We need better politicians, says top ANU scientist David Lindenmayer

Credit: Sitthixay Ditthavong Professor David Lindenmayer
17 February 2020

A half century ago, a bored child looked out of the car window somewhere to the west of Canberra and got interested.

The result is one of the clearest scientific voices on climate change and bushfires currently raising the alarm in Australia.

Professor David Lindermayer BSc, DipEd, PhD, DSc, FAA, AO of the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University was once a curious child.

"My parents used to take these epic car drives in the days before DVDs on the back of seats, before the radio worked in the car - you couldn't pick up a signal 300 kilometres west of Canberra.

 

"There was nothing to do except look out of the window and look at landscapes, and see how it all fitted together."

A half century later, he feels it is all fitting together with increasing difficulty. His curiosity about the landscape and the environment has led to insight and authority on the bushfires and their aftermath.

As the immediate task of putting the fires out gives way to the politics, he is anxious that people don't get diverted from the truth by false information. He gives a special lecture at the University of Canberra about it on Tuesday evening.

If you want to ask somebody about what's happening with the climate, you don't ask a right-wing shock jock. You listen to a specialist scientist who studies climate.

David Lindenmayer

"There's such a lot of ill-informed debate. Such a large proportion of discussion is factually wrong."

So who should we trust? "If you've got a problem with high blood-pressure, you go and see a doctor and then a specialist. They are science trained," he said.

"If you want to ask somebody about what's happening with the climate, you don't ask a right-wing shock jock. You listen to a specialist scientist who studies climate."

Read the full article in The Canberra Times, featuring commentary by Professor David Lindenmayer