Environment and Climate

In the United States, a battle is raging between two factions of environmental advocates and ecologists. On one side, those who associate themselves with the tradition of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold argue for the need to expand protected areas and to reduce the human presence. The other side has embraced the neo-liberal agenda and partnere ...

David Suzuki is well known in this country. Since he was brought to Australia by the Commission for the Future nearly thirty years ago, he has been back for many festivals and conferences. Truly a man of many parts, he was a distinguished geneticist and a leading professor in the field when it emerged as a separate discipline within the biological sciences. As ...

Danielle Clode reviews 'Cave' by Ralph Crane and Lisa Fletcher

Danielle Clode
Monday, 28 September 2015

What is it about caves? An irresistibly enchanting hidey-hole to any small child and yet the birthplace of our deepest fears. Dragons, narguns, goblins, and gorgons are all born of caves, and yet who can go past an opening in the rock without peeking in? We cannot resist exploring this underworld of darkness which seems to provide safety from the perils outside, whi ...

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 ...

‘Pathetically inadequate’ was probably the most frequent description of the government’s voluntary emissions proposal for the United Nations Climate Change Conference; the description fits their ...

'The Forest at the Edge of Time' by Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay
Thursday, 24 September 2015

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 ...

Tom Griffiths reviews 'Atmosphere of Hope' by Tim Flannery

Tom Griffiths
Thursday, 24 September 2015

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 ...

Environmentalists, scientists, and commentators on environmental reform

Wayne Bergmann et al.
Thursday, 24 September 2015

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 ...

Weather and climate are fascinating enigmas, their allure enhanced by their intangibility; shadows hovering in the background and yet profoundly shaping human history. Climate is always both present and absent, and its importance unnoticed.

Geoffrey Blainey observed more than forty years ago that climate was a neglected player in Australian history. Perhaps ...

Billy Griffiths reviews 'Running Out?' by Ruth A. Morgan

Billy Griffiths
Thursday, 28 May 2015

Water courses through the history of Western Australia. When historian Ruth A. Morgan began writing Running Out?: Water in Western Australia in 2007, the state was in the grip of drought, climate change was at the fore of public debate, and Perth’s first desalination plant was a year old. The 2005 state election had hinged on the ‘Kimberley–Perth canal ...