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Is it a possibility that humans are unable to preserve their natural environment in spite of their understanding of the conseqences of their actions?

BBC2's 'QI' a couple of months ago included a piece on how sailors returning from the Galapagos Islands with specimens for the west couldn't help themselves but eat the Giant Tortoises they'd got on board - they'd travelled thousands of miles there and back only to return with large empty shells.

Secondly there is the evidence from North America - between 10 and 40000 years ago a mass extinction occured where over 50% of the mammals died out. Recent research suggests this was a consequence of human migrants (after the last Ice Age) finding a food source (mammals) which had developed no evolutionary fear of human hunters. Faced with an abundance of protein, instead of moderating their hunting, our ancestors ate the lot.

I would suggest that we're not very good at preserving our resources. And the rainforest is, like the Galapagos tortoises or the North American Mammals, too good to stop devouring.

However

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9672048.stm

might suggest a little hope.

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