Biodiversity – the big disaster. The Anthropocene.

The tragedy of our destruction of biodiversity has been like a slow-motion car-crash that I have been observing throughout my life.

The destruction is ongoing, continuous and horrendous.

I have witnessed it in the UK and as I’ve travelled the world I have seen the evidence everywhere I have one.

In The UK.

The plants and animals I used to see regularly are disappearing fast. As a boy, I used to play in meadows full of wildflowers. I used to collect caterpillars, newts, frogs, toads, slowworms and grass snakes. They were common. Hedgehogs were everywhere. The fields were full of the buzz of insects. Big flocks of swifts and swallows swooped and fed. Streams were full of sticklebacks, dragonfly and caddis.

Those fields are sprayed with pesticide and herbicide. The streams are polluted or culverted. The hedgerows have been grubbed up, trees chopped down and ponds filled.

Where can the wildlife live?


The rainforests – the lungs of the earth – are disappearing at an alarming rate. Flying over the Amazon the sight of the vast areas of cleared forest is alarming. But the same thing is happening in Borneo, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Africa. What was once impenetrable jungle (only fifty years ago) has roads running through it. The loggers and hunters have moved in. The farmers follow. The forest, along with the creatures it supports, is burnt.

I was quite shocked by a statistic that came out of the David Attenborough programme last night concerning the biomass of organisms.

60% Livestock

36% Humans

4% Wildlife.

That is what we have done in the last hundred years.

Our seas are being denuded of fish by huge supertrawlers. Our rivers are likewise overfished. Travelling down the Mekong I was amazed to see that through the whole length there were fishing enterprises taking even the smallest fish to batter into fish paste. What hope is there?

In Vietnam, everything that moves is killed. Even the paddy fields have traps to catch and eat insects. The jungles were silent.

I am appalled by the cruel, inhumane way we treat animals. They are caged in tiny cages, driven mad and killed in the most horrendous ways – being boiled alive, skinned alive or cut open to extract blood or gall bladders. Such insensitivity.

What is wrong with people?

This is not sustainable.

The delicate balance of nature not only supports this wondrous array of life but provides our climate, our food, our oxygen and atmosphere that keeps us alive.

Already we are seeing the huge fires due to global warming, the floods, droughts, heatwaves and changes in air and sea currents.

Nature can bounce back but we have to help it. We have to stop the destruction, reduce our population, stop the waste, put back the forests, the ponds, streams and hedgerows and start to act responsibly (and far less cruelly).

I think we are on the brink.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 May 2016

Verified Purchase

The Serious Issues we have to address.

There are a large number of issues that we as a species need to deal with. These issues are not possible for countries to tackle on their own. There needs to be a unified approach. Some of these are so big that politicians do not want to tackle them. Many of them affect some regions more than others so it is easy for some politicians to ignore them – or even refute that they exist.

If we do not tackle these issues then, further down the line, I believe they are going to become huge issues.

All of these issues are solvable – though they would require quite a unified effort. How do we reduce population without imposing draconian policies on fertility? There are many solutions involving welfare and female education.

Here are the issues I think we should focus our minds on:

  1. Overpopulation

I think this is the biggest issue and one that underpins most of the others. The amount of pollution and use of resources is in proportion to the number of people. This leads to deforestations, overfishing, habitat loss etc.

2. Global Warming and Climate Change

The climate we have now is ideal for us. If it was to get colder or warmer that would be a disaster for us. Sea level rises would be devastating. Major weather events, desertification, droughts, floods, forest fires, melting ice, bleaching coral…….. It would lead to areas becoming uninhabitable and mass migration. It could lead to wars.

Whatever is causing global warming (and I do not think that is open to debate) if it is in our power to prevent it then we should put our energies into doing that.

3. Species extinctions and population crashes

All across the globe, we have major crashes in populations of insects, fish and mammals.

As insects form the basic diet of many food webs the decimation of insects leads to the crashes in populations of other animals. As we are part of these food webs we have a direct interest. If we value nature (as has been a feature of this lockdown) and want to see the swallows, hedgehogs and wild birds, we have to protect our insects. Insects are pollinators. For our crops and wildflowers, we need insects.

The loss of fish is due to overfishing and pollution.

The loss of mammals is due to habitat destruction, deforestation, desertification, loss of insects, hunting, poaching and fires.

4. Gross inequality and poverty

Increasingly, wealth is being accumulated into a small elite. With the advent of A/I this is likely to become a lot worse. There is more than enough to go around, yet we see millions still starving and living in abject poverty.

This poverty leads to the type of mass migrations we have been seeing in recent times.

