Review

We Are The Weather Makers: The story of global warming

A must-read from the 2007 Australian of the Year

We are the Weather Makers

Product details

Product name: We are the weathermakers

Reviewer: Jenny Blackford

Author: Tim Flannery

Publisher: Text publishing

Price: $19.95

G Rating:

5

Australian palaeontologist and conservationist Tim Flannery is no stranger to scientific controversy.

His 1994 book The Future Eaters argued that tens of thousands of years before white settlers came to Australia, the Aborigines were already changing the landscape with firestick farming and the hunting of our spectacular giant marsupials.

Now, he is a major player in the climate change debate.

Climbing Mt Albert Edward in New Guinea in 1981, Flannery saw evidence of climate change, as forest encroached on alpine grasslands, but he put the question aside for what appeared to be more urgent conservation issues.

By 2004, though, jolted by reports of melting glaciers, rising CO2 levels and species extinctions, he became deeply concerned. His important book on climate change, The Weather Makers, was published in 2005 to general acclaim.

We Are the Weather Makers is a concise, revised version of The Weather Makers, primarily intended for the young adult market, and the web site http://www.theweathermakers.com/YA/ offers useful school resources for teaching the book as part of a course in, for example, geography or science.

As the cover states, though, it is suitable for readers 'from nine to ninety'. It is remarkably easy to read, and packed full of snippets of interesting information.

Flannery gives an excellent explanation of rising atmospheric CO2 levels and what they mean for world climate, and therefore for us and the other inhabitants of the Earth.

Along the way, he explains clearly any necessary scientific concepts, such as the Sverdrup (a measure of oceanic current flow, relevant to the question of whether the Gulf Stream will stop, causing Europe to freeze).

Although the book includes a charming photo of Flannery with a baby giant woolly rat, he does not rely on the cuteness of iconic, cuddly mammals to arouse concern about the huge numbers of species facing extinction.

Instead, impressively, he makes the climate-driven disappearance of the Golden Toad from its Costa Rican cloudforest home into a story of loss sad enough to make any reader want to take action against climate change.

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