I am concerned about the risk to civilisation from its current trajectory, especially of Limits to Growth, manifest as rising energy costs, climate change and worsened by the global disparity between rich and poor. I have published more on the links between these issues than any other health academic in the world.
In 1989 I co-founded an NGO called BODHI Australia, which is one of the oldest Buddhist influenced development organisations based in the West. BODHI has supported education and health projects in seven Asian nations, particularly in India.
My PhD (ANU, 2002) was called "Inequality and Sustainability". It argues that global inequality generates “environmental brinkmanship”, ultimately risking the health of rich and poor.
Highlights of my academic career to date include work with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the World Medical Association and the Special Programme for Tropical Diseases Research. I was a co-editor of the journal "EcoHealth" and editor of the books "Climate Change and Global Health" (CABI, 2014) and senior editor of "Health of People, Places and Planet. Reflections based on Tony McMichael’s four decades of contribution to epidemiological understanding" (ANU Press, 2015). Currently, I have published over 140 articles and chapters (plus letters etc), and have given invited lectures in about 20 countries.
I was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship in 2010 for the topic “Health and sustainability: Australia in a global context".
In 2014 I became the first Australian contributor to the IPCC, and the first IPCC health contributor in the world to be arrested for civil disobedience, to try to stop coal exports. I have a long history of other forms of activism, including in the Franklin Dam campaign (1983) and as a whistleblower about the inadequate Tasmanian health system (1988).
Visitor, NCEPH, ANU
Director, Benevolent Organisation for Health, Development and Insight (BODHI)
Principal Research Fellow, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, Flinders University
Adjunct professor, Health Research Institute, University of Canberra
Professor, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra
Associate Professor, NCEPH, ANU
Senior Research Fellow in Global Health, Deakin University
General Practitioner, Tasmania
Australian National University, PhD (epidemiology and population health)
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, MSc (epidemiology)
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Diploma (epidemiology)
Royal College Physicians, London, DTM&H
University of Newcastle, NSW, BMed
University of Newcastle, NSW, BMedSci (Hons)
Limits to growth, planetary boundaries and planetary health, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Sounding the alarm: Health in the Anthropocene Vol 13, 665 , International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Health of People, Places and Planet: Reflections based on AJ (Tony) McMichael’s four decades of contribution to epidemiological understanding, ANU Press
Climate Change and Public Health, CABI
Kovats S, Butler CD. Global health and the global environment: linking research and policy, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4: 44-50.
Infectious disease emergence and global change: systemic thinking in a shrinking world, Infectious Diseases of Poverty 1:5 http://www.idpjournal.com/content/1/1/5
AJ McMichael +CDB: Promoting global population health while constraining the environmental f/print, Annual Review of Public Health. 32: 179-197
Butler C.D. The climate crisis, global health, and the medical response, World Medical Journal. 56(2):56-8
Butler C.D. North and South, The., Int'l Encyclopaedia Social Sciences (Ed: A. Hedblad) New York: MacMillan Ref USA, Vol 5:542-4
Butler C.D. and McMichael A.J. (2006): Environmental health, Social Injustice and Public Health (Eds: BS Levy, VW Sidel, Oxford: Oxf Univ Press, pp 318-36.
McMichael A.J., Butler C.D. and Folke C. New visions for addressing sustainability, State of the Planet 2006-07 (Eds: D. Kennedy et al) Island Press, Washington DC, pp 161-6.
Human carrying capacity and human health, PLoS Med http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0010055
Inequality, global change and the sustainability of civilisation, Global Change and Human Health
Overpopulation, overconsumption and economics, The Lancet
Grants and Contracts
Health and sustainability: Australia in a global context
Australian Research Council
Medical Association for the Prevention of War
Doctors for the Environment, Australia
Public Health And Health Services (1117)
Other Environmental Sciences (0599)
International Relations (160607)
One of "100 doctors for the planet" French Environmental Health Association (2009) Tony McMichael public health ecology and environment award (2018) pubic health, ecology,