Environment and Climate

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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Have you heard of the Anthropocene, the so-called Age of Humans? Our geological epoch has been renamed because human influences on Earth are so profound that not only is our climate changing, but so are our soils, water, and social order. Bruno Latour, prolific French philosopher and historian of science, dedicates his book ...

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‘Ambassadors from Another Time’ by Stephen Orr

Stephen Orr
Thursday, 28 September 2017

First, I need to visit Dean Nicolle’s eucalypt arboretum. Four hundred rows of trees, four specimens of each species of Eucalyptus, Corymbia, and Angophora (the eucalypts) nestled together, sharing pollen and landscape, dropping limbs in the grass. Each group of trees is a result of the previous year’s fieldwork. The year ...

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Zoological gardens are conflicted institutions. They provide a miraculous opportunity for close-ups with exotic and native animals one might never otherwise encounter. Yet they do so by keeping those very animals captive. The creaturely contact that zoos hope and claim can help transform citizens into advocates for animals and the environment is discomfited, if not ...

While Australian governments line up to help Adani dig the world’s biggest coal mine, energy experts are burying fossil fuels forever. Dieter Helm is an economist and professor of energy policy at Oxford. Burn Out: The endgame for fossil fuels is his ambitious, provocative, and sometimes perverse take on global energy prospects ...

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‘Forget everything you know.’ Clive Hamilton’s book pulls no punches from the first words on the cover. Building on a raft of other pieces he has written on the subject, Hamilton’s book is unsurprisingly provocative, blunt, and confident, its style matching the epic physical, intellectual, and ethical drama that is the ...

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