at Melbourne Town Hall

For Thought: Hope for the Planet

‘We have to recall the image of the planet from outer space,’ David Suzuki has said. ‘A single entity in which air, water and continents are interconnected. That is our home.’

In 1800 there were one billion people on the planet. Now there are seven billion. It’s difficult to overstate the pace and extent of change that has occurred in the recent history of our planet, thanks to population growth, industry and technology. These changes have placed our natural environment under sudden and unprecedented forms of stress; the earth is getting hotter.

Since pioneering climate scientist James Hansen first testified about climate change before the US Congress in 1988, scientists have been warning us about the potential damage to our environment caused by global warming.

Suzuki has been talking about climate change and action since the 1980s. The eminent environmentalist, author and activist believes we need to radically alter the way we see ourselves in relation to the natural world – adjusting our stance from one of hubris to humility.

Other warnings have come thick and fast. Ten years ago, scientist, author and activist Tim Flannery outlined the how and why of climate change in The Weather Makers and warned us of its dangers.

In 2010, Harvard Professor and author Naomi Oreskes helped us understand why action on climate change has been so slow. She highlighted a successful, concerted campaign to blunt the scientific warnings in her book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.

But political inertia, crushing statistics and depressing forecasts are not the only story. There is hope for the future, and there are solutions that may work. Join three leading international voices in science as they each share their individual perspective on hope for the planet, followed by a panel discussion of people, planet and optimism.

For Thought™ series presented by the University of Melbourne and the Wheeler Centre under licence from Sydney Opera House.

David Suzuki and Naomi Oreskes are presented by arrangement with WOMADelaide’s Planet Talks Program.


Portrait of David Suzuki

David Suzuki

Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It's a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. In 1990 he co-founded with Dr. Tara Cullis, The David Suzuki Foundation to 'collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life including government and business, to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.'

Portrait of Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes is professor of the history of science and affiliated professor of Earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University, and an internationally renowned geologist, science historian, and author. She received a B.Sc. (first class honors) in Mining Geology from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, London (1981) and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Geological Research and History of Science from Stanford University (1990). She joined the faculty at Harvard in 2013 after 15 years at the University of California, San Diego.   

Portrait of Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery is a scientist, an explorer, a conservationist and a leading writer on climate change. He has held various academic positions including visiting Professor in Evolutionary and Organismic Biology at Harvard University, Director of the South Australian Museum, Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum, Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne, and Panasonic Professor of Environmental Sustainability, Macquarie University. His books include the award-winning international bestseller The Weather Makers, Here on Earth and Atmosphere of Hope. Flannery was the 2007 Australian of the Year. He is currently chief councillor of the Climate Council.


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