Professor Colin David Butler

Honorary Professor

Biography

My interest in global health precedes medical school, which I started in 1980. I spent 1985 mostly in tropical disease endemic countries, which consolidated how public health trumps individual medicine in need. While working mostly as a GP I co-founded the NGOs BODHI and BODHI Australia, and also published a paper in the Lancet, warning that global health was heading to a precipice, fuelled by the convergence of discrimination, hubris and denial that limits to growth could impede civilizational progress.

ANU connection: continuous 1998-present; PhD, research, visiting or Hon positions.

Other universities: UTAS (1990s), Deakin (2006-7); Univ Canberra (2012-present) (Adjunct Prof since 2016), Flinders (Principal Research Fellow) (2017-20).

In 2014 I became the first health contributor to the IPCC (and 1st Australian contributor) to be arrested for civil disobedience over climate change; in this case for protesting Australian coal exports. I believe that climate change is the greatest moral issue of our time; yet it is only one of a suite of interacting threats to global public health; sometimes called "planetary boundaries"; also "Limits to Growth".

I have published about 50 papers and chapters directly relevant to limits to growth and health, as well as at least another 50 indirectly relevant, of about 155 altogether.

Edited Books:

Climate Change and Global Health (CABI) (2014); 2nd edition 2020Health of People, Places and Planet: Reflections based on A.J. (Tony) McMichael's four decades of contribution to epidemiological understanding (ANU Press) (2015) (I was senior editor, co-editors Jane Dixon and Tony Capon).

NGO co-founding: BODHI, BODHI Aust (1989), Drs for the Envt (Aust) (2001), Health-Earth: (2014)

Major Grants: ARC Future Fellowship (2011-15).

Awards:

Australian Population Association: Borrie Prize (2002)

French Environmental Health Association: One of a 100 "doctors for the planet" (2009).

Public Health Association of Australia: Tony McMichael award for public health, ecology and environment (2018).

Research

Research interests

  • Public Health And Health Services1117
  • Epidemiology111706
  • Other Environmental Sciences0599

