Oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge of Alaska; minerals in unlogged forests of Congo and Gabon in Central Africa; new roads across the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Mayan forests of Central America; and oil palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. Seldom does a week go by without a news report on industry seeking government permission to build infrastructure and extract resources within the world’s last wild places.

Human society clearly wants raw materials to fuel economies of sufficient size to meet the needs of what will soon be nine billion people. Yet promoting the disturbance and degradation of the few places on the planet that remain intact and most resilient to climate change is, at the very least, short sighted.

Our neighborhood auto mechanic relies on a combination of technical skill and a slew of modern manuals to help him restore his customers’ cars back to working order after they’ve been dinged, dented, misused, and neglected. Yet all the manuals in the world can do nothing to repair a long-neglected vintage vehicle. For that only patience, humility, and faith in the car to reveal what it needs will do.

This is the predicament we face with nature – a crisis centuries in the making.

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