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Consuming the Planet


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Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine medicine presentation Manly, Sydney 2017 (see

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Consuming the Planet

  1. 1. Consuming the planet: reasons to be hopeful Adjunct Prof Colin D Butler Health Research Institute, University of Canberra National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health, Australian National University College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide BODHI, BODHI Australia @ColinDavdButler Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine conference Manly, NSW, September 2017
  2. 2. Propositions: Evolutionary forces have rewarded humans that are collectively ingenious but also aggressive, not only towards the planet, but to other people, usually in groups. The same evolutionary forces have generated and rewarded co- operation, on increasing scales. The challenge for civilisation is to reach a threshold of global co- operation before our options run out and triage strategies lead to a “fortress world” in which human well-being is scarce.
  3. 3. The environmentalist’s “paradox” Limits to growth and “peak health” Planetary boundaries, climate change and health Solutions Pioneers of ecological economics and planetary health A social vaccine, technology, lifestyle change, consciousness Butler, C. D. (2017). "Limits to growth, planetary boundaries, and planetary health " Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 25: 59-65. free link til 1/11/17 :
  4. 4. Raudsepp-Hearne C et al, BioScience 2010 animals – aquifers – ecosystems - forests – fossil fuels – freshwater – habitat – human habitat - phosphate – pollution sinks – rare earths – soil
  5. 5. Artist unidentified feasting on the planet .. so far, so good.. 5
  6. 6. hannes-bread-circuses#img-5
  7. 7. August 2017 MELTS-into-road-as-Kuwait-swelters-in-extreme-heat.html Kuwait registers record high temperature July 23, 2016
  8. 8. 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 0 250 500 750 1000 1250 1500 1750 2000 population(millions) global population: 0-2017 Limits to Growth (1972): 3.9 bn Planetary Boundaries (2009): 6.9 bn Data: Durand, UN, Manning “checks” Life expectancy also rising, now >70 years
  9. 9. Limits to growth and “peak health” Planetary boundaries
  10. 10. 10
  11. 11. Modelled world economy and environment • Many scenarios modelled from 1900 to 2100 • Most lead to “overshoot and collapse” Widely believed to forecast resource scarcity and collapse by year 2000 • leading to false claims that it was wrong The Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth (LTG) (Meadows et al) Best selling environmental book of 1970s
  12. 12. Turner, G. M. (2008). A comparison of The Limits to Growth with 30 years of reality. Global Environmental Change 18: 397– 411. Brijnath, B., McMichael, A. J. and Butler, C.D. (2012). Rio+20: Don’t forget health in sustainability talks. Nature 486: 191. Courtesy Graham Turner
  13. 13. Peak health? Turner, G. M. (2008). A comparison of The Limits to Growth with 30 years of reality. Global Environmental Change 18: 397– 411. Brijnath, B., McMichael, A. J. and Butler, C.D. (2012). Rio+20: Don’t forget health in sustainability talks. Nature 486: 191. Courtesy Graham Turner
  14. 14. Limits to Growth Cheap energy Pollution sinks Crop yield increase Biosphere integrity Complexity Tolerance & compassion } } } all limited Tainter, J. A. (1988). The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  15. 15. From forecasting and models (1970s) to abundant data and evidence .. not sufficiently acted on by policy makers, under- appreciated within academia 1. Persistently high energy price 2. Stagnant economic “growth” 3. Flattened “genuine progress” 4. Return of famines 5. Increasing civil wars 6. “Health for all” a dream 7. Retreat of civilization and strengthening “fortress world” Butler, Intl Soc Env Epidem, 2013
  16. 16. "Our proposed framework builds on and extends approaches based on limits-to-growth (Meadows et al. 1972, 2004)” Rockström, J., W. Steffen, K. et al, (2009). Planetary boundaries: exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecology and Society 14(2). Limits to Growth not cited in their better known papers: Rockström, J., W. Steffen, K. et al (2009). A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461: 472-475. Steffen, W., K. Richardson, et al (2015). Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet. Science 347(6223) 1259855. Butler, C. D. (2017). "Limits to growth, planetary boundaries, and planetary health " Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 25: 59-65. free link til 1/11/17 : 16
  17. 17. Data:, other 250 270 290 310 330 350 370 390 410 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000 CH4 CO2 (ppm)
  18. 18. Burden of Disease Year widely accepted now 2050? PRIMARY (e.g. heat, injury) SECONDARY (e.g. vector- borne diseases, air pollution, allergies) TERTIARY: “systemic multiplier”) famine, conflict, large-scale migration, economic collapse Butler, 2014
