Maya del Mar's Daykeeper Journal: Astrology, Consciousness and Transformation
In Association with


by Maya del Mar

The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth, by Tim Flannery. Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 2005. $24.00.

Those of us who saw Al Gore’s film, "An Inconvenient Truth," had a graphic look at the basics of global warming. He made very clear, using a variety of evidence, that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere parallel rising temperatures on land and in sea and air. His film tells of some of the innumerable consequences which are now occurring, and will occur. He showed that carbon dioxide is increasing at an alarming rate. Al Gore is a good teacher.

If "An Inconvenient Truth" is Global Warming 101, The Weather Makers is Global Warming 201. It is the perfect follow-up to the film. In fact, I consider this THE book of our time. Tim Flannery pulls together all elements of global warming—physical, geographical, political, moral, social, economic—in a masterful way. More, he talks extensively about solutions—from large-project, massive solutions to real things that each of us can easily do now, sometimes with just a phone call.

Flannery is an excellent writer, and very readable. He manages to convey to us macro and micro levels of climate simultaneously, and the myriad of connections between them. He gives us the broad picture, along with hundreds of examples to show us that climate change is a huge and current crisis. He has a grasp of the history of life and of the earth, of climatological and geological records, and of current studies and statistics. His source material is prodigious, and yet he manages to distill a mass of information into a book which summarizes the highlights, and shows us the consequences.

And it is a most exceptional book. I found it to be a page-turner, as after reading each page I could hardly wait to turn the page and see “and then what?” The workings of the earth are a grand mystery, and Flannery loves and appreciates it. Page by page he exposes bits of this mystery. It is an astonishing feat. On every page I found something I wanted to quote to my readers. I had to read every word in this book, because there is not a wasted word.

For example,

“In the Darfur region of western Sudan, the Sahelian climate shift has driven people to desperation. Climate-herding nomads have been forced to drive their camels onto agricultural lands… (Both groups are intermarried, both groups are starving.) …This climate-change induced misery looks set to continue. The Sahelian climate shift is emblematic of the situation faced by the world as a whole, for in it we see the west focusing on religion and politics as the problem, rather than the well-documented and evident environmental catastrophe that is its ultimate cause. For decades we have deluded ourselves about its origins, but the day of reckoning must come. So big is the Sahelian climate shift that it could influence the climate of the entire planet.”

And then he goes on to talk about dust and its vital role in ecology and climate.

Flannery has a long chapter on hurricanes, which includes many aspects of climate, including two major hurricane cycles. How does Katrina fit into global warming? There are still too many unknowns to be definitive, but it is certain that the big temperature increase in the Gulf of Mexico is a condition for hurricanes. And it is certain that there are many practical lessons to be learned right now from Katrina. A big problem is that the Bush government does not listen to scientists, and so the denial continues.

Flannery concludes his book with, “I have done my best to fashion a manual on the use of Earth’s thermostat. Now it’s over to you."

It is up to us. And the time is NOW. We have a very brief window to make a fairly harmonious transition to a very carbon-reduced atmosphere. If we wait, it will be much more difficult from every standpoint.


Besides being a very fine teacher and writer, Tim Flannery is an internationally acclaimed scientist with a broad grasp of life. He has written many books, which include definitive ecological histories of Australia and of North America. He has been in programs on radio and television for many years. Flannery lives in Adelaide, Australia, where he is director of the South Australian Museum and a professor at the University of Adelaide.

This book should be in everyone’s hands, not only to read, but to use.