Climate Change

The planet is alive, says Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh, and only for the last three centuries have we forgotten that. This is because humans are suffering from ‘The Great Derangement’, a disturbing condition which this book analyses with wisdom and grace. Ghosh foresees that future citizens of a world transformed by climate change will look back at our time and perceive that ‘most forms of art and literature were drawn into the modes of concealment that prevented people from recognising the realities of their plight’ ...

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Although the mantra ‘Don’t panic, but get prepared’ guides Jane Rawson and James Whitmore’s handbook for Surviving and Living with Climate Change, they certainly do not paint a pretty picture of climate-change Australia. The scenarios are alarming: Australia will be hotter, drier in some parts, wetter in others, with more frequent bushfires, floods, a ...

Let’s begin, somewhere around 4,500 bce, in a small patch of soil on the south-west coast of Western Australia. An ovule and some pollen combine on the crest of a ridge overlooking the sea, and a plant begins to grow. It’s a little thing with juvenile leaves which will become a faint ...

This is an important and timely book – another gift to public understanding by Australian scientist and author Tim Flannery. Ten years ago he wrote The Weather Makers (2005), one of a handful of books which, together with Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth (2006), brought the climate crisis to a world audience. Now in Atmosphere of Hope, F ...

To complement the essays, commentaries, reviews, and photographic essay in this issue, we asked a group of leading environmentalists, scientists, commentators, and writers what they regard as the most urgent action needed for environmental reform.

Wayne Bergmann

There is an urgent need for widespread recognition of the interrelationship between the ...

Writing an effective book on climate change is a challenge as diabolicalas it is important. The complexity of the science, economics, and politics is daunting. How to extract the diamonds lurking in the rough of the International Panel on Climate Change reports? How to balance the good cop, dishing out hope, with the bad, lashing the reader with honest accounts of p ...

This clear and cogent book is an important wake-up call. It should not need saying that it is impossible for human populations and economies to grow without limit on a finite planet, but that delusion is widespread. This book is a reminder of the inconvenient truth that should be informing our leaders ...

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Forty years ago next Christmas, a cyclone devastated Australia’s northernmost city, Darwin. It is a disaster still clear in the living memory of most Australians over fifty, but it also belongs to the past, the time before we had become aware of climate change. At the time, it was the kind of natural disaster to be expected in summer in the Top End, even if its festive timing appeared ominous in some mysterious way. There have been government reports, memoirs, books, and documentaries about Cyclone Tracy. Forty years appears long enough for an event to become history, but the cyclone has not yet become integrated into a significant national narrative.

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When the world changes faster than species can adapt, many fall out,’ writes Elizabeth Kolbert towards the end of her study on the mounting wave of extinction we are living through – and causing. The list of species dispatched by humans, directly or indirectly, is growing every day, yet Kolbert isn’t merely ringing alarm bells or giving a dour post-mortem. As the book’s subtitle suggests, she is interested in the history of extinction itself, from the very concept (which isn’t nearly as old as you might think) to its most dramatic examples to date.

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With resource shortages looming and climate change a topic of intense discussion, it is becoming increasingly important for people to find ways to reduce their day-to-day consumption and carbon footprint. Greg Foyster’s Changing Gears seeks to explore the question of how to do so through the author’s own interesting, and no doubt exhausting, cross-country journey toward a greener way of living. Setting out to cycle from Melbourne to Cairns via Tasmania, which makes more sense in context, Foyster and his partner used the journey to force themselves into the sparse life of bicycle travellers, while visiting and interviewing a number of prominent experts and practitioners of conservation, green living, and social dynamics.

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