Lauren Rickards reviews 'Sunburnt Country: The history and future of climate change in Australia' by Joëlle Gergis

Lauren Rickards reviews 'Sunburnt Country: The history and future of climate change in Australia' by Joëlle Gergis

Sunburnt Country: The history and future of climate change in Australia

by Joëlle Gergis

Melbourne University Press, $34.99 pb, 320 pp, 9780522871548

Sunburnt Country is a fascinating, timely, uneven book. Consisting of forty-one short chapters, it is written by climate scientist Joëlle Gergis, who explores the matter of climate change through an unusual mix of genres: colonial history, popular science, scientific autobiography, and advocacy. The first two of these dominate the self-representations of the book. In particular, it is framed as filling a gap in our (Western) understanding of the Australian continent’s climate history by reconstructing earlier settler colonial climates. Going beyond the official climate records that commenced around 1900, the book reports on innovative Australian research that has combed through settler diaries and other written records for climate-relevant information.

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Published in October 2018, no. 405
Lauren Rickards

Lauren Rickards

Lauren Rickards researches and teaches on the social dimensions of climate change and the Anthropocene at RMIT University.

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