1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?
I’d have to say it was the first deer I hit with a car. My kids were in the back seat and broke into major tears; I called the cops and they just yawned; I talked to other motorists nearby and nobody cared. I came to the realization that you just can’t put too much emotional attachment onto forest creatures.
2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?
Smoky Mountains; Canadian
3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?
Australian animals like Platypuses and Koalas, mostly because they’re different and far away, and thus have a somewhat romantic cachet.
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?
Right now, there are still way too many children in poor countries dying of minor diseases like diarrhea, which are fully curable/preventable. The advanced countries need to devote a higher percentage of their income to helping the extremely poor countries.
The toughest challenge for the medium-future is going to be convincing people to use nuclear power. Most people have an irrational fear of nuclear power that causes them to dream about “renewable” energy sources, while doing nothing to actually change anything.
For the more distant future, the fact that world oil production is going to peak will cause panicky nations to exploit other resources very inefficiently (shale oil, etc) and their haste will damage the environment.
5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?
Remember that mankind is the “stewards” of all creation, and therefore has to THINK very carefully when trying to balance the needs of people with the preservation of nature.