The impact of climate change on human health and wellbeing is becoming more apparent every year, but there is hope new research will counter this, thanks to the newly established McMichael Award at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH) at The Australian National University (ANU).
Through the generous donation of Dr Judith Healy, and matched investment from NCEPH, the McMichael Award aims to create a global network of emerging environmental leaders from different fields to work on solving the health challenges posed by climate change.
"Climate change is now upon us. The next few decades will be critical," says Dr Healy. "Our world needs a next generation of researchers to tackle and collaborate on the huge threats that face us, but also promising opportunities to promote better population health."
The inaugural recipient, Dr Zoe Leviston, from the ANU School of Medicine and Psychology, is using the award to study the co-benefits of participating in collective environmental action on wellbeing.
Dr Leviston's research aims to document these benefits, with the goal of encouraging greater involvement in collective environmental activities.
"As environmental challenges start to bite, we will be called upon to be involved," she explains. "So as a community member, I want to know, 'What's in it for me and the people I care about?' as well as the benefit to the environment. My research will help address this question."
The McMichael Award honours Judith's husband, the late Professor Tony McMichael AO, joint winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, former Director of NCEPH, and world authority on the risks to human health from climate change.