Friday, March 27, 2020

Climate Change and Global Health Introduction (2nd edition)


Climate Change and Global Health

Introduction to the second edition (DRAFT)

See more about this book here.
Colin D. Butler1
1. The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia; 2. Benevolent Organisation for Development, Health and Insight (BODHI). 
When the first edition of this book was published in 2014 I thought its categorisation of most of the physical manifestations and health effects of climate change as “primary”, “secondary” and “tertiary” was original. (I classed mental health effects as “cross-cutting” arguing, for example, that a heat wave – a primary event - could trigger anger, while a forest fire – a secondary event – could lead to post traumatic stress, as could war, a tertiary event.) In 2014, before the covid-19 pandemic, I worried that some readers would be especially puzzled by the word “tertiary”. While the key message I hoped to convey by this term was that the indirect, cascading risks to health, arising from climate change and other aspects of “planetary overload” (McMichael, 1993) have the potential to greatly outweigh the more obvious effects, such as from heatwaves and malaria at a higher altitude, I knew that many people thought this was far-fetched.
The covid-19 pandemic did far more than overwhelm health services in many countries. It also crippled industries (e.g. tourism, aviation), led to a global recession, skittled savings and generated massive unemployment. If there is anything “good” to arise from this intense suffering it may be that the prospect of tertiary events will no longer be viewed as ridiculously speculative, including by health workers in high-income settings. The risks posed by the indirect social and economic effects of climate change and other aspects of “planetary health” are immense (more on planetary health later).
The worst effects of covid-19 will pass, as herd immunity builds and (hopefully) vaccines and treatments evolve. Climate change, however, will have effects that will persist for many generations. Severe climate change, which unfortunately looks more realistic with every year, clearly poses an existential risk to civilisation, although appreciation of this in the health literature declined, as a proportion of its total volume, since the dawn of the relevant literature (1989-1993) (Butler, 2018).
In 2018, I undertook a major review of the climate change and health literature, which involved scanning and in some cases reading over 2,000 journal articles published between 1989 and 2013. In this process I encountered two papers (Haines et al., 1993, Haines and Parry, 1993) published in 1993 (one of which I had first read in 1993 when I was working as a country doctor). Four authors contributed, of whom three were involved in the first edition of this book: Andy Haines, Tony McMichael and Paul Epstein, with Martin Parry, then director at the Environmental Change Unit at the University of Oxford, UK as the fourth. These papers each used the “primary”, “secondary” and “tertiary” framework. One of them, originally read at the Royal Society of Medicine in 1992, stated “direct effects of a rise in temperature (particularly increases in the frequency and intensity of heatwaves) may include deaths from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease among the elderly. Indirect effects are secondary, such as changes in vector-borne diseases or crop production, and tertiary, such as the social and economic impacts of environmental refugees and conflict over fresh water supplies” (Haines and Parry, 1993).
I thus realised I had unconsciously plagiarised the terms. I wrote to Andy to apologise (Paul and Tony, sadly, had already died). However, between 1993 and 2010 (Butler and Harley, 2010) the terms appear to have disappeared in the context of climate change and health, although an edited book (McMichael et al., 1996) and an IPCC chapter (Confalonieri et al., 2007) hinted at the third category of effects. Our paper in 2005 (published in an ecology journal) expanded the framework by adding a fourth scale of consequences which we called “global systems failure” (Butler et al., 2005). (It used other words for primary, secondary and tertiary, but the concepts were similar). I later self-censored this fourth concept, because, for over a decade, I felt that it was too controversial for most reviewers and editors to accept, especially in health circles. This second edition, however, includes a chapter on collapse in the tertiary category.  
Climate change and planetary health
The most succinct definition of planetary health is the “health of civilization and the state of the natural systems on which it depends” (Whitmee et al., 2015). This definition is clearly related to the scope of this book, and some readers may wonder if the book’s title should have been altered to reflect this. There are several reasons the book’s title remains unchanged. One is to reflect the substantial overlap of authors and subjects with the first edition. Another is that climate change is an important component of planetary health; a title that included both terms (e.g. “Climate change and planetary health”) would involve redundancies. But, beyond that, global health (although, like planetary health, of rather recent coinage and uncertain shelf life) does not fully overlap with planetary health. Chapter x, the updated version of the titular chapter from the first edition, explores this topic in more detail, and is now called “climate change, global health and planetary health”.
Otherwise, the book has some different authors and some additional chapters, with the introductory section especially expanded. My sincere thanks are extended to both new and returning authors. I apologise for contributing to so many chapters. This largely reflects the difficulty of recruiting authors; in this era of lingering neoliberalism the topic remains sadly under-funded, and the effort of publishing chapters sadly under-appreciated. However, as we drift, seemingly helplessly, towards a “four degree world” (or worse) there is a greater appreciation of the importance of this topic among younger people, and my hope is that this book will be a valuable resource, for the young, for their teachers, and for the young at heart and for all care about social and environmental justice on the only planet that will have us.


