A labour of love

Before his death in September 2014, Emeritus Professor at the ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH) Tony McMichael had been looking forward to releasing the final revision of his manuscript for publication. His wife DR JUDITH HEALY describes how she took on the project.

I could not leave this important manuscript to languish, particularly as it represented the last in Tony’s trilogy on environment and health. After some hard work, I was very pleased Climate Change and the Health of Nations: Famines, Fevers, and the Fate of Populations, was published this year by Oxford University Press, New York.

In this book, Tony alerts us to the threat of global climate change to the health and survival of human populations. He tells us how human societies over thousands of years struggled to adapt to significant climate shifts that shaped their health and survival. He argues modern humans are not immune – human-induced and very rapid climate change threatens the life-support systems on which we depend.

Tony was an international authority on many public health and environmental issues and chaired the health impacts panel of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He illuminated the direct impacts of global warming and climate change upon humans – infectious diseases, droughts, floods, cyclones and bushfires, and the indirect effects – disruptions to food yields, freshwater supplies and disease vectors.