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Honorary Professor, Australian National University

I am an activist-academic, who in 1989 co-founded the NGOs BODHI Australia and BODHI US, which still exist, struggling, with partners in India, to improve health and human rights.

In 2014 I became the first Australian contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be arrested for climate disobedience.

I was sole editor of the first edition of "Climate Change and Global Health" (CABI, 2014) and am senior editor of the second edition (in preparation). I have published (or have in press) over 300 articles, chapters & letters in scholarly journals and books, and have given invited lectures in 25 countries. Almost all of my academic work, since 1991, concerns the risk to civilisation (and thus health) from the pursuit of economic "growth" as it simplistically measured.

I was also 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), the festschrift of the late Professor AJ (Tony) McMichael AO (open access: see

In 2018 I was appointed as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Doctors for the Environment, Australia, a group for which I was a founding board member, in 2001.

I was named as one of "100 doctors for the planet" in 2009, by the French Environmental Health Association, and in 2018 received the Tony McMichael public health ecology and environment award, from the Public Health Association of Australia.

However, I have been unemployed since 2016, after being forced out of the Australian university that then employed me. I have since been rejected for about 25 positions, in 4 countries.


  • 2018–present
    Honorary Professor, NCEPH, ANU
  • 1989–present
    Director, Benevolent Organisation for Health, Development and Insight (BODHI)
  • 2017–2020
    Principal Research Fellow, College of Arts, Flinders University
  • 2016–2019
    Adjunct professor, Health Research Institute, University of Canberra
  • 2012–2016
    Professor, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra
  • 2008–2012
    Associate Professor, NCEPH, ANU
  • 2006–2007
    Senior Research Fellow in Global Health, Deakin University
  • 1988–1996
    General Practitioner, Tasmania


  • 2002 
    Australian National University, PhD (epidemiology and population health)
  • 1997 
    London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, MSc (epidemiology)
  • 1997 
    London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Diploma (epidemiology)
  • 1990 
    Royal College Physicians, London, DTM&H
  • 1987 
    University of Newcastle, NSW, BMed
  • 1984 
    University of Newcastle, NSW, BMedSci (Hons)


  • 2022
    Overpopulation: a century of debate that deserves re-examining, In: Saeverot, H. (Ed.), Meeting the Challenges of Existential Threats through Educational Innovation: A Proposal for an Expanded Curriculum; Routledge, Abingdon, UK. pp. 67-84.
  • 2022
    Climate change and human health, Butler, C.D., Ewald, B.D., McGain, F., Kiang, K. & Sanson, A.V. In: Williams, S. & Taylor, R. (eds.) Sustainability and the New Economics. Synthesising Ecological Economics and Modern Monetary Theory Springer. The Netherlands pp. 51-68.
  • 2021
    Ecological ethics, planetary sustainability and global health, In: Benatar S and Brock G (eds) Global Health: Ethical Challenges. 2nd edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 281-292.
  • 2021
    An appeal for an objective, open and transparent scientific debate about the origin of SARS-CoV-2, Van Helden, J., Butler, C.D., Achaz, G., Casane, D., Claverie, J-M., Colombo F., Courtier, V., Canard, B., Ebright, R.H., Graner, F., Leitenberg, M., Morand, S., Segreto, R., Petrovsky, N., Decroly, E., Halloy, J. An appeal for an objective, open and transparent scientific debate about the origin of SARS-CoV-2. The Lancet 398, 1402-04.
  • 2021
    Restoring biodiversity and slowing climate change is vital to protect health, Butler, C.D., Jaakkola, J.J.K., Boylan, S., McFarlane, R.A., Potter, J.D.; The Lancet 398 (10313) 1802
  • 2020
    “Regional overload” as an indicator of profound risk: a plea for the public health community to awaken., In: Health in the Anthropocene: Living Well on a Finite Planet, pp 60-85 (Editors: S. Quilley, K. Zywert), Toronto, Canada University of Toronto Press
  • 2020
    Plagues, pandemics, health security and the war on nature, Journal of Human Security. (editorial) 16 (1) 53-57
  • 2020
    Planetary health, In: International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2nd edition. vol. 10, Elsevier, pp. 153–157. Editor: Kobayashi, A. (Ed.)
  • 2020
    Pandemics, the Limits to Growth and environmental health research, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 1-3.
  • 2019
    Anthropogenic climate change and health in the Global South, Butler C.D., Hanigan I.C. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 23(12)1243-1252.
  • 2019
    Philanthrocapitalism: promoting global health but failing planetary health, Challenges 10(1), 24;
  • 2018
    Climate change, health and existential risks to civilization: a comprehensive review (1989-2013), International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(10) 2286
  • 2018
    Planetary Epidemiology: towards first principles, Current Environmental Reports. 5(4) 418-429
  • 2017
    Limits to growth, planetary boundaries and planetary health, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
  • 2016
    Sounding the alarm: Health in the Anthropocene , International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Vol 13, 665 doi: 10.3390/ijerph13070665
  • 2015
    ANU Press, Health of People, Places and Planet. Reflections based on Tony McMichael’s four decades of contribution to epidemiological understanding (editors: Butler, CD, Dixon, J. and Capon, AG.),
  • 2014
    Climate Change and Global Health, sole edited book (CABI)
  • 2012
    Infectious disease emergence and global change: systemic thinking in a shrinking world, Infectious Diseases of Poverty 1:5
  • 2012
    Kovats S, Butler CD. Global health and the global environment: linking research and policy, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4: 44-50.
  • 2011
    Promoting global population health while constraining the environmental footprint , Annual Review of Public Health. 32: 179-197 (AJ McMichael + CDButler)
  • 2010
    Butler C.D. The climate crisis, global health, and the medical response, World Medical Journal. 56(2):56-8
  • 2007
    Butler C.D. North and South, The., Int'l Encyclopaedia Social Sciences (Ed: A. Hedblad) New York: MacMillan Ref USA, Vol 5:542-4
  • 2006
    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.
  • 2006
    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.
  • 2004
    Human carrying capacity and human health, PLoS Med
  • 2000
    Inequality, global change and the sustainability of civilisation, Global Change and Human Health
  • 1997
    The consumption bomb , Medicine, Conflict and Survival 13: 209-218.
  • 1994
    Overpopulation, overconsumption and economics, The Lancet

Grants and Contracts

  • 2011
    Health and sustainability: Australia in a global context
    Sole applicant
    Funding Source:
    Australian Research Council

Professional Memberships

  • Medical Association for the Prevention of War
  • Doctors for the Environment, Australia

Research Areas

  • 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 [Public Health Association of Australia (2018)]; WD Borrie Prize [Australian Population Association (2002)]; Zayed International Environment Prize [2nd place, jointly with about 1000 others; (2006)] ; ARC Future Fellow (2010-15).