Monday, 25 June 2007



Welcome to the Survivalists' guide on how to tackle Global Warming. This is a biting, although mainly tongue-in-cheek, blog, aimed at amusing but scaring us into taking action to ensure the human race lives a bit longer than the 60 years some experts predict is all we have left to enjoy.

Yes folks, it's already starting. SHEFFIELD of all places.

Sad to say, but if the dam doesn't burst I think we're all going to forget about Sheffield and the flooding rather too quickly. Global Warming is so difficult to get our minds across that we would prefer not to think about it. Also, it really is part of our planet's natural cycle. While we're considering whether or not to build houses on flood plains maybe we ought to look at where we should be living when the water/sea level rises by several metres. Maybe now is the time to take action.

Sunday, 24 June 2007


Why give up the so attractive human form to become a creature lurking in dark waters at the bottom of the ocean?
A bit cold, you might think. True, but I doubt whether coelacanths view life in that way, otherwise they would have evolved into humans with arms and legs and joined us up here on the land.
Coelacanths can swim upside down lazily picking at their food all day long. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
So, how do you go about doing it? First, nip off to Oxford and find the top zoologist and ask for the whole package: minute details about lungs, body structure, scales and methods of hunting. You may as well bone up on that right now, as it could be a while before you find your fellow coelas swimming about in this ever growing ocean.
Next, take a trip to Harley Street, but do try to avoid the sharks swimming in this particular ocean. You need to find the finest plastic surgeon. Check your cash levels before you go, you might not be able to put pin numbers into machines once you’ve been done. Also, if you can get the surgeon to test his work in the ocean, all the better. It works and you’re off. It doesn’t and you still don’t have to pay. What you don’t want is for him to overcharge you and stick you in an indoor fishtank until you pay or the world ends. It might be an idea to get a friend to visit the specialist after the operation to check whether you’re in a tank or not. Perhaps they could threaten reporting the surgeon to the authorities and get you out that way. Better still, have the friend arrange to take you to the ocean the moment the operation’s over.
Don’t be tempted to swim up to a Caribbean beach and ogle the sunbathers. Bad idea. Too many fishermen. You might be caught, dried out, stuffed and placed in the special category of a famous museum.
Coelacanths have already survived one near total wipeout of the species. Pop down to where your fellow fish are swimming and ask how it was done. You’ve now survived Global Warming. Well done.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007


Not sure how you go about arranging this as his eminence the world’s finest Rock and Roll guitarist is notoriously difficult to make friends with – ask Sir Michael Philip Jagger.
Someone once said that after the world was destroyed in a nuclear explosion the only things left alive would be cockroaches and Keith Richards. Perhaps it’s his ability to combine cocaine with his father’s ashes, snorting the lot to no bad effect. Pity he later retracted the story. Ah well, he’s never been a slouch at publicity. After a lifetime of abuse to his body he seems fitter and stronger than ever. Certainly he puts most other mid-sixties men – and mid-Sixties – men to shame.
How does he do it? Keith’s tutorial is bound to keep you living by your wits. I doubt you’ll pass unless you are prepared to give as good as he would like you to take. Always remember that the aim of the game here is survival. Sometimes survival can be difficult.
I hear he does not touch the drugs these days. Do not worry. He will have something else to keep that brain young and lively. Your job is to find out what that something is and get it for yourself.
Here follow a few hints as to what he is now taking instead of copious quantities of illegal drugs. These days, Rolling Stones concerts get cancelled only when
Keef has been injured. The most recent one was falling out of a palm tree while gathering coconuts. That one’s easy. You can pick ‘em up for under a quid at the nearest Tesco, Asda or Morrisons. Probably Sainsbury’s as well. There isn’t one near me but I’m sure you will find a coconut or two somewhere. Still, it might be worth checking with Keef to see whether it was the milk or fruit from the coconut that he was after or whether it was the climbing of the palm tree that was the point of the exercise. If so, book a day trip to Kew Gardens. Maybe, knowing Keef, there’s a whole new world out there once you get acquainted with what you can really do with coconuts.
The previous concert cancellation injury was a damaged hand. Hitting someone, I hear you ask? No, not quite as Rock and Roll as that. He fell off the ladder in his American library. That’s a library as in books and America as in The United States of: Weston, Connecticut. You may rub your eyes.
Ok, take a minute. Are we ready to resume. New paragraph, I think. Cup of tea first? Go on, treat yourself.
Rock’s ultimate Bad Boy not only reads books but has a library that would outshine your municipal one, always assuming the council
hasn’t closed it and turned the building into a Music Download Centre. With internet access, of course, so you could look up a quote from a “BOOK” if you felt so inclined. He must read them, mustn’t he? That why he was up the bleedin’ ladder. Doubt he also does his own cleaning. Perhaps he was in a hurry to catch up on those books he had failed to read in the Sixties and Seventies.
One word of warning. Gaining an audience with
Keef is believed to be slightly more difficult than entering the presence of Osama. You now know. Although, personally speaking, I’d rather spend the dying years of the Planet hanging out with Keith Richards. Who knows, he might even get to like my songs.

