Tim Flannery Interview

here_on_earth.jpg   Tim Flannery, best known for his book The Weather Makers and for his time as Australian of the year in 2007, has released a new title, Here on Earth. On the eve of its release he spoke to Kathleen Noonan from "The Courier-Mail":
In a new and ambitious book launched recently, Here on Earth: An Argument For Hope, Prof Flannery sets out to chart two histories: the twin stories of our planet and our species. But when he talks about the future of the planet, mining and climate change is never far from the conversation.

In the book, he quotes American ecologist Aldo Leopold: "One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen."

So, how do the Tim Flannerys of the world stay optimistic in a world of wounds?

In other words, how do scientists looking at the devastating impact of humans on the planet's ecosystems, notably climate change, and not become raging, throw-their-hands-in-the-air pessimists?

He says narrow horizons and short time frames are always misleading and we need to take a long view to see the truth path of our evolutionary trajectory.

"I am hopeful because I am taking the long view. In writing this book, despite the challenges we now face, I feel optimistic for the future for our children and grandchildren. It's only by seeing the planet in that way can you see the potential for hope."

Prof Flannery, the mammalogist and palaeontologist, environmentalist and global warming activist who in 2007 was named Australian of the Year, has spent a lifetime examining the destruction of land and sea. This is his first major work since The Weather Makers in 2005, which argued that, if climate change was not slowed, it would cause mass species extinctions.

Yet, the new book is Prof Flannery's most hopeful writing yet. He says if we survive this century, future prospects will be enhanced.

The book was launched by actor Cate Blanchett in Sydney, and you can watch a video interview with the author from ABC Radio National Breakfast.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 9, 2010 8:49 AM.

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