Survivors’ Guide: Introduction & Climate Change

Guide here was meant to be guide as in guide book. But it has been suggested that some information about the Guide would make sense. Here goes…I’ve cheerfully survived:

– World War II, living between a bomber aerodrome and the port of Hull, the worst bombed city in Britain after London

– 18 years living in rural England on the mud flats and marshes of the Lincolnshire bank of the River Humber, both as school boy and farm laborer

– Four years reading Medicine at Edinburgh University until horror at the sight of blood finished that aspiration as we moved on to Surgery

– Over thirty years working in the National Health Service, latterly as a change agent involved in opening a major teaching hospital, the John Radcliffe in Oxford and closing Friern Hospital, North London’s enormous prestigious psychiatric hospital and replacing it with extensive community mental health services in Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey and Islington

– Opening a Vegetarian Hotel and Restaurant close to Camembert in one of the most intensive meat producing parts of Normandy and now helping with the cooking and gardening at a Guest House in Northern France.

This last has allowed time and space for travel, writing and thinking. It is thinking that has led to the conclusion that further survival, not just of me but of the whole of humanity, is by no means certain….a bridge not far enough?   Like le pont d’Avignon.


Survival is a daily chore. Survival requires recognition of all the risks we take all the time. We are good at avoiding risks. But some risks can overtake us because of their stealth and enormity.

Now two such risks loom over us all the time. We can avoid the consequences of these risks by focused action. However, we prefer to ignore them because of the effort involved. We think the risk of Global Warming destroying us and of War damaging us are too slight to bother about seriously. Avoiding thinking about either has stunted our development all our lives or we wouldn’t think in this way.

We can only survive as a species if we think as a species. Multibillionaires can form cliques of luxury and power but are parasites, meaningless pariahs, without the rest of us to earn for them. Nevertheless our concern is unlimited respect for everyone without exception, even the meaningless pariahs.

Hopeful signs are like the advent of Spring. Many people world-wide are taking action. However, for humanity to survive it’s essential to expand collective action rapidly to involve us all. We all have our part to play.

This is were risk analysis can focus attention. Risk analysis is complex. It evaluates each of hundreds of variables in a selected scenario and applies the value resulting. Variables thought insignificant may, after serious consideration, be recognized as powerful and vice verse. The conglomerate result of all the evaluated variables results in the level of risk.

This is not a calculation done one side of a sheet of paper during coffee break. Costly risk analysists, programmers and computer time are required. Risk analysis is a tool used all the time by Banks and Corporations. What is the advantage of investment here rather than there? Should we invest in the fossil fuel industry exclusively or ought we to start to switch to renewables?

Goldman Sachs, no novices at this game, have decided Global Warming is for real, is man-made and the wise guys need to start to put their money into renewables. The amount keeps going up. £150 billion at the last count.

What’s good enough data for Goldman Sachs is surely good enough for all of us!

Renewables are in.

Unfortunately, to date, fossil fuels are not out.


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