BENGALURU: When Tim Flannery attended the Bangalore Literature Festival to talk about how seaweed could help save planet earth, he didn’t expect to see so many interested faces in the audience. "I’m surprised so many people have come out to hear a session on seaweed" Flannery told the crowd on Sunday, as he went on to recall how during the days of the British rule, Bengaluru was known as a no-fan city. "I had visited the city a decade ago but it’s great to see that despite development, you have still managed to maintain parts of the city like a forest," said the Australian environmentalist.
While climate change has emerged to be the hottest topic of discussion today, Flannery knew he wanted to be involved in the climatology field since he was a child. Having grown up in Australia, his childhood was synonymous with the forest and farm lands he was exposed to, which, unfortunately, disappeared by the time he turned 10.
“My mum told me it all disappeared for progress. I knew then I wanted nothing to do with progress and wanted to become an environmentalist ever since,” says the 69-year-old, who has till date, discovered 30 new mammal species. Flannery is aware that the feat is bigger than Darwin’s but remains humble when reminded of this.
His love for this field is evident through the many books he has written, including his latest Explore Your World: Weird, Wild, Amazing!, a book about the extraordinary planet we inhabit. Talking about why he chose to pen this book for children, he said, “It’s profoundly immoral to leave the world like that for our children. I want to do everything I can to ensure they have a chance.”
According to Flannery, books on climate change are changing the lens through which we view the world. He cites his own example of how viewing the world through the lens of ‘tech optimism’ made it seem like the world was getting better. “But when I speak to young people today, their world is getting worse. So it affects everything, their writing, their fiction...,” he explained. While he agrees that books on climate change can help the situation, need-of-the-hour measures include not just stopping pollution but closing the loop by getting pollution out of the air, he emphasises.