Thursday, 31 May 2007


So the papers are full of the usual old horror story that the housing market is peaking and there is going to be a crash of between twenty and fifty per cent. Oh yeah! That, by any chance, the crash prophesied for last year? Or 200…, well forget the final digit, it’s been suggested by far too many gloomy experts for every year in this millennium.
So, it won’t happen. No, I’m not saying that, just that when it does you will be sitting pretty. Have you attended one of those property courses in big cities; Milton Keynes, perhaps? I know they cost an absolute fortune but was it not worth it? Go on, you’re not having to work anymore are you? All because you are a clever person, a property speculator. Although, you would rather I did not use that word ‘speculator’ because you do not see yourself as a speculator. You are brainy, a bit like Rothschild are Carnegie. Go on, flatter yourself. Who else could have been that clever over the past few years.
I bet hardly anyone else in the country knew that you could fake a Self-Certificated Mortgage. Well, why not? The renter paid the mortgage and you went off and bought another house. And every year it, or should I say they, doubled in value. You sold a few, bought more, rented more and now you have a whole property portfolio worth millions. Ok, most of it is mortgaged and right now you do not have a lot of liquid assets. That’s a temporary situation, after all houses always go up in value and never take that long to sell. You know this because when you were living in rented accommodation working at that shitty job just ten years ago you did a lot of research into the property market. That Porsche car you are driving around town in just proves the point. To think that not so long ago you were made redundant, you had never earned more than thirty thousand pounds a year and now you can spend that on a holiday. Wow, who’s the clever one, now?
All right, let us get real, here. This is not you, now is it? Go on, admit it, you are jealous. Wish you had thought to buy property on self-certification. Thank NuLabour for that, since during the time this party has been in power the number of British citizens owning their own home has fallen. That’s right, fallen. Why? Because the wise ones with the self-certs have been going round snapping up the flats and starter homes and renting them out. Those who got in and got out have done extraordinarily well. But, they haven’t really, now have they? Think about it for a couple of nanoseconds.
The reason why the property market has gone through the roof is two-fold: easy access to low-cost money and no need to prove an income. That was all it took. And that was also all it took to send the British financial system into meltdown.
A proper government would wake up to the fact that this had been going on and if it had any social conscience whatsoever it would have penalised these people in order to allow other poorer, hard-working citizens to afford a roof over their heads.
Why did it not do so? One reason, and one reason only, is that it made the majority of the country, including its newspaper commentators, think that the economy was booming. Indeed, the access to easy money did help the economy, but only in the short-term. It was the biggest economic mistake ever and will soon be recognised for its importance in changing British society for ever.
So, why am I suggesting that at the end of a rising market you should join these people? Simply because they and their government are not living in the real world. If you are not living in the real world you will not even recognise Global Warming when it hits you in the face. March ever onwards with head held high into total ignorance. Be not afraid. You are a fool and others will steer well clear of you when the time comes for disaster. Either that or you will be destroyed before you can even admire yourself for one last time in that magical mirror that reflects only what your imagination brings to its surface.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007