Butler, C. D. 2018. Climate change, health and existential risks to civilization: a comprehensive review (1989-2013). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15, 2266, doi: 10.3390/ijerph15102266
Butler, C. D., Corvalan, C. F. & Koren, H. S. 2005. Human health, well-being and global ecological scenarios. Ecosystems, 8, 153-162, doi:.
Butler, C. D. & Harley, D. 2010. The climate crisis, global health, and the medical response Postgraduate Medical Journal, 86, 230-234, doi: 10.1136/pgmj.2009.082727.
Confalonieri, U., Menne, B., Akhtar, R., et al. 2007. Human health. In: Parry, M. L., Canziani, O. F., Palutikof, J. P., et al. (eds.) Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, UK,: Cambridge University Press.
Haines, A., Epstein, P. R. & McMichael, A. J. 1993. Global health watch: monitoring impacts of environmental change. Lancet, 342, 1464-1469, doi:.
Haines, A. & Parry, M. L. 1993. Climate change and human health. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 86, 707-711, doi:.
McMichael, A. J. 1993. Planetary Overload. Global Environmental Change and the Health of the Human Species, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
McMichael, A. J., Haines, A., Slooff, R., et al. (eds.) 1996. Climate Change and Human Health, Geneva: World Health Organization.
Whitmee, S., Haines, A., Beyrer, C., et al. 2015. Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on planetary health. The Lancet, 386, 1973–2028, doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60901-1.