Publications

  • Butler, C & McFarlane, R 2018, 'Climate change, food security and population health in the Anthropocene', in D A DellaSala (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene, Elsevier, Netherlands, pp. 453-459pp.
  • Butler, C & Higgs, K 2018, 'Health, population, limits and the decline of nature', in Terry Marsden (ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Nature, SAGE Publications Ltd, London, pp. 1122-1149pp.
  • Butler, CD & Kefford, B 2018, 'Climate and conflict: risk multiplier', Nature, vol. 555, no. 7698, pp. 1-1.
  • Butler, CD 2018, 'Climate Change, Health and Existential Risks to Civilization: A Comprehensive Review (1989-2013)
    ', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 15, no. 2266, pp. 1-21.
  • Butler, CD 2018, 'Planetary Epidemiology: Towards First Principles', Environmental Reports, vol. Published online 13 October 2018, pp. 1-16.
  • McFarlane, R, Butler, CD, Maynard, S et al 2018, 'Ecosystem-based translation of health research: expanding frameworks for environmental health', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, vol. 2018 Online, pp. 1-4.
  • Butler, C & Whelan, J 2017, 'Air pollution and climate change in Australia', in R Akhtar and C Palagiano (ed.), Climate Change and Air Pollution: The Impact on Human Health in Developed and Developing Countries, Springer Nature, Switzerland, pp. 131-149pp.
  • Butler, CD 2017, 'Limits to growth, planetary boundaries, and planetary health', Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol. 25, pp. 59-65pp.
  • Tong, S, Berry, H, Ebi, K et al 2016, 'Climate change, food, water and population health in China', Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 94, no. 10, pp. 759-765.
  • Butler, CD 2016, Planetary Overload, Limits to Growth and Health. Environmental Health Reports Vol 3(4): 360-369.
  • Butler, CD 2016, 'Sounding the Alarm: Health in the Anthropocene', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 13, no. 7, pp. 1-15. (Open access)
  • Butler, CD, Hales, S, Beggs, P et al 2016, 'From Paris towards 1.5 degrees C', in Colin D. Butler (ed.), Climate Change and Global Health (2016), CABI International, United Kingdom, pp. 293-305pp.
  • Singh, M, Rao, M & Butler, CD 2016, 'Climate change, health and future well-being in South Asia', in Akhtar, Rais (ed.), Climate Change and Human Health Scenario in South and Southeast Asia, Springer International Publishing Switzerland, Switzerland, pp. 11-27pp.
  • Rahman, K, Samarawickrema, I, Harley, D et al 2015, 'Performance of Kala-Azar Surveillance in Gaffargaon Subdistrict of Mymensingh, Bangladesh', PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 1-9.
  • Butler, C 2015, 'Revised hunger estimates accelerate apparent progress toward the MDG hunger target', Global Food Security, vol. 5, no. 6, pp. 19-24.
  • Bowles, D, Butler, CD & Morisetti, N 2015, 'Climate change, conflict and health', Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, vol. 108, no. 10, pp. 390-395.
  • Butler, CD, Dixon, J & Capon, A, eds, 2015, Health of People, Places and Planet, ANU Press, Canberra. (open access)
  • Butler, C 2014, 'Climate Change and Global Health: a new conceptual framework', CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, vol. 9, no. 27, pp. -.
  • Honda, Y, Oki, T, Kanae, S et al 2014, 'Climate extremes, disasters and health', in Colin D Butler (ed.), Climate Change and Global Health, CABI Publishing, United Kingdom, pp. 54-64.
  • Butler, C, ed., 2014, Climate Change and Global Health, CABI Publishing, United Kingdom.
  • Black, P & Butler, CD 2014, 'One Health in a world with climate change', OIE Revue Scientifique et Technique, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 465-473.
  • Bowles, D & Butler, CD 2014, 'Socially, politically and economically mediated health effects of climate change: Possible consequences for Africa', SAMJ South African Medical Journal, vol. 104, no. 8, pp. 585-+.
  • Bowles, D, Braidwood, M & Butler, CD 2014, 'Unholy Trinity: Climate change, conflict and ill health', in Colin D Butler (ed.), Climate Change and Global Health, CABI Publishing, United Kingdom, pp. 144-152.
  • Bowles, D, Butler, CD, Friel, S et al 2014, 'Climate change and health in Earth's future', Earth's Future, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 60-67.
  • Bowles, D, Reuveny, R & Butler, CD 2014, 'Moving to a better life? Climate, migration and population health', in Colin D Butler (ed.), Climate Change and Global Health, CABI Publishing, United Kingdom, pp. 135-143.
  • Butler, CD, Bowles, D, McIver, L et al 2014, 'Mental health, cognition and the challenge of climate change', in Colin D Butler (ed.), Climate Change and Global Health, CABI Publishing, United Kingdom, pp. 251-259.
  • Butler, CD, Mathieson, A, Bowles, D et al 2014, 'Climate change and health in Africa', in Colin D Butler (ed.), Climate Change and Global Health, CABI Publishing, United Kingdom, pp. 218-227.
