Tim Flannery’s books include Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Creature and, most recently, Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis. He lives in Australia. (June 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

In Praise of Sandstone

The sandstone blocks at the Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney’s new waterfront park, which opened in August 2015
The creation of an expansive, charming public space at the heart of a great commercial city is a rare event. Sydney’s Barangaroo Reserve, which opened in August 2015, joined New York’s High Line and London’s East End Olympic redevelopment as a landmark public park that helps define a major metropolis’s …

Can We Bring Back the Passenger Pigeon?

Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things

by M.R. O’Connor
Until recently it seemed that once a species went extinct, there was little we could do. Extinction truly was forever. But recent developments in genetics have given researchers some hope that extinct species might be brought back to life.

Extravagant, Aggressive Birds Down Under

A cassowary chick following its father along a beach in Etty Bay, Queensland, Australia

Where Song Began: Australia’s Birds and How They Changed the World

by Tim Low
Toward the end of his highly enjoyable book Where Song Began, Tim Low informs us that “it might be said that the world has one hemisphere weighted towards mammals and one towards birds.” The hemisphere weighted toward mammals is the northern one. And Low makes a convincing case that, in …

NYR DAILY

The Paris Catastrophe

New Orleans, 2005

If the Paris agreement falters and we are forced to wait another decade for a new one, we would have no way of avoiding a dangerous and increasingly unstable future. Far from damaging the US economy as President Trump argues, the Paris agreement offered it a lifeline. Sadly, it’s a lifeline that Trump has just thrown away.

Lilliput Under the Sea

Pacific Giant Octopus, Enteroctopus dofleini, 0.6 inches long without arms, 2014

Susan Middleton’s Spineless reveals a world where hermit crabs resemble wizards carrying their own magic mountains on their backs, and where worms are transformed into exquisite, pearly necklaces. Marine invertebrates—from octopuses to hermit crabs and creatures like the bizarre holothurians—are the focus of this photography book.

Copenhagen, and After

On April 5, 2009, Denmark got a new Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen. He was the third Danish Prime Minister in a row to bear that surname, replacing Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who had been named the new Secretary-General of NATO. A capable local politician in his forties, Lars Rasmussen had, in contrast to his predecessor, almost no experience in international politics. His appointment received little media coverage outside Denmark. But just eight months later, with Denmark the host of the Copenhagen climate summit (officially the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP-15), Lars Rasmussen’s—and Denmark’s—lack of experience in international politics would have a global impact.

Copenhagen Crisis: Why the US Needs Cap and Trade

It is often argued that cap and trade legislation requires too many compromises with—and give-aways to—polluting corporations to pass the House and Senate, and that consequently it is ineffective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While environmentalists are failing to support cap and trade, those opposing action on climate change are fiercely attacking it. Yet such a system is essential when it comes to getting global action on climate change—not least at the increasingly imperilled climate summit in Copenhagen in December—for it delivers a transparent benchmark by which nations can judge each other’s commitment.