The good news is that poverty levels have come down. We could eradicate poverty completely if we wanted to.

5. Pollution

We have seen the terrible impact of plastics in our environment. They are one of many pollutants. Our air is unbreathable in many cities. Our soil and water is full of chemicals. Habitats are destroyed. Animals are killed and we are poisoning ourselves.

We need stringent controls on industry to prevent this pollution.

6. War

As resources become rare, populations increase and tensions rise there is an increased risk of war. We have seen the repercussions of this with the wars in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq. While some people have literally made a killing, the rest of us have shouldered the economic burden and loss of life. We have seen uprising of religious fundamentalism, terrorism and political extremism. We have seen more refugees, populism, nationalism and isolationism and extreme political thinking.

Nobody ever wins a war. It costs us all. This vying for power between nations is plain stupid.

7. Pandemics

We are in the midst of a global pandemic which has devastated the world economy and caused immense disruption. This is just one of many we have had in recent times. We’ve dodged many a bullet – MERS, SARS, Ebola, Bird Flu, Swine Flu……..

These are not a new phenomenon but the numbers of pandemics are increasing and we know why. Our numbers and practices – such as hunting and logging – are opening up remote areas and bringing us into contact with animals that have viruses we have never encountered before. This is not a good idea. We should conserve those wild areas.

Catching and butchering wild animals in ‘wet’ markets is creating this problem.

We need to ban wet markets and the importation of wild animals. We need to control hunting, mining and logging.

8. Tax evasion and the Multinationals

The multinationals and wealthy elite have found numerous loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Trump won’t reveal his taxes because he knows he has been cheating and will be caught out. Multinationals are so powerful they simply play one country off against another and use powerful lobbying, bribes and corruption to weigh the rules in their favour. They buy off governments, pollute and do not pay their share.

The end result is that the rest of us have to pay more, that more people live in poverty, education and healthcare is worse, infrastructure is worse and local services are worse.

We need a global power capable of curbing the activities of the multinationals and wealthy elite. We need a fairer world and more accountability.

These people control the media, buy off political parties and dictate policy in their favour. They are getting away with murder. They ravage the planet and pollute for profit. They need stopping.

9. Asteroids

We know the earth regular gets hit by large asteroids which cause mass devastation (as wiped out the dinosaurs). A big one could wipe out all life on this planet. It could happen tomorrow or in a million years time. We have no way of knowing.

A sensible, intelligent people would use their science to provide early detection and a means of dealing with such an event.

10. Education and Science

The world is a complex place. Far too many people live in ignorance and superstition which holds us back. Science does not have all the answers (yet) but it can provide us with a lot of the solutions. Having a good education and understanding science and the world can dispel a lot of our problems. We could have functioning democracies, wise decision-making and better choices. We could have less suspicion and fear, less racism and xenophobia, less tyranny and a smaller population.

11. Racism, Sexism and Xenophobia

Black Lives Matter has illustrated the kind of world we live in. It is based on patriarchal institutionalised racism. That has to stop. We are one species. All cultures, races and people need valuing equally. There should not be a valuing of one gender over another or one race over another.  This artificial division is primitive, cultural, tribal and is holding us back.


I believe that human nature is good. Most people are compassionate and caring. It is the minority who are a problem – and that minority includes many of our political and religious leaders.

We could live on a planet in harmony with one another and nature, without extremes and with everyone have a good life with freedoms, work, creativity, pleasure and comfort. There could be plenty of adventure.

If we wanted.

I’m open to a debate!

We can!! – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’

So where are all those Punk kids that came round my house that day? Are they all boring adults? Are they still out on the edge? Have they still got the passion? Did they burn out and drop in?

Is there any purpose to this youthful rebellion and angst? Is it inevitable that we grow up and become boring adults caught up in the rut of making a living?

Where’s the wonder?

Where’s the awe?

Where’s the drive to grab it by the ears and wrench life’s head off?

Where’s the fury?

Where’s the desire?

Where’s the spirit that says ‘Fuck It’ every time you see something wrong!

Where’s the will to believe that all us human beings are not fuck-ups, we can learn, we can get better, we can put it right!

We don’t have to be vicious, superstitious greedy bastards!

We can share!

We can learn to live with each other!








Poetry – Welcome to Trumpville

Welcome to Trumpville


Welcome to Trumpville

The land of burning buildings

Teargas and clubs.


Hail the leader

Throwing petrol on the flames.

Urging the firing of guns.


Welcome to division.

Welcome to hate.

Welcome to the world of spin.


