Tag Archives: Tim Flannery

Scared Witless: The New Science Site that Gets the Communication Right

In a recent post we broke the news that a heroic band of scientists was finally making Australia proud. I’m talking about the Scared Scientists, of course.

Sadly, a number of readers have questioned whether it actually takes courage to have the courage to admit you’re scared of climate change.

Er, yes. Yes it does. The great medieval figure Edward “Ed” Stark explained this better than any science communicator could:

Bran thought about it.
‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.

Speaking of historical dramas, my thirteen-year-old thinks he’s getting the 300 box set for his birthday tomorrow. But I reckon he’ll be stoked when he opens his actual present: a donation in his name to the Scared Scientists!

(The ScS team has finally listened to the demands of ordinary climate mums and dads around the country and added a PayPal button on every single page of their site.)

Denialists are already chuckling at the small numbers of the Scared—and missing the point, as usual.

The Scientists may be just eight—for now—but as my teenager might say, “Are they not therefore so much the more fully sick than that pretty-boy Leonidas, who needed 299 mates to help him lose a fight? To a bunch of Bronze Age illiterates?”

With scientists increasingly convinced that climate change could be even more decisive for Western civilization than Thermopylae, the names of Flannery, Steffen, England, Perkins, Hughes, Ajani, Macreadie and Murray have already inscribed themselves in immortality.

Win or (god forbid) lose, we who survive will remember them.

Besides, standing up for the consensus has always been lonely work.

Continue reading

Dinner With the Salman Rushdie of Climate Change

“A man for all climates”

Ask any Australian which scientist they respect most, and more likely than not they’ll name Former Gillard Government Climate Commission Chief Commissioner Panasonic Sustainability Professor Timothy Flannery. Tim, as he’s known for short, is best-loved for his patient attempts to explain the latest discoveries of science to a deplorably illiterate public. Who could forget this one? We may not understand it, but we sure as hell remember it:

“I think that within this century the concept of the strong Gaia will actually become physically manifest. I do think that the Gaia of the ancient Greeks, where they believed the earth was effectively one whole and perfect living creature, doesn’t exist yet, but it will exist in future… ants of course have democratic processes; they actually vote. We’ve seen the IPCC projections are now ground-truthed against real-world change. For the first time, this global super-organism, this global intelligence will be able to send a signal… And lead to a stronger Gaia, if you will, a stronger earth system.

Hard as it is to believe, this sober man of the hard sciences was once religious!

It’s true. In fact, it was not until his mid-teens, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, that Flannery finally disproved the existence of God:

Flannery was deeply religious until he was about 14, when he realised the Blessed Virgin Mary, although extremely prominent in the Catholic Church, appeared in fewer than four paragraphs in the gospels.*

Continue reading