ICS Seminar Series - Brett Bennett

Date: Thursday 27 July 2017
Time: 11.30am–1pm
Venue: EB.G.02, Western Sydney University, Parramatta South campus

Brett Bennett

(Western Sydney University)

What Do Historical Ideas About Human Induced Climate Change Tell Us About the Present and Future?


What can the history of climate change tell us about contemporary climate change scenarios? This paper is based on an ARC-funded Discovery project with Gregory Barton titled Saving the World the First Time. It explores how ideas of human-induced climate change led to major social and political changes in the 19th century. Many of these changes were justified by the idea that trees influenced climate. These ideas fell out of favour scientifically in the 20th century but have recently been renewed through global warming and other climate change models. I review these ideas and make suggestions for how public discussions about climate change can be changed to be more accommodative and positive.


Associate Professor Brett Bennett is a historian who engages with scientific questions relating to the conservation of nature. He is the author of two books, including Plantations and Protected Areas: A Global History of Forest Management (MIT Press, 2015). His current work, among other things, focuses on climate change, decolonisation and the rise of protected areas, and on the emergence of national environmental identities in former settler colonies. He leads a trip twice a year to the Kruger National Park, South Africa to study conservation from interdisciplinary perspectives.