Friday, January 3, 2020

It’s time, again

The Australian crisis is not only from fires and a largely missing Federal leadership, dazzled by events beyond their comprehension. The vacuum that Scott Morrison, Sussan Ley and others have left has been partially filled by fire chiefs, the Australian Defence Force, state premiers, mayors and progressive and courageous media, including the ABC. The crisis has been fuelled by a relentless decline in reliable rain over previously productive farmland, amplified by increasingly savage heatwaves that repeatedly assault our nation in summer and “warmwaves” that now occur in autumn, spring and even what used to be called winter. Australian climate change is also on display through intense floods, including last summer when hundreds of thousands of cattle drowned in northern Queensland, along with uncounted wildlife. Our drought, dust storms, fish kills and water wars are now in overdrive, wrought through the terror, pain and unbearable suffering (including to native animals) of fire and smoke. A former Australian National University (ANU) colleague, Gemma Carey, reflecting on the smoke in Canberra that she and others have endured for weeks, recently wrote “locked in my house, waiting for a high-grade pollution mask to arrive by post, I press my nose up against the glass doors, looking at where my front fence should be. “So this is what it’s like to have a baby at the end of the world.” The smoke in Canberra is now so bad that it is hindering the function of some of its MRI machines. Due to the smoke, and calling conditions "unprecedented", the ANU has extended its summer break, at least until January 7.
The ideological wars so obvious in the US risk further combustion here. Our conservative press and politicians, as yet, show few signs of contrition. Instead of fessing up, Michael McCormack equated manure self-combustion with climate change as a fire risk multiplier, in so doing revealing scientific illiteracy. Unlike extreme weather events, there is no evidence suggesting that the risk of manure self-combustion is changing. But under pressure in his brief role as acting prime minister McCormack did concede the need for more action by the Australian government on climate change, a position not yet endorsed by Scott Morrison, or even, in a meaningful way, by Anthony Albanese. However, in NSW the Young Liberals and environment minister Matt Kean have shown signs of awakening, as did the Narrabri council, who last week, pulled their support for an expansion of the Whitehaven coal mine, recognising that the company had exaggerated its job creation potential.
The Labor party vigorously supports fossil fuel exports, even the insane Adani coal mine, which not only fuels more global heating but adds to the crisis by its use and contamination of an estimated 270 billion litres of precious groundwater, over its lifetime. On return from Hawaii, Scott Morrison, increasingly lampooned for his parliamentary adoration of coal (in 2017), backpeddled on McCormack’s tentative challenge to Murdocracy, the real opposition to a progressive Australia. (Even though Murdoch is reported as claiming that “there are no climate change deniers around News Corp”). Morrison is increasingly recognised as out of his depth as our national captain, struggling to comprehend that this is a crisis, not an encore of a vague memory of a smoky sky once seen from a southern Sydney beach. 
The need for a Bob Hawke inspired "Accord" on environmental management, including climate change
It would be unreasonable to expect Morrison could connect with us in the way of a Bob Hawke, but all Australian politicians (and thinktanks) would benefit by inhaling sufficient of Hawke’s genius to promote a new Accord. This could develop a multi-partisan approach that improves Australia’s prevention of a growing civilizational crisis, hinted at by Angela Merkel in her 2020 New Year speech and clearly recognised by David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg.
If that barrier is too hard, could we invoke Gough Whitlam’s slogan of “It’s Time” to win landslide Australian support for civilisation-progressing policies, and thus amend for our wrecking behaviour at a series of climate change meetings? Might Malcolm Turnbull, increasingly showing his true climate colours, form his own party and return to power, this time liberated from those who cling to the myths of the 20th century, including of endless economic growth?
In 2010 I met a newly appointed lecturer in psychology at the ANU, in which I mentioned my concerns about climate change. She called it “existential angst”. When I asked "would you respond similarly to a Jew experiencing Kristallnacht?" she walked away.
I don’t know if climate change deniers are starting to consider their position; there seem very few repenters who are or were prominent (globally as well as in Australia). At least one Liberal voter has changed course - are there millions more? 
In Europe, the influence of climate change deniers and procrastinators, from Lord Monkton to Bjorn Lomborg, has faded. The current Australian crisis is likely to reduce the number of Australian climate change agnostics, and this will further weaken the power of home-grown denialists of the phenomenon my late boss, Tony McMichael, called “planetary overload”. There may even soon be sufficient support among Australians for a Hawke-like Accord, from which a job-enhancing, climate change-slowing Australian consensus will emerge. That will require brilliant leadership, but we may be on the cusp.

Professor Colin Butler was the first, and so far the only, Australian IPCC contributor to have been arrested for civil disobedience, seeking to draw attention to the immorality of Australian fossil fuel exports. This was at the Maules Creek coal mine, NSW, in 2014.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Global Environmental Outlook 6: a critique of its opening sentence

The 6th Global Environmental Outlook has been released. This is the most important written product of the United Nations Environment Programme, appearing approximately at 5 year intervals.

The opening sentence of the executive summary of the first chapter reads:

"Providing a decent life and well-being for nearly 10 billion people by 2050, without 
further compromising the ecological limits of our planet and its benefitsis one of the most serious challenges and responsibilities humanity has ever faced.” 

The part I have highlighted in pink is powerful.

However, the part in red is at best confusing and at worst logically false, and either way it conveys (no doubt unintentionally) complacency.

What do the authors mean by "compromising"?  One definition I found was "expediently accepting standards that are lower than is desirable"; e.g. we were not prepared to compromise on safety."

A possible alternative to "compromising" (in this sentence) is "approaching", or "transgressing". But the idea that human activities will not further (or additionally) approach - or come closer to - the ecological limits is sadly misconceived. Ongoing damage to natural capital is inevitable, given that population is rising and the poor have a lot of catching up to do in terms of per capita resource consumption. Even if we do not collectively breach limits, we will certainly come closer to them.

Alternatively, but more far-fetched, is the idea that the authors intend to convey that humans might alter the limits. Technically, if humans had far greater knowledge and technological capacity, they might be able to do this, such as changing the planetary boundaries - but most people rightly would think that is hubris, especially by 2050.

After working on this blog (for well over an hour!) I think the authors probably intended "compromising" to mean "approaching" or "transgressing". 

