Honorary Professor, University of Canberra

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).


  • 2016–present
    Visitor, NCEPH, ANU
  • 1989–present
    Director, Benevolent Organisation for Health, Development and Insight (BODHI)
  • 2017–present
    Principal Research Fellow, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, 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)


  • 2017
    Limits to growth, planetary boundaries and planetary health, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
  • 2016
    Sounding the alarm: Health in the Anthropocene Vol 13, 665 , International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • 2015
    Health of People, Places and Planet: Reflections based on AJ (Tony) McMichael’s four decades of contribution to epidemiological understanding, ANU Press
  • 2014
    Climate Change and Public Health, CABI
  • 2012
    Kovats S, Butler CD. Global health and the global environment: linking research and policy, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4: 44-50.
  • 2012
    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
  • 2011
    AJ McMichael +CDB: Promoting global population health while constraining the environmental f/print, Annual Review of Public Health. 32: 179-197
  • 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 http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0010055
  • 2000
    Inequality, global change and the sustainability of civilisation, Global Change and Human Health
  • 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 (2018) pubic health, ecology,