‘History teaches us that if we don’t learn by our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them.’ Over the past few years I have become increasingly interested in the environment and sustainability. This has come about due to becoming responsible for looking after protected land. I wish I was good at knowing about land management and when I come across people who do know a lot I am envious of their knowledge. Of course the only way to overcome this envy is to stay focused because there isso much to learn. Unfortunately I am a scatter brain. I get carried away with a curiosity that takes me into dead ends. I don’t think I am on my own because the more I learn about Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and the Internet I realise that there is a whole army of us who ‘lay waste our powers’ chasing dead ends. It’s all highly interesting and occasionally directs us to important causes that can lead to important outcomes. But all too often we are chasing red herrings. I am very good at chasing red herrings but on this occasion though I was repeating an old mistake in writing less and less about Francis I was pursuing a subject that was important to my understanding of how vital it is to come to terms with the predicament we are all facing regarding the environment. I felt, and feel, that although there are many voices that are speaking out on the fragility of the environment most of us are just burying our heads in the sand.