Good Reading : August 2006
cover story Tim Flannery has an easy, almost laconic, Australian voice. But the story he tells in his latest audio book has nothing laconic about it: it’s an urgent plea to humankind to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), more commonly known as greenhouse gases, in the Earth’s atmosphere. He not only explains why we all need to do something about it, he also tells us how we can. It took Dr Flannery a long time to realise how important the issue of climate change is, and how rapidly it is affecting life on our planet. He first got an inkling of it in 1981, when he was researching in Papua New Guinea and noticed that the forest was colonising the grassland around Mt Albert Edward, which meant that the temperature on the mountain had war med enough to per mit trees to grow where previously only grasses could. The observation left him troubled, but he soon forgot about it because it seemed to him then that bigger and more urgent issues demanded his attention back in Australia: the clear-felling of rainforests, rising salt levels, overgrazing, and degradation of waterways all threatened our precious ecosystems and biodiversity. These were the issues covered in his award- winning bestseller The Future Eaters, published in 1994. But over the years he gradually came to realise that in fact it is climate change that poses the greatest threat to our future. Earth’s ther mostat is a complex and delicate mechanism, at the heart of which lies carbon An internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer, author and conservationist, DR TIM FLANNERY has discovered and named more than thirty new species of mammal — prompting writer Redmond O’Hanlon to claim that ‘He’s discovered more new species than Charles Darwin’. The Weather Makers is his most important work to date, a clarion call to everyone to help reduce global warming. He recently recorded an unabridged audio book version, so no excuses now not to listen to his message and vow to do your bit. weather warrior Photograph of Tim Flannery taken by AdamBruzzone, reproduced courtesy of Text Publishing.