Sydney, 24 May 2021: In the lead up to World Environment Day, one of Australia’s leading climate advocates Professor Tim Flannery will outline his manifesto for humanity’s survival of the “climate emergency” in the Australian Museum’s (AM) inaugural Talbot Oration. The event will be presented free to the public on Thursday 3 June 2021 at 6:30PM in Hintze Hall as part of the AM’s Nights at the Museum program.

In his speech, Professor Flannery will make the case for using Australia’s approach to COVID-19 as a model for responding to climate change, outlined in his new book, The Climate Cure: Solving the Climate Emergency in the Era of COVID-19. Professor Flannery will speak about the opportunity for Australia to lead in addressing the climate crisis and implement a prompt, effective, science-led government policy on management – and survival – of the climate threat.

Following the keynote address, Professor Flannery will be joined by Professor Veena Sahajwalla and multi-award-winning journalist Rae Johnston for a panel discussion moderated by former AM president, businesswoman and sustainability adviser Sam Mostyn AO to discuss solutions and actions the public can take to help minimise climate change impact.

Professor Tim Flannery
Australia’s leading climate expert, Professor Tim Flannery. Image: Alice Wesley Smith
© Alice Wesley Smith

Professor Flannery, an Australian Museum Distinguished Visiting Fellow who was recently awarded the prestigious Geddes Environment Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (past recipients of RSGS medals include Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough), emphasised the need to take climate action now.

“It’s time for Australia to lead in global behaviour change – our survival depends on a collective commitment to protecting biodiversity and taking climate action. We are at a tipping point and we must put tackling climate change in the hands of scientists who can lead the way. There is reason for optimism – if we act now,” Flannery said.

Australian Museum Director and CEO Kim McKay AO said that one of the AM’s priorities is to develop action around climate change and sustainability.

“The Australian Museum is committed to transforming the conversation around climate change through our world-leading science, collections, exhibitions and education programs. Following the recent events including the devastating Black Summer bushfires and coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, it’s never been clearer that the time to act on this important issue is now,” McKay said.

On the evening of the inaugural Talbot Oration, the AM will also open a new climate change exhibit in Hintze Hall, Spark: Australian Innovations Tackling Climate Change. In this exciting showcase, visitors can learn about new technologies and time-tested approaches created by Australian innovators to protect the planet.

Granville Harbour Wind Farm, Tasmania
Tasmania has been powered by 100% renewable energy since the completion of this wind farm at Granville Harbour, 2020. Image: Granville Harbour Wind Farm
© Granville Harbour Wind Farm

Named in honour of former Australian Museum Director Dr Frank Talbot, the Talbot Oration will be an annual event at the AM celebrating Talbot’s achievements in marine research and environmental studies in Australia and on the global stage.

McKay said that Dr Talbot had inspired people around the world with “his passion for science, his leadership, vision and his track record as both a museum administrator and marine researcher.”

“Frank is a living legend of the global museum community – in addition to being a former director of the Australian Museum, he is the only Australian to have been Director of the prestigious Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.," McKay said.

"Throughout his life he has been a true advocate for science and has left a lasting legacy for both the Australian Museum and the wider community by establishing the AM’s Lizard Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef,” McKay said.

Dr Talbot, now 91, continues his love of the sea, regularly sailing his boat on Sydney Harbour. He said he was honoured to be recognised with the Talbot Oration being named in his honour.

“I have been extraordinarily lucky in my life to have spent it doing what I love – studying fish and reefs. This recognition means a lot to me, coming as it does from an institution that I am proud to have served,” Dr Talbot said.

The Talbot Oration will showcase advances in the field of climate change research and environmental conservation, enabling the public to better understand how responses to the climate challenge determine our future prospects, health, and the sustainability of our natural environment.


What: Inaugural Talbot Oration, ‘The Climate Cure with Professor Tim Flannery’ and Spark exhibition opening

When: Thursday 3 June, 6:30PM

Where: Australian Museum, Hintze Hall, 1 William St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Tickets: Register for FREE tickets here.

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