  • Butler, CD, Stott, R, Bowen, K et al 2014, 'Climate change and health: From adaptation towards a solution', in Colin D Butler (ed.), Climate Change and Global Health, CABI Publishing, United Kingdom, pp. 284-291.
  • Rahman, K, Olsen A, Harley, D et al 2014, 'Kala-azar in pregnancy in Mymensingh, Bangladesh: a social autopsy', PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 8, no. 5.
  • Smith, K, Frumkin, H, Balakrishnan, K et al 2013, 'Energy and human health', Annual Review of Public Health, vol. 34, no. 34, pp. 159-188.
  • Jeggo, M, Butler, C, Fang, J et al 2012, 'EcoHealth and the Influenza A/H5N1 Dual Use Issue', EcoHealth, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 1-3.
  • Butler, C, Powles, J & McMichael, A 2012, 'Human Disease: Effects of Economic Development', in Butler, Colin D, Powles, John, and McMichael, Anthony J (ed.), Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (2012), John Wiley & Sons Inc, Chichester, pp. 1-10.
  • Bowen, K, Friel, S, Ebi, K, Butler C.D., McMichael A.J. 2012, 'Governing for a Healthy Population: Towards an Understanding of How Decision-Making Will Determine Our Global Health in a Changing Climate', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 55-72.
  • Brijnath, B, McMichael, A & Butler, CD 2012, 'Don't forget health in sustainability talks', Nature, vol. 486, no. 7402, pp. 191-191.
  • Butler, C. D. & Dixon, J. 2012, 'Plentiful food? Nutritious Food?', in Rosin C, Stock P, Campbell H (ed.), Food Systems Failure: The Global Food Crisis and the Future of Agriculture, Earthscan Publications Ltd, London and New York, pp. 98-113.
  • Butler, C. D. & Soskolne, C. L. (2012). Ecosystems - Stable and Sustainable. In: Gellman, M. D. & Turner, J. R. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine. Springer.
  • Butler, C. D. (2012). Malnutrition. In: Juergensmeyer, M. & Anheier, H. K. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Global Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. pp 1095-1100.
  • Butler, C. D. (2012). Population Trends and the Environment. In: Friis, R. H. (ed.) Praeger Handbook of Environmental Health. Westport, Connecticut: Praegar. pp 215-231.
  • Butler, C. D., Powles, J. & McMichael, A. J. (2012). Human Disease: Effects of Economic Development. In: Hillier, J. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Butler, CD 2012, 'Infectious disease emergence and global change: thinking systemically in a shrinking world', Infectious Diseases of Poverty, vol. 1, no. 5, pp. 1-17.
  • Butler, CD 2012, 'Malnutrition', in Helmut K. Anheier and Mark Juergensmeyer (ed.), Encyclopedia of Global Studies, Sage Publications Inc, Los Angeles, pp. 1095-1100.
  • Butler, CD 2012, 'Population trends and the Environment', in R H Friss (ed.), Praeger Handbook of Environmental Health, Praeger Publishers, Santa Barbara USA, pp. 215-231.
  • Butler, CD 2012, 'Water, global change and health: Research gaps, research priorities', Human Evolution, vol. 27, no. 1-3, pp. 43-46.
  • Hanigan, I, Butler, C.D., Kokic, P, Hutchinson, M. 2012, 'Suicide and drought in New South Wales, Australia, 1970-2007', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 109, no. 35, pp. 13950-13955.
  • Kovats, R & Butler, CD 2012, 'Global health and environmental change: Linking research and policy', Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 44-50.
  • Kovats, R. S. & Butler, C. D. 2012. Global health and the global environment: linking research and policy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4, 44-50.
  • Hanna, E, McMichael, A & Butler, C 2011, 'Climate Change and Global Public Health: Impacts, Research and Actions', in Richard Parker & Marni Sommer (ed.), Routledge Handbook in Global Public Health, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York, pp. 133-144.
  • Friel, S, Butler, C & McMichael, A 2011, 'Climate change and health: Risks and Inequities', in Solomon Benatar and Gillian Brock (ed.), Global Health and Global Health Ethics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, pp. 198-209.
  • Butler, C & Weinstein, P 2011, 'Global Ecology, Global Health, Ecohealth', EcoHealth, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 253-254.
  • Butler, C, Yaryan, W, Woldenberg-Butler, S. Peoples DO. 2011, 'Environmental preservation and restoration.', in Dhammasami K, Dhammahaso, PH, Butthikaro, PS, Butler CD et al (ed.), Buddhist Virtues for Socio-Economic Development, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Thailand, pp. 13-15.
  • Butler, C. D. & Weinstein, P. 2011. Global ecology, global health, ecohealth. EcoHealth, 8(iii) 253-254.
  • Butler, C.D. 2011. Life on Eaarth McKibben, B. (2010) Eaarth: making a life on a tough new planet. New York, Henry Holt and Co. (book review). EcoHealth, 8, 244-246.
  • Butler, CD 2011, 'Towards a Buddhist approach for living in harmony with the oceans and its life', in Dhammasami K, Dhammahaso, PH, Dhammaratana T, Somaratna GA, Keown D, Butler CD & DO Peoples, Buddhist Virtues for Socio-Economic Development, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Thailand, pp. 441-449.
