Environment and Climate

Australia’s energy transition has been hotly debated for a decade, and it doesn’t look set to cool anytime soon. Blackout: How is energy-rich Australia running out of electricity? offers readers the chance to be an informed participant in the debate. For more than a century, decisions about our electricity system have been left to the experts ...

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When Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird wrote The Secret Life of Plants (1975), many critics labelled their attempt to prove a spiritual link between people and plants as mystical gibberish, with a New York Times review chiding the authors for pandering to charlatans and amateur psychics ...

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Night Parrot by Penny Olsen is more than a biography of a bird that spent most of the twentieth century successfully hiding from people. It is a historical biography of human determination and obsession, and of the ways in which this bird has acted as a catalyst for transitions between those two psychological states ...

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Be afraid. ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’, the viral article published in New York magazine (2017) that was both fêted and scorned for its visceral bluntness, has grown out and up. A scary, 7,000-word portrait of a near-future Earth razed by climate change has matured into a deeper, darker treatise on ... 

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On 6 October 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report warning of the dangers of surpassing a 1.5° Celsius rise from pre-industrial levels in average global temperatures. They are many, and dire. To halt at 1.5°, carbon emissions need to fall by forty per cent globally by 2030 ...

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Billy Griffiths reviews 'Burning Planet' by Andrew C. Scott

Billy Griffiths
Tuesday, 27 November 2018

A few years ago I walked through a burning landscape with a young archaeobotanist, Xavier. We were in Arnhem Land, and the local Indigenous landowners had lit a low-intensity fire – a cool burn – to encourage new growth and reduce the fuel load around nearby settlements. The newly blackened landscape looked clean, even beautiful ...

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Afew years ago, while taking a tram through Melbourne’s inner-northern suburbs, I decided to visit the Northcote factory – an industrial laundry – where my father worked as a storeman between 1973 and 1982. Or rather, I thought I’d check to see whether the business was still there ...

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The eighteenth-century Swiss naturalist François Huber (1750–1831), who is still credited with much of what we know about bees, was almost completely blind when he made his acute ‘observations’ and significant discoveries. Huber studiously recorded the queen bee’s ‘nuptial flight’ ...

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Andrea Gaynor reviews 'The Allure of Fungi' by Alison Pouliot

Andrea Gaynor
Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Of all the forms of life historically divided into kingdoms, only two – plants and animals – have attracted large bands of human followers. Entire organisations and university departments are devoted to understanding, controlling, and conserving plants and animals, and our cultural domains ...

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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 ...

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