Welcome to Trumpville

The land of burning buildings

Teargas and clubs.


Opher – 1.9.2020

Poetry – A National Anthem

A National Anthem


Equality! Diversity!

A diverse people of hybrid energy!

Fighting for fairness

Down the centuries!


Honesty! Integrity!

A proud people, compassionate and free!

Respect of Nature

With its immensity!



Standing tall together.


United in life’s endeavour!


Equality! Diversity!

A diverse people of hybrid energy!

Fighting for fairness

Down the centuries!


Opher – 28.8.2020

Facing death – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

Happiness is cheating death.



I went to the mass X-ray unit. I wasn’t sleeping. The pain was worse and I kept breaking out in sweats. I wasn’t feeling good. Something was definitely wrong. I wanted to know what it was.

It was a simple procedure, they took a few snapshots and it was over in five minutes flat. The worst thing was the wait. It took over a week for the results to come through.

I had to pick them up from the doctor’s surgery.

I waited in the waiting room in a cold sweat. I was convinced that it was going to be bad news. I could feel the pain continuously now. Sometimes it was really painful. I was convinced I could feel it in the shape of a round tumour. There was no doubt. I tensed myself for the bad news. There was Liz to consider and the kids. I had to fight it. Who knows whether that was possible? Maybe something could be done! I was trying to be philosophical, but I did not want to die. I was too young! I DID NOT WANT TO DIE!!

I was eaten up with anxiety.

The results were clear. There was no tumour. There was nothing untoward.

The diagnosis was that my symptoms were psychosomatic caused by the death of my father the previous year. I had bottled it up. Although, there was a chance that it could be a gastric or bowel problem.



Happiness is fulfilment, satiation and love. Ah, to be in love!



The diagnosis did not allay my fears. It merely meant that my lungs were clear. There were other organs that a tumour could be gestating in.

The pain did not go away. I went back in for further consultation. The doctor could see I was suffering. He booked an appointment with a specialist.

The consultant examined me. He thought that it was probably psychosomatic but there was a chance that it could be a gastrointestinal problem and talked about displacement pain. He explained that such problems often manifested in the lower chest region. Maybe I had an ulcer. He arranged an endoscopic examination.

I was still convinced that I had cancer. Perhaps the tumour was in my stomach. I thought it was more likely in the liver where my father’s had been. The liver was situated under the rib cage. I reasoned that I would very likely feel it there – just where I was experiencing it.

I arrived at the hospital and undressed. I sat in the waiting room with a sorry bunch of individuals all waiting for the same procedure. We all wore those silly gowns that go on backwards and do not do up at the back so that your arse hangs out of them. What is that all about? I really could not see the practical reason. It certainly did nothing to ease your anxiety.

They wanted to give me an anaesthetic. An anaesthetic? I was quite shocked. I had thought that it was only a little tube down the throat. I didn’t want an anaesthetic. I asked if I could do it without needing a general anaesthetic. That was fine with the doctor.

It was also fine with me, up until I saw the size of the massive tube they were after shoving down my throat. Too late by then!

They sprayed the back of my throat with some local anaesthetic to stop the gagging process, and shoved the gigantic tube down my throat. They prodded and probed as I gasped and gagged. It was uncomfortable, it hurt and it made you feel panicky, but I began to relax and I could watch it on the TV screen which was fascinating and almost made it worthwhile. Once I had become used to it I was OK and the surgeon talked me through what he was looking for and what he was finding. My submucosa was healthy. Even I could not see any sign of a tumour. Neither could the doctor. There was no ulceration, no lumps or abnormalities.

“Looks healthy enough”, he said breezily, “no sign of problems.”

I was back to square one. I suppose I had been hoping for an ulcer. That would explain the pain but was treatable. Now I still had the pain but no explanation. Lungs and stomach/duodenum had been ruled out.

I still worried.



We are the biggest disaster that has ever hit this planet! By the time we have run our course we will have killed off a greater percentage of life here than any comet or natural disaster since the beginning of time.

Our priority is to ensure that we change and become less destructive; to ensure that my prophesy of our terrible effect on the rest of life does not come true; to ensure that the destruction we are wreaking is halted and we learn to live in harmony with each other and the world.

There’s nothing daft or soppy about that!

If we don’t learn how to do that we are, along with every other living thing, completely screwed!



The major problem is that we are too greedy. We are consuming too much of the world’s resources.

Try telling that to a meathead hell bent on owning the world and consuming it all. “Hey, look how important I am, yah! I own a castle, twenty Rolls Royces and a fleet of Lear Jets!”

But then we are all guilty.

How many tellies do you have?

