Australia boasts the oddest assortment of plants and animals on Earth, and yet we are pushing many of them to the brink of extinction. The reasons have to do with overcrowding and over-exploitation. We have demanded more of this fragile continent than it should ever have expected to deliver: put simply, there are more people in Australia today than the country can support, and the full economic and social impact of that situation has yet to be appreciated. David Smith argues passionately that if the beauty and intricacy of our natural heritage is better appreciated through understanding,then conservation will follow quite naturally. We can no longer get away wtih the former colonial attitude of rip in, rip off, and race away. We have no choice now but to move in the direction of self-sustaining use of our natural resources; in this Australia could become a model for the rest of the world. To do otherwise is to court certain disaster.