Titles include: mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist, conservationist, explorer, author, science communicator, activist, and scientist.
Flannery is a supporter of renewable energy, phasing out coal power and rewilding.
He was raised as a regular kid near Melbourne. At a young age he became aware of marine pollution and its effect on the ecosystem. Later he earned a under grad degree, and achieved his masters and phd degrees from Austriaian universities. He also proclaimed a visiting chair at Harvard. Was a director of the south Australian museum. And, has worked with climate risk Austrailia.
At age 26, he was hired by the mammalogy department of the Australian Museum. He took his first trips to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and elsewhere, later becoming mammal curator at the museum. He took 15 trips in total to New Guinea starting in 1981, and into the 1990s. After one trip, a tapeworm he found was sent to the parasitologist. It was revealed to be a new species, and was later named ‘Burtiela flanneryi’ after him. Working closely with local tribes to undertake fieldwork. Experiences were later recounted in his book: Throwin Way Leg (1998).
Other memberships and publishing:
Flannery has written hundreds of books and articles. Both fiction and non-fiction (mostly). He is a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, a governor of WWF-Australia. He was for a time director of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. He has contributed to over 143 scientific papers.
Flannery is a professorial fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne. Until mid-2013 he was a professor at Macquarie University and held the Panasonic Chair in Environmental Sustainability.
In 1980, Tim discovered an dinosaur fossil on the southern coast of Victoria, called the Allosaurid. It was the first from the family known found in Australia. In 1985, he was apart of the team to discover the first Mesozoic mammal fossil discovered in Australia. During the 1980s, Flannery described most of the known pleistocene megafaunal species in New Guinea as well as the fossil record of the phalangerids, a family of possums. As part of his doctoral studies, he reviewed the evolution of macropodidae (kangeroos/wallabies). He has described at least 29 new fossil species, including 11 new genera, and, 3 new subfamilies.
In the 1990s, Flannery published the Mammals of New Guinea (Cornell press); and, Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea (Johns Hopkins press). Both are the most comprehensive reference works on the subjects. The specific name of the greater monkey-faced bat (pteralopex flanneryi), described in 2005, honours Tim for his work.
Climate change communication:
In the 1990s, while doing fieldwork in New Guinea, Flannery observed a change in the elevational range of trees. He realised it’s likely to do with the impacts of climate change. Subsequently he began working on climate change more seriously. Shape shifting to campaigning and publicly communicating about climate change.
This prominence occasionally created hostility from the media. His academic peers were also initially critical of Flannery for speaking outside of his primary area of expertise. When discussing this in 2009, Flannery said that climate change science was a less established field earlier in his career. And that multiple experts from different fields had shifted to respond to the as well. He claimed publicly funded scientists are obliged to communicate their work and be vocal on important issues.
Flannery has frequently discussed the effects of climate change, particularly on Australia, and advocates for mitigation. Regarding links between climate change and the unprecedented recent Austrailian bushfires. He has stated: “I am absolutely certain that [the bushfires are] climate change caused.”
Australian climate commission and climate council:
In 2011, Flannery was appointed to head the Climate Commission, to explain climate change, and the need for a carbon price to the Austraian public. By 2013 (after the next election), Flannery and others launched a new body called the Climate Council. He stated that its goals: “to provide independent information on the science of climate change.
The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People, 1994
A bestseller. The book regards three “future eater” waves of Austrian and New Guinea human migration. The first wave migrated from Southeast Asia approximately 40,000 to 60,000 years ago. The second was polynesian migration to New Zealand and surrounding islands 800 to 3,500 years ago. And, the third and final wave was European colonization at the end of the 18th century. Flannery described the evolution of the first wave of future-eaters: “Sixty thousand or more years ago human technology was developing at what we would consider to be an imperceptible pace. Yet it was fast enough to give the first Australasians complete mastery over the ‘new lands’. Freed from the ecological constraints of their homeland and armed with weapons honed in the relentless arms race of Eurasia, the colonisers of the ‘new lands’ were poised to become the world’s first future eaters.” His book was adapted into a series on television.
Weather makers: history and future impact of climate change, 2005
He spent 5 years writing. The book highlights: sea levels rising, larger storms and species extinction. It also deals with mitigation to reducing emissions, and using solar, and wind power. Other points included the global carbon dictatorship; and, Geothermia. Geothermia, is a city taking advantage of gas reserves on the NSW, Queensland and south Austrialian provincial borders due to climate change. It highlights an urgency to reduce climate change, especially for the larger Austrialian cities.
Article from ‘External frontier’ proposal: “Pleistocene rewilding”: restoring the ecosystems that existed in north America before the arrival of the clovis people and the concomitant disappearance of the north American pleistocene megafauna 13,000 years ago.
He was the second major scientist, after Paul S Martin, to recommend restoring ecosystems that existed in north America before the arrival of the clovis people. Its highlights included that in addition to the wolves that have been already re-introduced to Yellowstone national park, ambush predators, such as jaguars and lions should be reintroduced as well. In order to bring the number of elk in control. The closest extant relatives of the species that became extinct around the clovis period could be introduced to North America’s nature reserves as well. For example, he purposed Indian and African elephants could substitute, respectively, for the mammoth and the mastodon. The Chacoan peccary, for its extinct cousin the flat-headed peccary (Platygonus compressus). Llamas and panthers, which still survive outside of the US, should too be brought back to that country.
Did you know?
In July 2018, at the King Solomon islands, he played a role in the Kwaio Reconciliation programme. It brought an end to a 91-year-old cycle of killings that stemmed from the murders, in 1927 of British Colonial officers, Bell and Gillies, by Kwaio leader Basiana and his followers.
Bibliography: Tim Flannery: A life in books”. the Guardian. 14 March 2011. Dec 2022
“Tim Flannery”. Only Melbourne (re: Australian of the Year 2007). Retrieved Dec 2022
Fitzgerald, Farley (24 May 2021). “Internationally acclaimed conservationist Tim Flannery presents ‘The Climate Cure’”. The Australian Museum.
“Prof Tim Flannery”. Sustainable Population Australia.