Tim Flannery on how to feed, power and clean up the world

Tim Flannery. Photo by Damien Pleming.

Tim Flannery. Photo by Damien Pleming.

Scientist, explorer and conservationist Tim Flannery is a leading writer on climate change and the 2007 Australian of the Year. His books include the award-winning international bestseller The Weather Makers, Here on Earth and Atmosphere of Hope. He is currently head of the Climate Council.

In his new book Sunlight and Seaweed Tim Flannery investigates exciting new technologies currently being developed to address our most pressing environmental threats, presenting a positive future for us and our planet.

Climate change, food production and toxic pollution present huge challenges, but, as Flannery shows, we already have innovative, practical and inspiring solutions.

Sunlight and Seaweed by Tim Flannery.

Sunlight and Seaweed by Tim Flannery.

‘Much of my recent writing has spelled out a message of hope for the future. It is clear to me that even with the climate crisis assuming its current frightening proportions, and with billions more people on our finite planet, that life in 2050 can be much better than it is today, and the state of our biodiversity and ecosystems much improved,’ says Flannery. ‘But hope is not enough. We need a coherent vision of the future that is capable of guiding investments in clean technologies so that hope can be turned into concrete reality.’

Solar energy has, until now, been limited to supplying power only when the sun is shining. But new technology using concentrated sunlight to provide intense heat energy that can be effectively stored overcomes this problem, providing clean renewable power around the clock. Further, the large amounts of power produced can be used beyond our current power demands to tackle the issue of feeding the world’s growing population – by enabling energy-intense methods of purifying polluted land for agricultural production.

Drawing carbon out of the atmosphere has become an essential component in limiting climate change. Flannery explores the potential of kelp, a fast-growing sea alga, to be used on a large scale to convert carbon from the air to a non-gaseous form, reducing levels of atmospheric carbon.


• Tim Flannery will be appearing at Byron Writers Festival in conversation with Paul Barclay (Saturday) and at Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors with David Haskell and Nicolas Rothwell (Sunday).

• For more on Byron Writers Festival visit

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