I’m an Australian forester. In May 1994, I married my Italian wife Alessia. In August 1998, Alessandro, with blonde hair and my mother’s deep blue eyes, was born and Luca, a small miracle with a true fighting spirit, followed in August 2001. In March 1999, I founded the Tropical Forest Trust, now The Forest Trust or TFT and I’m proud to still be working with that wonderful organisation today.
I grew up in Cranbourne, on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. Then a small, rural town, Cranbourne was surrounded by farms and animals and I determined at an early age that I would become a veterinarian. I loved animals, particularly my many dogs and our small backyard, resplendent with our magnificent outdoor thunderbox, was home to chooks, ducks, rabbits, pigeons, guinea pigs, a goose and the occasional pony and cow. I had a pet lizard for a while and collected tadpoles for sale to the local pet shop which my brother and I had robbed in the dead of night one evening when I was 8 years old, our convict heritage returning to haunt us. I wasn’t allowed to join the Scouts for fear that I’d be a bad influence on the other children.
Three days after my 15th birthday, I heard Richard St Barbe Baker, Founder of the Men of the Trees and global advocate for forest conservation and tree planting, then aged 90, on Australia’s ABC radio. St Barbe’s broadcast changed the course of my life and I set out then and there to become a forester. Challenges remained, such as getting to and then through University but I managed to graduate from the Australian National University Forestry School in Canberra in 1987. A Masters at Oxford University, where I met my wife, followed, my parents filled with emotion and pride. I loved my time at the ANU and it started a lifelong passion for speaking to people from diverse backgrounds. The ANU Student’s Union Bar was a hotbed for green thinking, feminism and many other “isms” not to mention a great place to meet people, usually over way too many beers, from all over the world. I also got to travel – my first ever trip abroad at age 21 – to Nepal to work on the Forestry School’s reforestation project for three months, a life-changing experience.
Great work experience in Tasmania was followed by two years in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta before my work as a consultant in the UK led me to TFT.
I am privileged to have worked in many countries and to have met many wonderful people.
I do worry, even despair sometimes, at the way people treat Nature and fear that we’re heading for the edge of a cliff as a species. Sadly, we’ll take many into the abyss with us. I wrote a long post on my perspective on that some years ago entitled “Between Two Worlds: Tears for the Unheeded Wisdom of Elders“. It still resonates today. Here’s a post of Past Post Highlights from scottpoynton.com with links to other past articles you might find of interest, that tell more of my thinking.