Planetary Epidemiology: Towards First Principles

Colin D. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of Review: To combine evolutionary principles of competition and co-operation with limits to growth models, generating six principles for a new sub-discipline, called “planetary epidemiology.” Suggestions are made for how to quantify four principles. Recent Findings: Climate change is one of a suite of threats increasingly being re-discovered by health workers as a major threat to civilization. Although “planetary health” is now in vogue, neither it nor its allied sub-disciplines have, as yet, had significant impact on epidemiology. Few if any theorists have sought to develop principles for Earth system human epidemiology, in its ecological, social, and technological milieu. Summary: The principles of planetary epidemiology described here can be used to stimulate applied, quantitative work to explore past, contemporary, and future population health, at scales from local to planetary, in order to promote enduring health. It is also proposed that global well-being will decline this century, without radical reform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-429
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent environmental health reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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