sustainable life on earth.

For an inspiring example of how we might begin to achieve this, see the 1010 campaign in the UK, which has already signed up thousands of British citizens and organisations to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010.

The prize-draw

We are pleased to announce the following prize winners:

  • Tom – Clinical Medicine (Kumar and Clark)
  • Andrew – Genetics (Russell)
  • Chris – Practical Anatomy: Guide and Dissector (Eizenberg and Briggs)
  • Yuan – Endocrinology (Greenspan)
  • Henry – Biochemistry (Stryer)

We hope that you find these textbooks useful!

Global climate wake-up call

Yesterday was the Global Climate Wake Up Call, a global day of action organised by Avaaz and Tck Tck Tck, which sought to convey to political leaders that people all over the world want a fair, ambitious, and binding agreement on climate change at Copenhagen in December this year.

As part of this global day of action, the Green Health Group organised an event in which 45 people gathered to create a sign saying ‘climate change is bad news for health’ on a busy street in front of the University of Melbourne. The group included 20 medical students concerned about the health impacts of climate change, as well as students and staff from various other disciplines and faculties.

See below for photos, which can also be viewed on Avaaz’s website.


Carbon footprint competition – deadline extended

We’ve extended the deadline for entering the carbon footprint competition to enable more of you to participate. Get your results in by midnight on Monday 14 September to go into the prize draw! To take part, follow the instructions below:

1) Visit and click “Household Calculator.”

2) Fill in the questionnaire. When you’re done, click “Save your calculation.”

3) Type in your name and email address. Your results will be emailed to you.

4) Please forward your results along with your name and year level to greenhealthgroup [at] before midnight on Monday 14 September.

5) Participants will be placed in a draw to win second-hand medical textbooks such as Kumar and Clark’s Clinical Medicine and Stryer’s Biochemistry.

Carbon footprint competition: it’s on!

Climate change poses a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of humankind through disease, drought and “natural” disasters. The world’s poorest countries are disproportionately affected and yet the richest countries are the biggest polluters. In fact, Australia produces the greatest amount of carbon emissions in the world per capita.

Whilst action on a global scale is important, remember that you can take action now to reduce your own carbon footprint. The first step is to find out how big your footprint is and which of your activities contribute most to it. That’s the point of the Green Health Group’s inaugural Carbon Footprint Competition.

If you participate, you go into the draw to win great prizes, including kindly donated second-hand textbooks such as Greenspan’s Clinical Endocrinology, Stryer’s Biochemistry and Kumar & Clark’s Clinical Medicine

To take part in the competition, just follow these steps (it should take less than five minutes!):

  1. Before beginning, you will need the internet and your most recent gas, electricity and water bills. If you don’t have your bills you can still take part, but your results won’t be as accurate.
  2. Visit and click “Household Calculator.”
  3. Fill in the questionnaire and, when you’re done, click “Save your calculation.”
  4. Type in your name and email address. Your results will be emailed to you.
  5. Upon receiving your results, please forward them along with your name and year level to and you will be placed in the running to win prizes. Note your results may be subject to a t-test but rest assured your z-score will be kept in the strictest of confidence (intervals).
  6. The competition ends Monday September 7, 2009, and the follow-up of results and prize-winnings will take place shortly afterwards.

That’s all there is to it – good luck!

The University of Melbourne Green Health Group

Working bee a success: 100 recycled lecture pads ready to go

Thanks to those who helped make today’s working bee a great success! We reached our target of 100 recycled lecture pads and still had paper to spare! The recycled lecture pads will be distributed at the UMMSS/GHG vegetarian BBQ on 24 July.

For a sneak preview, check out the front cover:

GHG lecture pads page 1

Back in action post exams!

Just a quick update to let you know that GHG is back in action post end of exams! We began with a leisurely lunch at Lentil as Anything to celebrate the end of GHG’s first semester, and last week held an awesome working bee to plan for the coming semester and to get a few things done.

At the working bee, the main projects we planned for next semester were: a vegie bbq in the first week back, a carbon footprint competition for health students, and production of recycled lecture pads. Check out the notes from the working bee for more details. During the working bee, we also drafted a submission to the Royal Commission on the Black Saturday bushfires, highlighting the connection between climate change, bushfires and health.

We’re holding another working bee on Friday 17 July at 11am to make recycled lecture pads and to create a banner and mascot for GHG from chickenwire and old newspapers! Should be fun – more details to come via email. If you’re not on the list, email for info.

Also, on 11 May – way back when in the time before exams – GHG screened ‘End of Suburbia’, a documentary about the dependence of suburban life on fossil fuels, especially oil. For those who missed it, or who want to delve into this area a bit more deeply, check out the interview between George Monbiot and Fatih Birol, the International Energy Authority’s chief economist, in which Birol reveals for the first time a ‘ startling and worrying prediction for the date of peak oil’.

GHG projects update

GHG is gearing up for a busy few weeks, with members organising an evening seminar entitled ‘Climate Change, Bushfires, and Health’, 6:30-8:00pm Monday 4 May, Sunderland Theatre, University of Melbourne (for more information, see Events).

The following week, GHG is screening ‘End of Suburbia’, a documentary about the impact of peak oil on suburban lifestyles. Stay tuned for date, location and time!

In addition, GHG is preparing a Dreamlarge Knowledge Transfer grant application to run environmental awareness activities, and some members will be visiting their local members of parliament as part of a Doctors for the Environment initiative to educate politicians about the health impacts of climate change.

If you want to get involved, email to find out when our next meeting is.

Minutes of inaugural meeting now online

Thanks to everyone who attended our first meeting. Lots of great project ideas emerged – check out the minutes (GHG Minutes 19 Feb 09) if you’re interested. Thanks also to those who expressed interest in attending the inaugural meeting but couldn’t make it.

We’re having another meeting soon (1pm, Friday 27 February), as there’s still a lot of things that we need to discuss in order to get the group up and running. Here’s a draft agenda (GHG Draft Agenda 27/02/09), so see what you think and email comments/additions to