I don’t mean stop widdling as in block the exit, I mean do something about the way you get rid of it.
After all, animals don’t need toilets. Pets are trained to use a version of them: the cat litter, the rat litter, the budgie bottom of the cage. What about dogs? Don’t they go out onto the back lawn, or the front pavement? Otherwise there would be no market for pooper scoopers. Wild animals are not spending their time driving round in ever frantic circles in their 4x4s looking for a public toilet. They feel full, they let it out. Much more healthy. So why don’t we do the same?
It’s no good groaning. We are talking about the end of the world as we know it. Get a grip. A little thing like widdling in the park is not going to hurt, surely?
The seas will rise up and the mountains will fall. Well, the seas are definitely on the rise thanks to the melting of the polar ice caps and there may be a few more earthquakes. What will this mean for us? The rise in the height of the seas will devastate coastal areas. Time to sell the Florida and Norfolk mansions and move inland.
The real problem will come with the reduction in fresh water. Supplies are going to dry up across Africa, Europe and parts of the Americas. This will cause a mass migration of human souls across the continents to find fresh water supplies.
It is therefore paramount that we do all we can to preserve what water we have and that means wasting not one drop on ablutions. Grow a beard, don’t shave. I could carry on in that vein but you know what I mean. Those of you with freshwater butts will be laughing right now. You will be ok, won’t you? No, you won’t. That freshwater will be like a honey trap for a swarm of bees. The marauding flock of humans with the odd laptop linked to Google Earth will be searching for you. Time for you to move. The best option is to find a natural spring on a farm and then pretend you are desperate for water supplies. That might fool most of the people for most of the time. Rivers will be at a premium and huge encampments will be set up along their borders. It will become important to protect this water from waste but there will be no time to construct elaborate toilet and washing facilities. The important point here will be to find a place a long way away from the river so that the pollution does not run into the water table and ruin the river.
You will need to look on fresh water as you now consider petrol when the car is running low on fuel. You don’t find the nearest petrol station and put a litre or two in the tank and then fill a container with a few more litres to take off to the November the Fifth bonfire and spread it around for a great fire, now do you?
So, learn to treat water as the most precious jewel in the world. Preserve, preserve and preserve.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007


I can see you were not wholly convinced by the unreality of the housing market. That shows intelligence. You may be poor but you are not stupid. Good. Now let us look a real alternative to Global Warming.
Go up into the mountains, where there’s snow, maybe even a glacier or two, and you will be able to monitor the progress of GW, see what is going on long before those living down in the cities and on the plains.
That gives you an initial advantage. Now, here comes the truly clever bit. You are going to find a well-built wooden hut with concrete foundations somewhere near the top, above the first trees. You must not risk trees or snow or ice from crushing your new home.
Keep it secret and stocked with food. Then start spending longer and longer watching the snow and ice melt. You will be able to notice quite quickly how fast Global Warming is happening. Once the mountain sides are bare thanks to the avalanches ripping down the trees and destroying the villages in the valleys you will be free to roam about, knowing there will be no living humans in the vicinity.
Take some friends so you can watch out for the mobs. They are bound to come along at some point. When that happens make sure that you are armed with logs to roll down the mountainside to clobber them with. They’ll soon take the hint and move off to the next mountain. A similar kind of approach worked for Robinson Crusoe.

Monday, 28 May 2007


Here's just one of the warning sites. Dismiss it or agree with it. Up to you. Most of us won't be around by then so, as some might say, why worry? Why indeed?


Enough of the heavy stuff. Back to the real world. Go on, turn on the telly. Let’s see what we’ve got to entertain us right now.
Oh dear, is that it? Bit boring.
Who the hell’s presenting that programme? Never seen her before. Come to think of it, not seen hardly anyone on these satellite or digital channels. Where have they come from? Are they training to be real television personalities or have they been on terrestrial television and faded away?
Here’s a possibility. The audiences for most of these channels can be counted on the fingers of a damaged hand. The presenters may well be brilliant but they are able to walk down Oxford Street without getting a second glance. A bit like a regional television personality taking a holiday in another region. Unknown. Not unloved, not incapable but simply not a presence registering in the minds of the ‘Foreign’ region.
So, become a satellite or digital television presenter and guarantee your anonymity when the worst comes to the worst. Not only will you be safe from prying eyes wondering whether you’re wealthy enough to attack but you will have the advantage of having spent your entire adult life inside a television studio and therefore even your closest neighbours will not recognise you. A simple trick to enhance this ‘close contact ignorance’ will be to always use a lot of make-up when you are on television. Most people do. And follow the example of the others and use a lot of hair dye. Then, when things get hairy as the mobs start searching for people to rob, let the hair go natural and wash the face with soap and water. You’ll be invisible. Also, since you’re not going to be earning a fortune in digital or satellite, you’ll be living in a poor area where the population will be moving out to rob the mansions and farms of the wealthy.