Another weakness of this opening sentence is that it does not mention the word "social". There are also social limits, such as were reached, only yesterday, when  the Sudanese President was overthrown, in part because of increasing civil unrest due to reduced prosperity in part due to falling oil revenues - even though, officially, per person income in Sudan is suppose to be increasing.

So, the sentence would be clearer if written as:  "Providing a decent life and well-being for nearly 10 billion people by 2100, without pushing demands on ecological and social capacity beyond irreversible thresholds, thus triggering immense harm to human health and well-being on a planetary scale, is an immensely difficult challenge.” (Key changes italicised).

Note that I changed 2050 to 2100. It will be difficult to avoid these thresholds, on a global scale, by 2050, but perhaps not "immensely" so. It is possible that the buffers that separate us from those limits are wider than we currently appreciate, even though an increasing number of cases of "regional overload" are occurring, such as those described in the Global Report on Food Crises 2019. By 2050 we will definitely come closer to these limits, but we may nor critically exceed them - if we are lucky and work hard. But the challenge to avoid such limits by 2100, even if we greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will be much harder, as climate change is but one aspect of the many challenges that civilization faces.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

My encounters with philanthrocapitalism


My first paper on philanthrocapitalism and planetary health has recently been published (abstract below), and I am now  working on an offshoot, mainly about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and its approach to malaria, polio and Ebola, aiming for the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. This evolving paper will also discuss complexity theory and how the focus of the Gates Foundation on "vertical" health programmes may be necessary but is far from sufficient. This paper will be adapted from a section of about 1,500 words, cut from the original paper, which is pretty long, even without it.

Most of the section below (A-E) was also cut from the published paper, mainly because one of the journal's anonymous reviewers took offense to it (and much else!) It has today been modified with two endnotes.

My own encounters with philanthrocapitalism

I have had several encounters (or near-encounters) with philanthrocapitalism, especially the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, its richest and most powerful variant. 

A. In 2015 I attended the World Congress of Public Health, held in India, a “developing” country. The keynote speaker in the opening session was an economist, employed by the BMGF national office. I remember being frustrated by the speaker’s conventional, non-ecological approach; a feeling that set the tone for a disappointing meeting. I recall reflecting that the speaker’s prominence was unsurprising, given the extent to which the BMGF had underwritten the meeting. But I did not then know that, in 2005, Bill Gates had been a keynote speaker at the 58th World Health Assembly, the annual showcase of the World Health Organization (WHO). Gates’ invitation, an unprecedented honor for a non-head of state, had, soon after, prompted the Peoples’ Health Movement to call for the Microsoft Corporation be declared an honorary ‘member country’ of WHO. See endnotes (1) and (2).

B. Someone I know was contracted by the BMGF to work in China. A condition of their employment was a clause preventing publication of any data conflicting with that officially approved by the Chinese government. 

C. A malariologist I know recently wrote to me to the effect that much of what he (and I) were taught by professors of malariology is now disregarded, though not due to improved evidence. 

D. Earlier, I collaborated on a paper indirectly critical of the BMGF’s claim to be able to eradicate malaria. The paper was eventually withdrawn, in order to not place at risk the funding of an institution which one of my co-authors was then directing.

E. The BMGF also funds thinktanks, including the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). In 2005 I was an invited speaker to an IFPRI meeting. My subsequent paper was rejected, without external review. I thought then that the probable reason, though unstated, was that my paper was too critical of neoliberalism (market preferring solutions).


My paper is also critical of the Wellcome Trust, mainly for its investment in tax havens and for its view that it is acceptable to invest in fossil fuels (see for example, which states in part: 

"In 2015 more than 1000 doctors and other health professionals signed a letter calling on the Wellcome Trust to stop investing in shares in coal, oil, and gas, but it refused. The charity has a massive investment portfolio which was then worth £18bn. The letter argued that not divesting legitimised an industry that had made no pledges to act on climate change.

A Wellcome spokesperson said, “The range of individuals and organisations working to improve human health is wide, and it would be surprising if this community did not contain a diversity of opinion about how best to reduce carbon emissions. The Wellcome Trust believes that engagement with the small number of energy companies in which we invest gives us the best opportunity to contribute to change, but we understand and respect the views of those who disagree.” 

