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Sometimes facing up to the truth is just too hard. There have been any number of urgent scientific reports in recent years emphasizing just how dire the future looks and how little time we have left to act. But around the world only a few have truly faced up to the facts about global warming.

Requiem for a Species is about why we have ignored those warnings, so that now it is too late. It is a book about the frailties of the human species: our strange obsessions, our hubris, and our penchant for avoiding the facts. It is the story of a battle within us between the forces that should have caused us to protect the earth, like our capacity to reason and our connection to nature, and our greed, materialism and alienation from nature, which, in the end, have won out.

And it is about the 21st century consequences of these failures, and what we can do now. Because we don't have to take this lying down.

  • Book Title: Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth about climate change
  • Author: Clive Hamilton
  • Publisher: Earthscan and Allen & Unwin
  • Publishing Date: 2010
  • ISBN: 9781742372105
  • Number of Pages: 286
  • Sample Reading: Please click on the following images. Showing 3 of 16.

Requiem for a Species 1 of 3 Requiem for a Species 2 of 3 Requiem for a Species 3 of 3

Selected Reviews:

  • "This is a provocative and sobering book, in which Hamilton shows very clearly that the climate problem is now primarily a question of social science: of psychology and political economy." ~ Book of the Week, Times Higher Education Supplement
  • "Hamilton's book presents a powerful statement of the problems confronting us -- not just the problem of climate change itself, but the tendency to wish the problem away by denial. Read this book." ~ Professor Lord May OM AC FRS, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
  • Clive Hamilton "makes an impeccable case for our inability or unwillingness to act rapidly enough to meet the challenge of the way our lifestyle is altering the very chemistry of the planet's atmosphere". ~ David Suzuki
  • "I am afraid Clive Hamilton has it right about climate change -- deeply afraid. Requiem is a brave and honest book by a brilliant scholar. Ignoring him will only make a bad situation worse, so, please, read this book now." ~ James Gustave Speth, author of The Bridge at the Edge of the World, and Dean Emeritus, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • "Requiem for a Species magnificently captures the idea that, by and large, none of us want to believe that climate change is real. It explains our inability to seriously weigh the evidence of climate change, and to take appropriate action to ensure our own survival." ~ Tim Costello, CEO, World Vision Australia
  • "Clive Hamilton, as usual, has courageously challenged the current nature of our society in this inspirational new book." ~ Graeme Pearman, former head of the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research
  • "Requiem for a Species is a remarkable publication which brings together the scientific imperatives of taking action in the field of climate change. Hamilton highlights the political inertia which is currently acting as a roadblock. In the wake of the weak outcome of Copenhagen, this book assumes added significance in breaking the resistance to the truth about climate change." ~ R.K. Pachauri, Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Director-General, TERI
  • "When future generations look out on a planet ravaged by climate change, they will ask of our generation 'When you knew what was happening -- surely the greatest debacle since we came out of our caves -- why didn't you stop it?' Clive Hamilton proposes the problem lies with 'the perversity of our institutions, our psychological dispositions, our strange obsessions, our penchant for avoiding facts, and, especially, our hubris'. It all makes for a riveting read because, alas, it is all too true -- just like Greek tragedy." ~ Norman Myers, 21st Century School, University of Oxford
  • "Clive Hamilton investigates -- in real time -- our society's choice not to act to protect ourselves from devastating climate change. We know the science, but 'scientific facts are fighting against more powerful forces' -- power, money, bureaucratic inertia and our innate desire to ignore what we don't want to believe. 'It's too late,' he says. 'Humanity failed.' That past tense is devastating." ~ Fred Pearce, writer and author of The Last Generation: How Nature Will Take Her Revenge for Climate Change
  • "It takes intellectual rigor, as well as moral courage, to write a rational analysis of what is essentially the collective insanity of our own species. This book ought to be mandatory reading." ~ Australian Book Review
About Clive Hamilton:  

Clive Hamilton is an Australian author and public intellectual. In June 2008 he was appointed Professor of Public Ethics at the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, a joint center of the Australian National University, Charles Sturt University and the University of Melbourne.

