University of Wollongong awards Honorary Doctorate of Science to climate change advocate Tim Flannery

HONOUR: Renowned scientist Professor Tim Flannery awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from UOW. Picture: Sylvia Liber.
HONOUR: Renowned scientist Professor Tim Flannery awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from UOW. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

One of Australia’s preeminent scientists and environmental champions has told the University of Wollongong’s graduating engineers they will play a vital role in developing a sustainable future.

Professor Tim Flannery received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from UOW on Wednesday and also delivered the guest address at the graduation ceremony for hundreds of students from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences and the Faculty of Business.

The Honorary Doctorate recognises Prof Flannery’s immense contribution to the worlds of science and conservation, and impressive career as an author, historian, palaeontologist, academic and climate change advocate.

Prof Flannery was ‘’tickled pink’’ with the honour and said it was wonderful to be part of a such a vibrant university.

The Melbourne-based Climate Council councillor also told the Mercury he had purchased a property north of Wollongong recently and planned to move there down the track

‘’I must say I love this area, my son and daughter have both gone to the University of Wollongong and we’ve just bought a house just north of Wollongong,’’ Prof Flannery said.

‘’Eventually I hope to be coming here to live.’’

He also enjoyed speaking at the graduation ceremony.

I mean all of that stuff has to change to be much more sustainable and engineers are at the cutting edge of that.

Professor Tim Flannery

‘’The works engineering students are doing has the potential to change energy systems and the environment and the economy really for our region,’’ he said.

‘’I just said that over the next 50 years during their working careers we are going to have to reinvent really fundamental aspects of our economy and society.

‘’The energy system is one thing, the way we build, the way we transport ourselves, our interactions with the environment, the way we grow food.

‘’I mean all of that stuff has to change to be much more sustainable and engineers are at the cutting edge of that.

‘’They're the people who develop the new systems, so they’ve got over their working lifetimes an extraordinary important role really in our futures.’’

The climate change advocate, who has just started filming the fourth series of Coast for FOX History channel, said his message to UOW’s graduating engineers was to be ready to build a new future.

‘’We are probably using technology that none of us had ever thought of before. They are going to invent it and they will be transformative new technologies that will be cleaner, more efficient and better overall,’’ Prof Flannery said.

‘’These technologies will also help us move into a world where we are going to support 10 billion people by mid century.

‘’That’s why we need these young engineers to develop the systems that allows us to do that effectively and sustainable.’’