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The environment is the loser in the distribution of the massive funds of the Commonwealth government's Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) that are targeted at non-scientific groups that claim to know both our environmental problems and their solutions. The beneficiaries of the NHT are hundreds of separate community groups across the country, most of which have neither the research and investigation skills to undertake the work in a manner that can assess whether their efforts on local environmental issues have been successful, nor the infrastructure to extrapolate general conclusions from their findings and apply them to a wider geographical region. The tragedy is that what should be a partnership has become a source of conflict. The aim in this chapter is to be provocative so we can fruitfully suggest positive ways of tackling the major environmental issues facing us all. In order to make any satisfactory progress towards a more sustainable future, we need to acknowledge the clashes of paradigms that exist in society and among community conservation groups and research-based conservation endeavours, and attempt to resolve them. One of the tools that helps us see the world more clearly and offers testable solutions for a better future is a scientific research model. All members of the Australian community who aspire to see our native fauna and flora survive intact for future generations will recognise the need for a research component to that vision. Without research, we are merely stumbling around in ignorance rather than learning from our past endeavours and conquering the problems.

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