  • Dhammasami, K, Dhammahaso, P, Vutthikaro, P, Butler CD, et al, eds, 2011, Buddhist Virtues in Socio-Economic Development, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Thailand.
  • McMichael, AJ & Butler, CD 2011, 'Promoting global population health while constraining the environmental footprint', Annual Review of Public Health, vol. 32, pp. 179-197.
  • Butler, C.D. 2011 'A stormy future for population health in southeast Asia?', Lancet, 377, 885-886.
  • Butler, C.D. 2010, 'Lightening our carbon footprint: Economics, norms and doctors', Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 192, no. 9, pp. 485-486.
  • Butler, C.D. 2010, 'The Climate Crisis, Global Health, and the Medical Response', World Medical Journal, vol. 56, no. 2, pp. 56-58.
  • Butler, C.D. & McMichael, A.J. 2010, 'Population health: where demography, environment and equity converge', Journal of Public Health, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 157-158.
  • Butler, CD 2010, 'Limits to growth, the climate crisis and the medical response (Kasvun rajat, ilmastokriisi ja lääketieteen vastuu)', Finnish Medical Journal (Suomen Lääkärilehti), vol. 65, pp. 70-73.
  • Butler, C.D. 2010, 'The middle path to a greener future', In: Global Recovery: The Buddhist Perspective. K. Dhammasami, P.H. Dhammahaso, P.S. Vutthikaro and D.O. Peoples (editors). Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Bangkok, Thailand: pp 49-55.
  • Butler, C.D. & Harley, D 2010, 'Primary, secondary and tertiary effects of eco-climatic change: the medical response', Postgraduate Medical Journal, vol. 86, pp. 230-234.
  • Butler, C.D. 2010, 'Climate change, crop yields, and the future', United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition News (SCN News), vol. 38, pp. 18-25.
  • Bryant, L, Carver, L, Butler, C.D. et al 2009, 'Climate change and family planning: least-developed countries define the agenda', Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 87, pp. 852-857.
  • Butler, C.D. 2009, 'Food security in the Asia-Pacific: Malthus, limits and environmental challenges', Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 577-584.
  • Butler, C.D. 2009, 'Food security in the Asia-Pacific: climate change, phosphorus, ozone and other environmental challenges', Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 590-597.
  • Butler C.D. 2009, 'Without and within: science and the middle path'. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Universities 2:85-95.
  • Butler, C.D. 2008, 'Do we face a third revolution in human history? If so, how will public health respond?', Journal of Public Health, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 364-365.
  • Butler, C.D. 2008, 'Environmental Change, Injustice and Sustainability', Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 11-19.
  • Butler, C. D. 2008 'Sustainable health for all by the year 2100?' International Journal of Public Health, 53, 223-224.
  • McMichael, AJ, Powles, J, Butler, CD et al 2007, 'Food, livestock production, energy, climate change, and health', Lancet, The, vol. 370, no. 9594, pp. 1253-63.
  • Butler, C. D. & Friel, S. 2006 'Time to regenerate: ecosystems and health promotion'. Public Library of Science Medicine, 3, e394.
  • Butler, C. D. 2005 'Peering into the fog: ecologic change, human affairs and the future'. EcoHealth, 2, 17-21.
  • Butler, C.D. 2004, 'Human Carrying Capacity and Human Health', PLoS Medicine, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 192-194.
  • Butler, C.D., Chambers, R, Chopra, K et al 2003, 'Ecosystems and Human well-being', in Millenium Ecosystem Assessment (ed.), Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment, Island Press, Washington, pp. 71-81.
  • McMichael, A.J., Butler, C.D. & Folke, C. 2003, 'New Visions for Addressing Sustainability', Science, vol. 302, pp. 1919-20.
  • Butler, C. D. (2000) Inequality, global change and the sustainability of civilisation. Global Change and Human Health, 1, 156-172.
  • Butler, C.D. (1997) The consumption bomb. Medicine Conflict and Survival, 13, 209-218.
  • Butler, C. D. (1994) Overpopulation, overconsumption, and economics. The Lancet, 343, 582-584.
  • McMichael, A.J. & Butler, C.D. 2009, 'Climate change and human health: recognising the really inconvenient truth', Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 191, pp. 595-596.
  • Friel, S, Dangour, A, Garnett, T et al 2009. 'Health and Climate Change 4: Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: food and agriculture'. Lancet, 374: 2016-2025.
  • Wahlqvist, M, Keatinge, J, Butler, C.D. et al 2009, 'A Food in Health Security (FIHS) platform in the Asia-Pacific Region: the way forward', Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 688-702.
