Environment and Climate

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 underrated, historical source for understanding human responses to drought: the humble farm diary. Publishers’ enthusiasm for diaries as authentic ...

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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, ...

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

Ruth A. Morgan
Thursday, 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 ...

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 ...

'Creating a Wetland' a photo essay by Jo Daniell

Jo Daniell
Tuesday, 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 ...

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

Peter Menkhorst
Monday, 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, ...

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 ...