Tony McMichael’s last book, completed by Alistair Woodward and Cameron Muir, and published by Oxford University Press, was launched at the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University on Tuesday, 7 February 2017.
The message of this masterful book from the late Professor Tony McMichael is that in facing climate change, we must put aside our presumptions about humans dominating nature. History shows that human populations have always been vulnerable to changes in the climate, the direct and indirect health impacts are huge, and increasingly press upon us.
The panel discussion included Norman Swan (ABC Health Report), Alistair Woodward (University of Auckland), Kristie Ebi (University of Washington) and Richard Denniss (The Australia Institute).
“For decades Tony McMichael has been among the most insightful authorities on global health and environmental issues. In this book, he provides a guide to the linkages between climate change and human health through the ages. In stirring prose, McMichael carries the story from climate’s role in early human evolution to the current health impacts of a warming Earth. No book could be more timely.”
—J.R. McNeill, Georgetown University; author of Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-century World
“The seminal work of Tony McMichael has led to the growing recognition that human health is threatened by unsustainable global environmental trends. This book is essential reading for those concerned with the future of humanity in the Anthropocene epoch. It compellingly describes how human health will be undermined in the absence of decisive and prompt action but also articulates a visionary way forward through policies which can reduce the environmental footprint of humanity whilst safeguarding health and creating more resilient societies.”
—Professor Sir Andy Haines, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
“Just as ‘nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution’ (Dobzhansky), nothing in the health of human societies makes sense except in the light of material flows, energy flows, and climate. This magisterial work illuminates that framework, combining historical sweep, environmental, biomedical and epidemiologic insight, common sense, and great compassion. McMichael—one of our greatest health thinkers—has given us an indispensable book.”
—Howard Frumkin, Dean, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
“The greatest risks of climate change may well be those it poses to human health. Tony McMichael helps us face the future by understanding the past: this is an unprecedented investigation into the interactions between climate and human wellbeing over the entire life of our species. That McMichael’s colleagues have brought his final work to publication is fitting tribute to a lifetime of pioneering research and teaching in climate change and medical science.”
—Sir David King, UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change; Former UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser’.
“Tony McMichael was a master at mixing solid research with a good dose of inspiration. He told us that the Earth is no longer able to sustain our avid desire to consume. After reading this book you too may be inspired to become a visionary campaigner, as was Tony, to protect our health from unsustainable environmental trends.”
—Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization
Feature image: Malaria medication. Nigeria. Photo: Arne Hoel / World Bank