Environment and Climate

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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The world is embarking on a journey to a clean energy future. Some places are well on their way; most have barely begun. We will all need to get there eventually. How long it takes comes down to political choices, economic realities, and technological breakthroughs. The consequences of delay are already well known ...

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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 ...

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 great saga of South Africa, My Traitor’s Heart (1990) – revolutionary, threatening, and the traducing efforts of an insider. Malan, a relative of the architect ...

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'Adani and the Galilee Basin' by Susan Reid

Susan Reid
Friday, 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 largest coal mine ever built in Australia and amongst the biggest in the world, extended over a thirty-kilometre-long area and comprising six open cut ...

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