  19. 19. Primary Secondary Old location Hurricane Harvey related to climate change because: 1. Sea level rise 2. Warmer sea, at depth 2. Warmer atmosphere, more rain 3. Stalled storm – may be related to wavier Jetstream, Arctic ice melt(AFP Photo/Thomas B. Shea) way-prevent-explosion-texas- chemical-plant-222753824.html
  20. 20. Extensive US droughts (2012-2013, Ca 2013-14) – dryness and heat Data: FAO
  21. 21. A complex “tertiary” “eco-social” effect Drought – probably climate change related High population growth (though falling), aquifer depletion and dammed rivers in Turkey Loss of subsidies price shocks Outside factors Limited compassion and tolerance sWEupgTFIg4/WRx1BugbLqI/AAAAAAAAlRk/ugeNsz3VMmoPuOVJvJ76rYxkqsRQFzR_QCJoC/w2560- h1700/IMG_2017-01-31-114049.jpg ‫غالي‬ ‫أيجاره‬ ‫الفرح‬ ‫بيت‬ ‫الن‬ ‫سنين‬ ‫من‬ ‫ساكن‬ ‫الحزن‬ ‫ابيت‬ ‫انه‬..... SYRIA War Trauma, mental and physical Migration Loss of infrastructure, education and public health capacity also harms short and long- term health 21
  22. 22. sWEupgTFIg4/WRx1BugbLqI/AAAAAAAAlRk /ugeNsz3VMmoPuOVJvJ76rYxkqsRQFzR_QC JoC/w2560-h1700/IMG_2017-01-31- 114049.jpg ‫بيت‬ ‫الن‬ ‫سنين‬ ‫من‬ ‫ساكن‬ ‫الحزن‬ ‫ابيت‬ ‫انه‬ ‫غالي‬ ‫أيجاره‬ ‫الفرح‬.....
  23. 23. “The expense may be considerable, but the cost of doing nothing is incalculable” Health in the Greenhouse Editorial (Lancet, 1989)
  24. 24. Planetary boundaries silent on social consequences, including conflict
  25. 25. 25
  26. 26. Too soon to say? Massive increase in individual killing power 26
  27. 27. Too soon to say? Massive increase in individual killing power Violence against is out of control Clown fish vivid against bleached coral, 2016 oz/2016/apr/21/mourning-loomis-reef-the-heart-of-the-great- barrier-reefs-coral-bleaching-disaster The Tragic Tale of a Pangolin, the World’s Most Trafficked Animal showcase/the-tragic-tale-of-a-pangolin-the-worlds-most-trafficked- animal 9/Pangolin_and_her_b_3179348b.jpg 27
  28. 28. Climate change will 'lead to battles for food', says head of World Bank (April 2014) (Dr) Jim Yong Kim urges campaigners and scientists to work together to form a coherent plan in the fight against climate change
  29. 29. The far-sighted amongst you are anticipating broader global impacts on property, migration and political stability, as well as food and water security. … Mark Carney, 2015 (Governor of the Bank of England) Carney M. Breaking the tragedy of the horizon – climate change and financial stability. http://wwwbankofenglandcouk/publications/Pages/speeches/2015/844aspx
  30. 30. Double standards The power of corporations who shape what we think and are told
  31. 31. “We have 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population... we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security...” Kennan, 1948 31
  32. 32. unite-target-exxon-crimes/
  33. 33. “Exxon Mobil's response to climate change is consummate arrogance” Bill McKibben, 2014 Unprecedented wildfires are burning in the American west. What does big oil have to say about climate change? 35
  34. 34. a social vaccine technology a role for health workers Am I really hopeful? Solutions
  35. 35. Kenneth Boulding (1910-93) The Economics of Spaceship Earth “the only person who believes in perpetual economic growth is either a madman or an economist”
  36. 36. UN Human Rights Declaration; Eleanor Roosevelt, 1947 After WWII: hope humanity gained maturity from its then recent, immense suffering Also Doc Evatt 39From Mary Glendon: “A World Made New”
  37. 37. US President Harry S. Truman inaugural address 1949 continue unfaltering support to the UN we must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas
  38. 38. Materialism: necessary for well-being, not sufficient. Connection with other people and with nature. Excess materialism harms planet, also ourselves; consider Ebenezer Scrooge "Even the blind men’s dogs appeared to know him; .. when they saw (Scrooge) coming .. would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; .. wag their tails as though they said, “No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!”Scooge and Marley's ghost, Illustration: John Leech, 1843
  39. 39. ToxicityPlacebo Vaccine spectrumsocial vaccine spectrum Despair Sufficient bad news to stimulate action Sufficient good news to stimulate action
  40. 40. The accelerating energy transition
  41. 41. Floating solar farm, China The_floating_plant_was_built_on_top_of_a_lake_where_water_floode-a-63_1497024122044.jpg
  42. 42.
  43. 43. from fossil fuels, industry Jackson et al, Nature Climate Change, 2016 CO2 emissions (GtCO22yr-1)
  44. 44. Jackson et al, Nature Climate Change, 2016 but not from fossil fuels, industry; meat and dairy CO2 emissions (GtCO22yr-1)
  45. 45. Towards a solution: consciousness and behaviour Ditch the car and lose half a stone – The Telegraph, 2014 shows-public-transport-linked-to-lower-BMI.html /outback-towns-terrorised-by- plague-of-kangaroos/
  46. 46. Eroding the social license Maules Creek coal mine, NSW Australia 2014
  47. 47. Theodore Parker, a 19th century abolitionist who inspired Martin Luther King “the ARC of the MoRAl univeRse is long, but it bends towARds justiCe”