For 14 years, until February 2008, he was the Executive Director of The Australia Institute, a progressive think tank he founded. He holds an arts degree from the Australian National University (majoring in history, psychology and pure mathematics) and an economics degree from the University of Sydney (majoring in economics and government, with first class honors in the former). He completed a doctorate at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex with a thesis titled "Capitalist Industrialization in Korea".

Before establishing The Australia Institute he taught in the Graduate Program in the Economics of Development at the ANU then joined the Australian Public Service, first with the Bureau of Industry Economics and then at the newly formed Resources Assessment Commission. He also worked as a resource economist in Indonesia.

Clive has held visiting academic positions at Yale University, the University of Sydney, the Australian National University, and the University of Cambridge.

He has published on a wide range of subjects but is best known for his books, a number of which have been best-sellers. They include Growth Fetish (2003), Affluenza (with Richard Denniss, 2005), What's Left: The death of social democracy (2006), Silencing Dissent (edited with Sarah Maddison, 2007) and Scorcher: The dirty politics of climate change (2007). His work took a more philosophical turn with the publication of The Freedom Paradox: Towards a post-secular ethics (2008).

Clive's latest book, titled Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth about climate change, was published in 2010. In December 2009 he was the Greens candidate in the by-election for the federal seat of Higgins.

Other Works by Clive Hamilton:  

A radical reconsideration of the meaning of freedom and morality in the modern world. Why is it so many of us lack contentment, despite all the wealth and freedoms we enjoy? The past two centuries delivered individual and political freedoms that promised unprecedented opportunities for personal fulfillment. Yet citizens of affluent countries are encouraged to pursue lives of consumerism, endless choice and the pleasures of the body.

In The Freedom Paradox, Clive Hamilson argues that the paradox of modern consumer life is that we are deprived of our inner freedom by our very pursuit of our own desires. His research conclusion: We cannot be truly free unless we commit ourselves to a moral life.


Silencing Dissent uncovers the tactics used by John Howard and his colleagues to undermine dissenting and independent opinion. The victims are charities, academics, researchers, journalists, judges, public sector organizations, even parliament itself. Deeply disturbing, Silencing Dissent raises serious questions about the state of democracy in Australia.

"Silencing Dissent reveals how our Australian democratic institutions, both government and NGOs, are being eroded. The very heart of public participation has defected -- and this book shows how and why." ~ Review by Allan Boyd, Metior (Murdoch University), January 31, 2007.


Our houses are bigger than ever, but our families are smaller. Our kids go to the best schools we can afford, but we hardly see them. We've got more money to spend, yet we're further in debt than ever before. What is going on?

Affluenza argues our whole society is addicted to over-consumption. It tracks how much Australians overwork, the growing mountains of stuff we throw out, the drugs we take to "self-medicate" and the real meaning of "choice". Fortunately, there is a cure. More and more Australians are deciding to ignore the advertisers, reduce their consumer spending and recapture their time for the things that really matter.


Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change is the book that blows the whistle on the politics of global warming in Australia. Why have our political leaders been so slow to act? How have big corporations succeeded in preventing real action? Who are the "greenhouse mafia"?

In Scorcher, Clive Hamilton reveals a shadow world of lobbyists and skeptics, spin and hidden agendas. He investigates a deceitful government and a complaint media. And he lays out the facts about Kyoto, carbon emissions and what governments and individuals might do, and have done. It is a book about greedy corporations, craven politicians and public disengagement.


For decades our political leaders and opinion makes have touted higher incomes as the way to a better future. Economic growth means better lives for us all. But after many years of sustained economic growth and increased personal incomes, we must confront an awful fact: we aren't any happier. This is the great contradiction of modern politics.

In Growth Fetish, Clive Hamilton argues that, far from being the answer to our problems, growth fetishism and the marketing society lie at the heart of our social ills. They have corrupted our social priorities and political structures, and have created a profound sense of alienation among young and old.


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