  • Butler, C.D. 2008, 'Human health and forests: an overview', in C. J. P. Colfer (ed.), Human Health and Forests: A Global Overview of Issues, Practice and Policy., Earthscan Publications Ltd, London, UK, pp. 13-33.
  • Woodruff, R, McMichael, AJ, Butler, CD et al 2006, 'Action on climate change: the health risks of procrastinating', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 567-571.
  • Butler, C.D. & Oluoch Kosura, W 2006, 'Linking future ecosystem services and future human well-being', Ecology and Society, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 30-45.
  • Nicholls, N, Butler, C & Hanigan, I 2006, 'Inter-annual rainfall variations and suicide in New South Wales, Australia, 1964-2001', International Journal of Biometeorology, vol. 50, pp. 139-143.
  • Butler, C, Oluoch-Kosura, W, Corvalan, C et al 2005, 'Human well-being across the scenarios', in Robert Watson, A.H.Zakri, Angela Cropper, Harold Mooney, Walter Reid (ed.), Ecosystems and human well-being: Scenarios, Island Press, Washington, US, pp. 389-400.
  • Agard, J, Alder, J, Bennett, E et al 2005, 'State of the art in simulating future changes in ecosystem services', in Robert Watson, A.H.Zakri, Angela Cropper, Harold Mooney, Walter Reid (eds.), Ecosystems and human well-being: Scenarios, Island Press, Washington, US, pp. 71-118.
  • Corvalan, C, Hales, S, Woodward, A et al 2005, 'Consequences and options for human health', in Doris Capistrano (ed.), Ecosystems and human well-being: multiscale assessments; findings of the Sub-global Assessments Working Group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Island Press, Washington DC, pp. 469-484.
  • McMichael, A & Butler, C 2005, 'Fish, health, and sustainability', American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 322-323.
  • Cork, S, Peterson, G, Petchsel-Held, G et al 2005, 'Four Scenarios', in Robert Watson, A.H.Zakri, Angela Cropper, Harold Mooney, Walter Reid (ed.), Ecosystems and human well-being: Scenarios, Island Press, Washington, US, pp. 223-296.
  • McMichael, A & Butler, C 2005, 'The effect of environmental change on food production, human nutrition and health', Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 14, no. CD Supplement, pp. 39-47.
  • Collignon, P, Wegener, H, Braam, P et al 2005, 'The routine use of antibiotics to promote animal growth does little to benefit protein undernutrition in the developing world', Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol. 41, pp. 1007-1013.
  • Butler, C 2005, 'Free trade in food: moral and physical hazards', in R E Hester and R M Harrison (ed.), Issues in Environmental Science and Technology Vol 21: Sustainability in Agriculture, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, pp. 103-125.
  • Butler, C, Corvalan, C & Koren, H 2005, 'Human health, well-being, and global ecological scenarios', Ecosystems, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 153-162.
  • Grootjans, J, Townsend, M, Butler, C.D. et al 2005, 'Listening', in Valeria A Brown, John Grootjans, Jan Ritchie, Mardie Townsend, Glenda Verrinder (ed.), Sustainability and Health: Supporting global ecological integrity in public health, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest NSW, Australia, pp. 39-79.
  • Patz, J, Daszak, P, Tabor, G et al 2004, 'Unhealthy Landscapes: Policy Recommendations on Land Use Change and Infectious Disease Emergence', Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 112, no. 10, pp. 1092-1098.
  • Hales, S, Butler, CD, Woodward, A et al 2004, 'Health Aspects of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment', EcoHealth, vol. 1, pp. 124-128.
  • McMichael, A, Butler, CD & Ahern, M 2003, 'Global environment', in Smith R, Beaglehole R, Woodward D, Drager N. (ed.), Global public goods for health: health economics and public health perspectives, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 94-116.
  • Butler, C 2003, 'The environment always matters', Development Bulletin (Canberra), vol. 62, pp. 51-55.
  • Butler, CD 2003, 'Conflict, resources, water and entrapment', Development Bulletin (Canberra), vol. 63, pp. 103-105.
  • Butler, CD 2001, 'Personal Perspective: Epidemiology, Australians and Global Environmental Change', Australian Epidemiological Association Annual Scientific Meeting, ed. Anne Kavanagh, Australasian Epidemiological Association, Melbourne, pp. 13-15.
  • Butler, CD, Douglas, R & McMichael, AJ 2001, 'Globalisation and Environmental Change: Implications for Health and Health Inequalities', in Eckersley R, Dixon J, Douglas R. (ed.), The Social Origins of Health and Well-being, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 34-50.
  • Butler, C.D. 2000, 'Entrapment: Global ecological and/or local demographic? Reflections upon reading the BMJ's six billion day special issue', Ecosystem Health, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 171-180.
  • Butler, CD 1998, 'Climate change, population health and the general practitioner', British Journal of General Practice, vol. 48, no. 436, pp. 1806-1807.