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Reef Report for Monday, January 29, 2007

Biologist/Author Tim Flannery Named Australian of the Year
Envirnmentalist wins Australia’s highest honor.

Celebrated author, environmentalist, explorer and biologist Dr. Tim Flannery was honored this week, as he was selected as Australian of the Year.

This is no small award, or one that is easily earned through back room connections. © University of Adelaide The award is organized by the National Australia Day Council, and the selection process takes six months, with each Australian State and Territory having a committee that sifts through their regions nominees. Each state selects a nominee then forwards their name to the national committee, whose members were appointed by the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard. Criteria for the award include being an inspirational role model, excelling in his/her field and contributing to the community.

Prime Minister Howard, speaking at the awards ceremony said that "...Dr. Flannery had helped millions of Australian better appreciate and understand the environment. He has encouraged Australians into new ways of thinking about our environmental history and future ecological challenges,"

We have followed Professor Flannery’s career through the many fine books he has published over the years. His first writings were about what were then his areas of scientific specialty; paleontology and tree kangaroos, and his early research on Tree Kangaroos was centered in Far North Queensland in the region where we used to lead mountain bike tours. From there Pr. Flannery’s interests broadened to encompass Australian History, and especially environmental concerns. We reviewed one of his books, "The Weather Makers" published last year, which is still one of the most thorough and easily read books on global climate change.

Dr. Flannery, on receiving the award this past week, spoke out strongly on the important environmental challenges that face Australia and the world. "I'm very proud to be the Australian of the Year 2007 and somewhat humbled by the honour that’s been bestowed upon me," he said. "The award also means I have an obligation to the people of Australia to continue the quest to create a sustainable future for our country and for our children. We can only call ourselves Australian if we have a long-term future in this country and that means to live sustainably."

More about Tim Flannery and his books.

Coverage of this story, from the Townsville Bulletin.

A radio interview with Dr. Flannery.

Coverage of this story, from CBS news.

Coverage of this story, from "The West"..

(C) DiveTheReef The weekly reef report is written by Joel Groberg of DiveTheReef.com, who compiles them from the many conversations he has with dive staff in the area, as well as  many other local sources in the dive community.

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