Clive Hamilton On Waking Up

Clive Hamilton On Waking Up

Author, public intellectual and professor of public ethics Clive Hamilton asks us to confront what it means to be human in a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene.

The reality of climate change is truly frightening. Humans have become so powerful that we have disrupted the functioning of the earth. Yet strangely and shamefully most people seem to be consumed by other, lesser concerns. What will it mean for us to wake up to the reality of climate change? How can we be inspired to action? What power do we still have to change the world for good?

Clive Hamilton is a renowned author, public intellectual and professor of public ethics. His latest book Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene argues that we need to rethink what kind of creature we humans are. We must face the fact that humans are at the centre of the world, even if we must give up the idea we can control the planet. These truths call for a new kind of anthropocentrism, a philosophy by which we might use our power responsibly and find a way to live on a defiant Earth.

The School of Life is proud to host Clive Hamilton for an intimate evening event exploring the great existential threat of our times and the future of humankind. We will explore our fear, grief, anger and helplessness alongside hope and an acknowledgement of the power that we still have to change the world.

Proudly presented in collaboration with Allen & Unwin.


18.15        Doors Open
18.30       Welcome & Introduction
18.40       Clive Hamilton: On Waking Up
19.00       Clive Hamilton in conversation with TSOL
19.30       Audience Q&A
19.50       Closing Remarks
20.00       Book Sales & Signing


Leading writers, economists, historians, philosophers, psychologists, artists and other thinkers offer provocation, inspiration and consolation in the form of advice for living better. Speakers for this strand have been invited by The School of Life to present their own material. Session formats will vary depending on the subject.



Clive Hamilton is an Australian author and public intellectual. Since 2008 he has been Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra. He was the founder of progressive think tank The Australia Institute and its Executive Director for 14 years.

Clive has held visiting academic positions at Yale University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, University College London and Sciences Po in Paris. He holds an arts degree from the Australian National University and an economics degree from the University of Sydney. He completed a doctorate in the economics of development at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

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), Silencing Dissent (edited with Sarah Maddison, 2007), Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth about climate change, (2010) and What Do We Want? The story of protest in Australia (2016). His latest book, Defiant Earth: The fate of humans in the Anthropocene, will be published by Allen & Unwin in April 2017.

In 2009 Clive was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his contribution to public debate and public policy. In 2012 he was appointed by the Federal Government to the Climate Change Authority.


General Admission: $35.00
Concession: $25.00
(+ $2 booking fee and 1.5% CC fee)

Please note there is no allocated seating for this event. 

Valid concession cards include a Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current student cards.  

Auslan interpretation can be provided for this event. If you require this service please book tickets and email


Clemenger Auditorium
National Gallery of Victoria
(Entry via North Court)
180 St Kilda Road
Melbourne VIC 3000 

This venue is wheelchair accessible.

Please note that this event will be photographed and audio recorded.


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