Sunday, 27 May 2007


Now here’s a thought. Sorry, couldn’t avoid the pun. Seriously folks, we are nothing if not a brain.
To start with, a true but terribly sad story. I once shared a home with a Special Care Baby Unit nurse. Her job was looking after babies with serious problems. When I came home from work fuming at the day’s traumas a word about her day was enough to put me firmly in my small place in this massive firmament. Part of her day was always spent comforting the parents of babies who had died or who would never grow into perfect adulthood, never mind suffer the terrors of the teenage years.
One month, though, she was particularly quiet, almost as though she had lost the power of speech. I left her for a while until my curiosity could stand it no longer. What was wrong?
She was not the tearful sort. A kind of tough London Irish lass whose skill was in working out the best methods of dealing with these babies 24/7. A highly emotional tearful nurse would have simply made matters worse. So, it was without tears that she recounted the following sad story.
For weeks the unit had seen the same problem in nearly a dozen new-born babies. To all intents and purposes there was nothing wrong with these babies. They looked utterly normal, with their internal organs functioning perfectly the moment they were born. I stress ‘the moment’ they were born, because that was about the best it was going to be.
Only when they were looked at closely, face to face, did their particular problem become apparent. They had perfect, beautiful baby faces, but no obvious emotion. These babies had been scanned in the womb and were scanned at birth. There was no getting away from the truth about their condition. Modern medical technology made sure that there was no room for doubt.
These little ones were all coming into this world intact but missing an organ that was vital to their existence: the brain.
Where there ought to have been a baby’s brain there was nothing but fluid. The brain stem ended and led to nothing. She told me that it was so heartbreaking to inform the parents that what looked like a perfect baby was anything but and then she had to prepare the parents for the baby’s inevitable death.
Many theories, some of them wild some of them not so wild, were put forward for this incredible event. The condition itself was not unheard of in medical circles. What was so unusual was to have a cluster, particularly a large cluster. The problem was linked to intense radioactivity around military bases but whether there was any truth in this was never established. My friend had never come across a brainless baby before and within a matter of months was not to come across one again.
Sad but very true that what we are as human beings is not a body but a brain. We seem to spend so much time looking at television, or reading magazines and newspapers worrying about how we look, whether it’s our size, our face, our legs, our noses, our hair that somehow we seem to have lost the reasoning to understand that this is all perceived within the brain. And that without a good brain we may as well become an animal in the field waiting to be slaughtered to provide food for human dining tables.
There may be an evolutionary effect here that we are only now starting to understand, although there have been strong hints about it in our history. Think of Christ’s words in the Bible about how ‘thought’ leads to deeds. There are many other instances where we are warned from childhood onwards that a bad thought will almost inevitably lead to a bad deed, so we must guard ourselves from evil thoughts.
The human being is a thought machine. We worry now about Global Warming. Quite rightly, because it is far too early in the history of this planet to accept that life may become impossible. What we really ought to be worrying about is the real fact that Planet Earth has a sell-by date. The sun is going to burn out, frying everything on the Earth’s crust, including the crust itself most probably, before going dark and cold, leaving Earth as another lost and lonely planet like all the others we can see hovering around us.
A thought, to digress. This may have been the fate of some of the planets in our solar system. It may also have been a fact that some form of life from those dying planets was able to make it across space to reach Earth in its younger days.
Digression over. All human life, if we truly value the lives of our descendants in the way we value the lives of our children and grandchildren, ought to be concentrated on finding a way off Earth, to somewhere more hospitable in a few billion years time.
Why don’t we? Simply because the end of life on earth is just so far away that we find it difficult to comprehend. Also, we can say that once we have solved the basic problems of feeding and watering the entire race after first abolishing war and all tribal/racial conflicts, we will be able to devote the next billion or so years to finding a new home.
Wish that were true. The evidence so far is that some of us humans will simply amass greater and greater wealth with the rest acting as slaves to service these ‘Super Humans’.
Let’s look at our options. Arthur C. Clarke, a wise man indeed, believes we might be able to fix a sort of elevator to the moon. I think what we really need is to establish who we are as human beings and work on that. We all know that the speed of human thought is far faster than any form of communication with other humans. Occasionally we witness how a thought can be expressed faster than words or actions. Think about falling in love across a crowded room. No words, no actions, just two pairs of eyes locking onto each other and exchanging the most powerful emotion known to humankind.
Think again of how fast our brains operate when we are in great danger. Those of us lucky enough to have survived a major road accident while remaining conscious often remark on how long the process took.
A ten second crash might be perceived as though it had taken half an hour, with our senses well aware of the headlights spinning upside down and lighting the tops of the trees we were hurtling through.
Scientists say what happens is that our perception speeds up, not that time slows down. Of course, time does not slow down. Well, does it? I shall tackle that thorny issue later in the book. Time is not quite the exact creature we dumbly accept. Often, when we are facing this great danger we are not in any way scared. Does our brain know something we do not? Can it tell that we are going to escape with minor bruising? If not, why are we not shaking in our boots?
Let’s imagine for one moment that we are going to come out of this accident with a badly damaged body but an unhurt brain. Will we be any the less of a human being? Clearly not. So we don’t have to have a complete set of arms and legs, and several internal organs, to make us a human being. What we do need to function is a brain, preferably in good working order.
When we look at space we realise that it is going to be an incredibly difficult task to travel. Our bodies may die before we reach our destination. Cue Science Fiction novel. No, seriously, that may be one way to travel but then again, we do not yet know what lies at the end of space. Nor whether there is an end to space. It is beyond our comprehension as human beings. But it is surely not beyond our comprehension to believe that we could one day communicate with each other solely by the use of thought.
We are constantly evolving and have many millions of years to train ourselves to becoming pure thinking beings. When we consider the pleasures of the flesh, they are all realised inside our heads. Then, it can only be a small step to work out how we can exist as thought outside the body. Our brains will produce a pure ‘Thought Human’ that no longer needs a body. Once that has been achieved we can travel anywhere within space. It will not take time, any time. We will simply be there.
Scary, isn’t it? We may also discover millions of other life forms doing the same as us.
Now that would be the ideal way for us to escape Global Warming.


