Released from the technology section of the BBC News this morning, I read about the use of wasps to control crop pests. A number of farmers in Brazil have swapped chemicals for wasps, in a country that has recently outgrown the US as the largest consumer of pesticides. "Egg-spraying" from a plane is just a trial - at the moment, the wasps' eggs are put on pieces of cardboard and distributed throughout the fields of sugar cane.
In my youth spent in Australia, I remember scientists released myxomatosis in mosquitoes to control the rabbit plague. The poor creatures suffered a painful death. Recently, the boffins looked into using radiation to sterilise fruit flies, a pest in many places. Researchers at Oxitec, a spin-off from Oxford University, have done it recently to mosquitoes, genetically modifying them to fight the insects destroying trees.
Also, in 1935 cane toads were taken to Australia from South America to fight the cane beetle - an insect harmful to sugarcane crops. But since the toads can consume almost anything, their population exploded, quickly reaching more than 200 million and harming local wildlife. "That was an act of insanity, really, against all of the scientific knowledge at the time," says Dr Shaw.
Mankind can't help tampering with nature. What do ordinary people do in their own environment? Maybe we shouldn't use pesticides on our garden plants and chemicals to wash our hair. Could we ever go back?