Mstation Book Reviews
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Sat, 02 Jun 2007

Weather Makers

Tim Flannery, The Weather Makers:
Our Changing Planet and What it Means for
Life on Earth, Penguin

You would have had to have been hiding somewhere extremely remote for this book to be the first you've heard about global warming and the like - the White House perhaps.

The author is an Australian scientist and it is ironic in a way that Australia, with all its environmental problems (holes in the ozone layer over Antartica that increase skin cancer rates, drought, salinity problems with soil, and urban pollution) has a government with the same stick-in-the-mud attitude as G.W. Bush and, as if that weren't bad enough, the country has become one of the largest suppliers of raw materials to China. So, it is effectively exporting pollution by the boat load every day. Clearly, more politicians need to read this book! The irony is that in addition to the s-i-t-m politicians there has been a very strong grassroots eco-friendly movement there along with specialised academic courses like Monash University's Masters of Environmental Science program which was started up in the late 1970's.

Tim Flannery does an extremely good job of taking us through the issues and also the scientific background. He tells a good yarn and spices it with anecdotes - in other words, this is no dry tome meant only for the converted with MSci's - nothing less will do in order to achieve the job that needs to be done: Namely, saving the planet.

Flannery explores the makeup of the atmosphere and its movements, and explores some case studies before getting to the science of prediction. And there it is that naysayers can be found to backup whatever lack of action one might want to justify. To most people it seems plain, however, that action must be taken even if there is a slight chance that the climate changes we see before us are not of our causing. To do otherwise would be criminally insane.

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