Environment and Climate

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 ...

Since the loss of Lake Pedder, the Apple Isle has been the site of some of Australia’s most famous environmental battles: Franklin River, Farmhouse Creek, Wesley Vale, Styx Valley. In the Tamar Valley near Launceston, tensions continue to simmer over the future of the Gunns Pulp Mill – even in the wake of the collapse of its original proponent, Gunns Ltd, in Sep ...

Danielle Clode: 'Seeing the wood for the trees'

Danielle Clode
Monday, 27 October 2014

Many years ago, after working for a while in Europe, we returned to Australia via America. We picked up a car in Atlanta and drove through sprawling cities, alarming slums, and abandoned downtowns. Across Mississippi and the broad, reassuring openness of Texas, to Arizona and the Grand Canyon, we passed through the alien electrics of Las Vegas, down into Death Valle ...

Frank Bongiorno reviews 'The Bush'

Frank Bongiorno
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Late in 1986, the Australian Bicentennial Authority took sixty celebrities off to Uluru to make the television advertisement containing the jingle ‘Celebration of a Nation’. Just as the shoot finished, a heavy storm broke, prompting the stars to run for cover. ‘Oh, darling,’ cried Jeanne Little, a popular television personality at the time. ‘The real Austr ...

David Donaldson reviews 'Power Failure'

David Donaldson
Monday, 25 August 2014

Speaking about the process of painstakingly researching the ‘terrible mistakes’ made on climate policy by the Rudd and Gillard governments over the six years of their existence, Philip Chubb told an audience at the Wheeler Centre that he ‘almost exhausted [himself] with gloom’. Indeed, this important book, which covers the Icarian trajectory of climat ...

Alastair Collins reviews 'Changing Gears'

Alastair Collins
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

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-c ...

Paul Humphries reviews 'Flood Country' by Emily O’Gorman

Paul Humphries
Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A friend and colleague from Europe visited in October 2010 for the first time in almost a decade. I had peppered him in the intervening years with emails bemoaning the long drought, the record heat, the lack of rain, the bushfires, the water restrictions, the young and old trees dying, the rivers ceasing to flow and finally drying altogether. I had described the har ...

Amanda McLeod reviews 'Earthmasters' by Clive Hamilton

Amanda McLeod
Tuesday, 05 March 2013

‘No’ is not part of modern consumer life. ‘Yes’ is the catchcry of the market. Despite the best efforts of scientists and activists, it may be too late to phase out fossil fuels and find alternatives to the mass consumerism that is so dependent on them. Human-induced global warming’s tipping point is nigh. There is almost no turning back. Geo-enginee ...

Gillian Terzis reviews 'Fallout from Fukushima'

Gillian Terzis
Tuesday, 29 January 2013

In the aftermath of Chernobyl it is hard not to see nuclear disaster as the muse of abject horror. The degree of uncertainty surrounding life after catastrophe – genetic mutation, contaminated food supplies, mass displacement of townships – is unfathomable for governments and citizens alike. At a time when the need for accurate information is at its greatest, mi ...

Peter Menkhorst reviews 'Curious Minds'

Peter Menkhorst
Sunday, 25 November 2012

Curious Minds sets out to explore the naturalists and scientists who brought Australia’s flora and fauna into the public consciousness: on the face of it a laudable aim, but one not totally fulfilled. From the title onwards the book seems confused in its aims and in its style. Is the book intended to be about people (the curious naturalists), flora and faun ...