Environment and Climate

Roger McDonald reviews 'The Songs of Trees: Stories from nature’s great connectors' by David George Haskell

Roger McDonald
27 September 2017

The Songs of Trees takes its title from something that might not actually happen. Do trees sing? The notion runs through the American biologist David George Haskell’s second book in twisty directions, like a half-caught melody. (His first book was The Forest Unseen, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2013.)

Don’t trees just make sounds, crack ... More

Tim Flannery reviews 'Call of the Reed Warbler: A new agriculture – a new earth' by Charles Massy

Tim Flannery
22 September 2017

The Call of the Reed Warbler is a brutally honest book – an account of personal redemption following generations of sin. The only comparable work I know of is Rian Malan’s gre More

'Adani and the Galilee Basin' by Susan Reid

Susan Reid
22 September 2017

No amount of modelling or scientific assessment can foresee the full extent of the damage that will eventuate if the Adani Group’s Carmichael Coal Mine goes ahead. It would be the larges More

Deb Anderson reviews 'Slow Catastrophes: Living with drought in Australia' by Rebecca Jones

Deb Anderson
22 September 2017

How do people cope with drought, not as an abstraction or singular event but as a lifelong trial? In a bid to answer this question, historian Rebecca Jones elevates an understated, if unde More

Emily O'Gorman reviews 'Endurance: Australian Stories of Drought' by Deb Anderson

Emily O'Gorman
29 March 2016

The Millennium Drought already looms large in Australia's recent past. It has joined the ranks of the Federation Drought and other acute, lengthy dry periods that have national resonance and are reflected on by historians, farmers, and politicians alike as defining moments in Australia's history. These droughts are etched into landscapes and people's minds, bodies, ... More

Ruth A. Morgan reviews 'Slick Water' by Andrew Nikiforuk

Ruth A. Morgan
25 February 2016

In January 2016, Canadian Jessica Ernst had her day in court. Lawyers for the former oil industry insider debated whether she could sue the Alberta energy regulator over her claim that hydraulic fracturing had so badly contaminated her well that the water could be set on fire. This hearing in the Supreme Court of Canada is the latest chapter in Ernst's twelve-year b ... More

Ian Lowe reviews 'The Optimistic Environmentalist' by David R. Boyd

Ian Lowe
24 February 2016

This is a timely and important book, a message of hope when human civilisation is on a metaphorical Titanic steaming toward an ecological iceberg, with the short-sighted or unprincipled throwing coal into the boilers. My heart sank when I saw the title. I expected more mindless cheer-mongering: blanket assertions of faith that human ingenuity and economic g ... More

'Creating a Wetland' a photo essay by Jo Daniell

Jo Daniell
29 September 2015

Gleneira - sepia

This photograph taken around 1890 shows what was done through over-clearing and grazing. Fifteen years ago, our property on the Mornington Peninsula featured two overused stock dams filled with opaque brown water. The muddy edges had no vege ... More

Peter Menkhorst reviews 'The Dingo Debate' edited by Bradley Smith

Peter Menkhorst
28 September 2015

Australia’s wild dog, the dingo, probably generates the most diverse human responses of any of our fauna – from a determination to exterminate to passionate conservation advocacy. This book is a bold attempt to cover this diversity and asserts that the dingo is a unique wild animal worthy of conservation for its intrinsic value, ... More

Cameron Muir reviews 'Keeping the Wild' edited by George Wuerthner, Eileen Crist, and Tom Butler

Cameron Muir
28 September 2015

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 ... More

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