“I don’t believe in climate change.”
I’d just got back from Darwin in early October, and I and many of my GP colleagues had been closely following the news of the bushfires in New South Wales. We’d had our first warning of high fire danger in late September. As I returned to work in Campbelltown, in south-west Sydney, a grey haze of smoke hung in the air. Each breath I took left a metallic reminder of the bushfires at the back of my throat. My patients were coughing more than usual. Those with asthma were getting through more inhalers. On behalf of patients, I’d been writing letters to the Department of Housing asking for modifications to keep people healthy and safe in the weather extremes they were experiencing. It was what had been predicted. It was what was happening. So I was surprised to hear my patient say it.