Points F and G were not in the original draft:

F. I have been involved in two Wellcome Trust grant applications, one of which I led, and one job application. My personal experience with the Wellcome Trust has always been positive. Apart from its investment policy I still have great admiration for their achievements, and unlike the BMGF they have at least partly awoken to the risk to global health from failing "planetary health." 

G. I have never applied to the Gates Foundation for funds, but will send them my paper, and an exploratory letter, on behalf of Health-Earth


Focusing on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) as a case study, this paper explores the relationship between philanthrocapitalism, economic history, and global and planetary health. The Wellcome Trust is also briefly discussed, chiefly in the context of planetary health. The paper argues that in the last 45 years there has been an increased preference for market-based approaches, often called neoliberalism, particularly in the U.S. and its allies. This has generated greater inequality in many high-income settings and weakened the norm of taxation. This has provided a setting in which philanthrocapitalism has flourished, including the BMGF. The latter has in turn become an important actor for global health, partially balancing the adverse consequences of neoliberalism. Planetary health is here defined as the interaction between global health and global environmental change, including to the climate and other elements of the Earth System. Although the Wellcome Trust has recently made funds available for ecological health research, it continues to invest in fossil fuels. The Gates Foundation provide no or minimal grants for ecological or planetary health but appear to have recently substantially divested from fossil fuels, for unclear reasons. The paper concludes that these large philanthrocapitalist organizations partly compensate for the decline in attention to global health driven by market-preferring solutions, but remain insufficiently proactive in the face of the great dangers associated with declining planetary health. 

1. The original link to this ( is currently invalid, but it is cited in Gavin Mooney's book "The Health of Nations: Towards a New Political Economy" (Zed Books, 2012).

2. A press statement by the Peoples' Health Movement in 2014 complained not only that Bill Gates had been invited to address WHO in 2005, but that this high honour was extended to he or his wife twice more. It reads, in part, "It is unacceptable that the WHO, supposedly governed by sovereign nation states, should countenance that at its annual global conference, the keynote address would be delivered thrice in ten years by individuals from the same private organization, and from the same family.

The BMGF is the second largest funder of the WHO. It has come to occupy this place over the past two decades, because of the freeze on assessed contributions by member states. Currently, 80% of WHO’s finances come from voluntary contributions (including from countries and from private sources) and BMGF’s funding is ‘tied’ to projects that the foundation has an interest in funding.

BMGF’s munificence towards the WHO as well as towards many other global health causes is well known. Less well known is the Foundation’s investment policies that are clearly in conflict with global health."

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Tasmanian fires, climate change, and reflections on petitions

The catastrophe of fires and climate change in Tasmania

Richard Flanagan is probably the most famous living Tasmanian, known for his 2014 Booker Prize  and his many essays critical of the abuse of power. He was once called “a traitor to Tasmania” in the Tasmanian parliament, and later told by the then premier that he and his writing were “not welcome in the New Tasmania” after he published an essay critical of the culture of the state Labor government of the day. 

Yesterday (Feb 5, 2019), Richard published a typically eloquent essay; this time about climate change, government apathy (his sub-title was "those in power laugh at us", referring especially to the current Australian prime minister's highly visible support for coal) and, the terrifying, health-damaging fires in Tasmania, which for the third time in six years (2013, 2016, 2019)  are devastating parts of the state. The current one seems the worst, and its health impact will be greatly magnified by smoke inhalation, in an island which already has a high rate of asthma, especially in indigenous children.

My petition and its complications (updated Feb 7)

A few days before Richard's essay was published I started a petition. This calls for the Tasmanian government, led by Liberal premier Will Hodgman, to play a more active role in educating the Tasmanian people about climate change. Although it is now clear, including in Tasmania, that the climate has changed (mainly due to greenhouse gas forcing), there is still time to reduce even worse consequences. In the three decades I have been researching climate change, mainstream politicians, whether socially conservative or left wing, have largely missed the point. Overwhelmingly, they have been indifferent to the arguments made by the environmental movement that adequate environmental resources are necessary for human well-being. We are steadily eroding our environmental buffer, in a process I call "environmental brinkmanship".