Crazy isn’t it?



Happiness is when your endorphins flood your brain and tingle all your synapses.


Naïve and innocent – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

I don’t mind being considered naïve and innocent. I don’t mind being considered idealistic and over-ambitious. As human beings increase in numbers to swamp the planet their effluent and pollution threaten the entire biosphere; as hundreds of species become extinct each day; as areas of natural habitat are destroyed; as millions of human beings starve; as wars and conflict rage out of control and threaten the destruction of the entire planet; as religions and nations spawn terrorists and war – surely someone has to offer a more sane answer?

I believe the vast majority of people are good and do not want to cause such damage. So who is responsible?

Those smug rich bastards who run things, who look down their nose at do-gooders and environmental scum like me, who think that their way of life – snouts in the trough – has no end and that the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ are part of the natural way of the world, are the ones creating the problem – a tiny minority. We are surely not going to allow them to have the last say?

The human race is not going to be guided by such an arrogant, supercilious, ignorant, blind set of intelligent morons forever?

Is it?

That way is death.


Change – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

Some people travel to far off countries and take photographs of people and buildings from different times and cultures.



Because I was mouthy the staff voted me on to the governing body. I was the staff representative. They put me there to stir things up.

I did stir things up. I wanted the school to change. I wanted the students treated better. I wanted education to be expansive, caring and interesting. The governors at that time were a conservative bunch who resisted change.

It was apparent to me that the governors were ‘old boys’ who wanted to see the school run the way it was in the 1930s, the ‘good old days’. They wanted the kids to wear smart uniforms, get caned and know their place. They wanted the school to be selective, after all, what was the point of teaching ‘thick’ kids? They never wanted anything to change, least of all their power and authority.

I didn’t agree.

At my first meeting, I encountered one millionaire businessman governor who slagged off the present teaching staff as ‘lazy people who couldn’t hold down a job in the real world’. As the bastard had never stepped a foot inside the school when the kids were there, and didn’t have a clue about the planning and marking that took place out of lessons, and how hard the staff worked, I had to put him in his place.

After the meeting, the Chair of Governors, stopped me in the corridor, grabbed me by the throat and pinned me up against a wall, furious and shouting in my face. He called me a ‘trouble maker’.

I concluded that I had to be doing something right.

You have to laugh don’t you?

If you want to build a better world you’ve got to be prepared to change the old one. If you believe in equality you have to fight for it.

Remember; once you stop fighting to improve the situation, the bastards will use every means they can to wrest power away from you. They want their privileged position maintained. They want things to stay as they are.

These people are the same elitist group who’ve always run things. They do it in the background and are slippery like greased shit. They appoint the bosses and pull the strings. The bosses are the ones who take the flak. They are the front. The real power lies behind them.

One thing I rapidly discovered was that this was a game of attrition. A person cannot easily change the big things; you keep chipping away at the small stuff until you have created a successful momentum. The big stuff follows.



My old man was in charge of an office of telephone reporters. It was a very responsible job. He was good at it and he worked hard. Many of the people working under him earned more than he did. You see they had unions that fought for their pay. My old man was management. He had to rely on the goodwill of the bosses. He didn’t automatically get a pay rise.

When he died I found copies of some of the letters he’d written to request a pay increase: ‘could you see your way to’ and ‘following the efficiency’. It was pathetic. They saw the wording as weakness and never seemed to see their way to provide him with the pay increase he deserved. He should have adopted a stronger tone and demanded a pay rise. They would have respected that.

The person who took over from him started with a salary that was over twice the level of his pay.

It makes me mad. These people will always give as little as they can get away with. They are greedy. He deserved better than that.



Some people read books that are made up stories of the lives and adventures of fictional people.


Naivety and my friend Bali – Extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

I had been naïve and ignorant. My eyes were opened when I walked around town with my friend Bali – Mohamed Iqbal to give him his full title. I saw the rudeness first hand. I saw the way he could not get served in some shops. I saw the way a shopkeeper would put the money down on the counter in case they might touch his hand. Even when nothing was said you could see the loathing and hatred in their eyes.

He lived with that on a daily basis. He was intelligent and sensitive with a great sense of humour.

“How do you put up with it?” I asked.

“You just have to laugh,” he said. “If you let it get to you you’d become twisted. Not everybody is like it.”

“But doesn’t it make you angry? It’d make me feel like punching them! I’d want to get a gun and shoot the bastards.”

“I don’t know if that would solve the problem,” he laughed.

For all my ideals he is a better man than I am. I couldn’t put up with that level of abuse every day. I’d explode!