Here on Earth
A Natural History of the Planet
By Tim Flannery
(Atlantic Monthly Press, Hardcover, 9780802119766, 288pp.)
Publication Date: April 2011
Beginning at the moment of creation with the Big Bang, Here on Earth explores the evolution of Earth from a galactic cloud of dust and gas to a planet with a metallic core and early signs of life within a billion years of being created. In a compelling narrative, Flannery describes the formation of the Earth’s crust and atmosphere, as well as the transformation of the planet’s oceans from toxic brews of metals (such as iron, copper, and lead) to life-sustaining bodies covering 70 percent of the planet’s surface. Life, Flannery shows, first appeared in these oceans in the form of microscopic plants and bacteria, and these metals served as catalysts for the earliest biological processes known to exist. From this starting point, Flannery tells the fascinating story of the evolution of our own species, exploring several early human speciesfrom the diminutive creatures (the famed hobbits) who lived in Africa around two million years ago to Homo erectusbefore turning his attention to Homo sapiens. Drawing on Charles Darwin’s and Alfred Russell Wallace’s theories of evolution and Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, Here on Earth is a dazzling account of life on our planet.
Tim Flannery is one of Australia’s leading thinkers and writers.
An internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, he has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers and many books. His books include the landmark works The Future Eaters and The Weather Makers, which has been translated into more than 20 languages and in 2006 won the NSW Premier’s Literary Prizes for Best Critical Writing and Book of the Year.
He received a Centenary of Federation Medal for his services to Australian science and in 2002 delivered the Australia Day address. In 2005 he was named Australian Humanist of the Year, and in 2007 honoured as Australian of the Year.
He spent a year teaching at Harvard, and is a founding member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, a director of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and the National Geographic Society’s representative in Australasia. He serves on the board of WWF International (London and Gland) and on the sustainability advisory councils of Siemens (Munich) and Tata Power (Mumbai).
In 2007 he co-founded and was appointed Chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council, a coalition of community, business, and political leaders who came together to confront climate change.
Tim Flannery is currently Professor of Science at Maquarie University, Sydney.