I have signed petitions before, but never initiated one. I used a web platform called "". According to their FAQs I was supposed to be notified via email once my petition became "promotable", presumably when it reached a threshold (as far as I can tell, the number is not stated on their website, but an email received Feb 7 advised that the number was 500 - however, when I discovered they were using my petition as a vehicle to raise money for themselves and their allies the number who signed was less than 300). Even now, (i.e. Feb 7) I have not received such notification, and the number who have signed exceeds 500.

When I accidentally discovered that people who signed this petition were being asked for money I felt deeply embarrassed. I now realise, after reading the fine print, that I could have asked for this fund raising option to be disabled, but not by ticking a box (which would have alerted me to its possibility) but instead by writing to their help section. I believe the box option would be more ethical.

I asked if they could contact the donors to offer a refund, but they declined, though they stated that they will make a refund if donors contact them. They suggested that I do this by posting an update. I will also try to contact some of the people who gave money; I think I have identified some by capturing their names, and in some cases facebook pics, as they flash past. I hope this update might reach some of them. is a profit-seeking company, and they provided a service to me for which I did not pay. But if they made this donation feature more transparent many would still agree; would still make money.

I am trying to find out what happens to these funds if the donated sum cannot be returned. At the moment, it seems that the funds raised can only be spent on advertising the petition (i.e. all the donated funds go to the company and its allies with whom ads can be placed). If this is correct then I am in a "lose lose" position. That is, I either spend the money on advertising, or the money is lost (and presumably goes to - I have written to ask them, and will update this blog if I learn more). Either way, I feel the donors have been ripped off and I sincerely apologise.


I have long felt ambivalent about petitions, now I feel distinctly uncomfortable, at least for those on This article also expresses concern, while this one sheds more light on their tactics and profitability. presents itself as an ethical business, and I don't mind if they make a profit. But I don't like the way they currently operate. 

If you have read this far, thank you. Please consider signing the petition, but please do not make a donation unless you want to give money to If you want to use your hard earned money to bring about change in Tasmania (and don't have time to directly contact a politician or use another method that takes time) then you might consider donating to an independent climate change lobby group such as the Climate Council. Or, you could donate to a charity such as the Red Cross that helps people harmed by fires and other emergencies (including in Tasmania), and which is also aware of how climate change is increasing the risks of disasters.

You might also reflect on this plea by firefighters for us all to take climate change far more seriously. It says, in part:
“Having just spent a majority of January supporting firefighting operations in Tasmania and New South Wales, I have seen the exhaustion that firefighters power through to battle increasingly uncontrollable fires, and the fear, anxiety and loss that communities suffer,” he said.

Thank you.

Friday, February 1, 2019

An appeal to the Tasmanian government to better recognise the links between fire and climate change

Tasmania is experiencing terrifying, health-damaging fires for the third time in six years (2013, 2016, 2019). The nature and risk of fires has changed in many countries, due to climate change; in Australia's island state the climate is hotter, drier and there is more dry lightning. The Tasmanian Fire Service website is excellent, yet climate change is barely mentioned. It needs to be a major subject heading, to help educate an uncertain public. The absence of climate change as a prominent theme on this site may reflect ambivalence or even attempted suppression of this issue by the Tasmanian government. This is not good enough. Please help us convince the the Tasmanian government to be part of the solution, not add to the problem.

Some politicians claim that making the link between climate change and tragedy is insensitive, but keeping silent on this issue would be like a doctor ignoring the smoking behaviour of a patient who just had a heart attack.

Climate change also threatens to greatly harm the summer tourism industry in Tasmania. Tasmania, which is already a world leader on carbon neutral electricity, must awaken to the many risks caused by climate change and, led by its democratically elected government, do what it can to reduce those risks.

Please sign and circulate the petition, and also write directly to Premier Will Hodgman at


It was my experience of being awoken by the smell of smoke, in the Tasmanian forest, in the heatwave of January 2103, which made me decide to be arrested for civil disobedience about the collective failure of Australians to do enough to slow climate change. In 2014 I became the first (and so far only) Australian contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to have been arrested for civil disobedience on this issue, and the first (and, also, so far only) contributor to the health chapter of the IPCC.

Unfortunately, mainstream media almost completely ignored this at the time, with one exception.