Thanks to my sister Michelle McIlroy for designing the logo!


Ever since I was a child, I have been very interested in nature and the environment. I have a B.S. degree in wildlife biology, and have worked as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist, and ecologist. I am conducting a brief survey of world leaders, government officials, religious leaders, corporate CEOs, environmental groups, wildlife experts, and others regarding nature and the environment. I am also very interested in religious views, customs, and beliefs from around the world, and the interactions between religion, culture, society, and the environment. This is something I am doing out of personal interest, and is not connected to any group or organization. I have been working on this project since the summer of 2006, and hope to eventually turn it into a book and/or documentary. I am hoping to make this into a global project, with responses from all segments of society. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments. If you have not already done so, I hope that you will consider taking part in my project, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks for stopping by!


July 23, 2006

Leon Zann

Professor/Head, School of Marine Studies, University of the South Pacific, Fiji

Today’s Date: 24 July 2006

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Not one but three life-changing natural experiences:
1. The first time I looked into a rock pool (at home, Australia, 1950?), when I was aged 3 years.
2. My first dive on a coral reef (Heron islands, Great Barrier Reef, 1966)
3. My first visit to a coral reef in Fiji (Jan 1979)

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

The rock platforms and sandy beaches of my home in Northern NSW Australia.

Now? Pacific coral reefs, especially the atoll countries

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is, and why?

(It seems a perverse one) The venomous, coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci. They represent what we know, and what we don't know about coral reefs. I have spent half my life in long-term studies, and managed the Barrier Reef Marine Parks research and control programs.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

I work at the Uni South Pacific where half our 12 member countries are small oceanic islands or atolls. Their challenge is isolation, vulnerability, lack of terrestrial resources, growing populations, high cost of fuel etc. They face not just a real threat of global climate change but day-to-day survival, lack of potable water, gastro-infections, diabetes etc. Small islands are regarded as scientific ‘natural laboratories' where we see in microcosm the big issues of the planet. It does not look good I am afraid.

5. If you could give everyone one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Limit growth of human populations, and develop realistic objectives in development (in both developed and developing countries).

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