You what? I hear you say. The homeless, those dirty smelly failures who litter the main streets of our beautiful cities.
Yes I do. Go back and read the previous sentence. Notice how you agreed with every word. Okay, I’ll ignore the liberal-minded supporters of Shelter and just hang loose with the rest of you. You see, I bet you are struggling to remember the last time you saw a homeless person. Wait one more moment. Ah, you’ve got it. That one beside the Strand tube station. But what day was that? Tuesday, or Monday, or was it Friday? And what week, month, year? I could go on. If a camera had been following you since that moment you would have passed a couple of hundred of them and not noticed.
A recent survey found that there was precious little sympathy with tramps and other homeless people. Those surveyed blamed these men, women and children for the plight they were in. Always nice to feel so sanctimonious when there’s a roof over your head, heat in your house, food in your belly and work five days a week. Aren’t you the clever one? Wait a few years until the boss starts downsizing, the wife kicks you out and or even something bad or tragic happens to you and your life.
You see, the beauty of this plan is that the homeless are invisible. They walk the streets of our towns and cities day and night, sleeping when allowed to in shop doorways or corners of public parks. Hardly any of us expects to be attacked by them but we give these people a wide berth because, horror of all horrors, not only have they not bathed that day but they probably have not washed for months. Therefore, they smell. And that smell might be catching.
There’s also the little thing about begging. How dare they ask us to give them money for nothing. Do we get given money for nothing? No, we do not. We have to work long and unsociable hours under great duress to earn our pay. And so what if we take home bonuses worth large detached central London houses. We used our brains to earn that, no matter what the newspaper wingers may say. Even if we are just on a couple of hundred thousand a year, most of that goes in tax, housing and education costs, horses and paddocks and the running of a BMW, a Mercedes and a sports car of our choice.
The tramp might be up before dawn but at least he or she can promptly turn over in their doorstep, pull the cardboard, which probably came from one of our own purchases, across their face, and fall back into a deep slumber. Oh bliss.
So, if you want to escape the marauding hordes come GW Day then become a member of this invisible group. About the smell – get used to it. Either that or you’ll be smelling out the neighbours with your decaying body. That is, assuming the neighbours have not joined you in the pit.

