Tony Fearnside's background is in forestry. Several years ago when working for an international agency he asked his professional colleagues whether they were optimistic or pessimistic about our planet's environmental future: with one exception, all were pessimistic.
Generally things have not improved since then. Indeed Australians have not yet fully emerged from the syndrome "if it moves, shoot it; if it doesn't, cut it down". And have only just started to realise that a third aphorism "if it flows, dam it" is also causing environmental damage.
On a visit to China, the solution to attacks by a defoliating insect was to build nest boxes. Here we are still wondering why our trees are slowly dying .
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