Climate change to most affect Indigenous people

January 17, 2009

Indigenous people living in remote communities in northern and central Australia will be among the hardest hit by climate change, according to an article in the Medical Journal of Australia on January 5.

"Elevated temperatures and increases in hot spells are expected to be a major problem for indigenous health in remote areas", the article states.

The authors of the article, Donna Green, Ursula King and Joe Morrison, call on the government to recognise the impact of ecology and social factors on the lives of Indigenous Australians and adapt its health policy accordingly.

"For many indigenous people, a connection with 'country' - a place of ancestry, identity, language, livelihood and community - is a key determinant of health", they argue. "If the community-owned country becomes 'sick' through environmental degradation, climate impacts, or inability of the traditional owners to fulfil cultural obligations through ongoing management and habitation of their land, the people of that land will feel this 'sickness' themselves."

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