Saturday, 26 May 2007


I see your eyes lighting up. Yes, this could well be your best method of survival so far. Let’s review the options as Global Warming kicks in and the great rush starts to find a place of safety away from the crowds and close to food and water.
If you are on the surface of the earth the chances are that you are going to be found by a group that will think nothing of trying to kill you for the ‘Diamonds of Life’ you possess.
So, what to do apart from burrow below like the animals thinking nothing of such activity to live their lives in peace.
The marauding mobs are out to get you. They will be searching high and low
but the chances are they are not going underground. For one, it’s darned scary. Lots of these old coal or tin mines are treacherous places. You don’t want to be stuck down one with the precious supply of oxygen being sucked into your lungs and reappearing as carbon dioxide. Secondly, and more importantly, there’s no food down there. So, the mobs are not going to be climbing down after you.
Here’s the rub. You take the food down now. I mean now. Don’t think you can leave this until the skies turn dark, the storms batter the windows and the seas rise up. Too late. Tesco’s is empty, looted when the first warning came through. To survive underground you are going to have to plan, to think ahead, probably for several months if not years. Remember to take a can opener. That’s all, folks. You have survived.
One last point, take some oxygen cylinders, just in case some fool mountain collapses on your exit point to the upper world and really does threaten your existence here on Earth.

Friday, 25 May 2007


That sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it? What, I hear you say, join forces with the World’s Number One Enemy. Are you mad? Look at it like this: the combined forces of the world’s most powerful military machines have been using everything from satellites to spies trying to pick the one spot on Planet Earth where Osama is now living. They’ve failed. And yet if you go out into the back garden of your Californian home for a crafty drag on a ciggie all the wife’s got to do is go onto Google Earth and she’s caught you, puffing away behind the proverbial bike shed. So, what’s Osama got that you haven’t?
Something good, you can be sure of it. What happens when Global Warming kicks in and the population starts running out of food and safe places to live is that there’s going to be a rush for a secure home. That’s where our good friend Osama comes in.
If the worst happens, and according to some commentators that means the better part of six billion dead out of a population of about six and a half billion, you can bet good money you are going to be one of them. Unless, of course, you are so well hidden that the marauding murderers out for your stock of food, or, worse still, determined to cook and gobble you up, cannot find you.
Have a word with Osama’s friends and get him to offer you safe passage. A word of warning: you’re going to have to produce more gab than an Irishman who’s kissed the Blarney Stone twice a day since birth.
Obviously you’re taking a risk of being killed. But, heck, that’s gonna happen anyway. So why not get it over and done with. Try to avoid being tortured to death: carry a card in Arabic explaining that you are not a CIA spy sent to find Osama but simply an individual worried about Global Warming who wishes to hide from the same marauding mobs chasing after Osama himself. I’m sure he’ll understand. At least you can be assured that he knows what it’s like to be “hot”.
Try to take him some presents. This depends on the size of your pocket and your particular feelings as far as giving presents is concerned. Nothing too bulky, remember you’re probably going to have to cross a couple of massive mountains. Ice cream and other cooked goods are probably no good as they’ll be long gone by the time you arrive, unless you can hitch a ride in a helicopter, but that’s unlikely. Think about a few board games, preferably with translations, so you can while away the years until it’s safe for both you and him to return to where civilization used to live.
There are certain advantages to this choice. Once six billion people have been wiped out on Planet Earth there are going to be some changes to the life you once led without thinking about it. For example, the rubbish collection is unlikely to be every other week. The advantage of this will be no council snoopers checking to see if you have recycled all your plastic, glass, cardboard and tin.
The isolation you will have led on the Afghan/Pakistan mountains will shape you up immensely for the journey back to Europe or America. There, you may well find life not much more different than your mountain hideout. And, if you play your cards right, you might persuade Osama and his gang to accompany you, for protection against the few remaining wild humans roaming the plains.


Welcome to the Survivalist's guide on how to tackle Global Warming. This is a biting, although mainly tongue-in-cheek, blog, aimed at amusing but scaring us into taking action to ensure the human race lives a bit longer than the 60 years some experts predict is all we have left to enjoy.

About Me

Author of fantasy, thriller and adventure novels attempting to cast light on the human experience. Planet Earth is here to stay - but are WE?