This week James Lovelock was in conversation with the journalist and writer Tim Radford in front of a packed audience at the RSA. His latest book The Vanishing Face of Gaia is currently 22 on Amazon â€“ a remarkable achievement for a book which is not exactly a laugh a page.
In fact both James and Tim were full of humour at the RSA event, so itâ€™s a moment before some of the facts sink in. People next to me suck in their breath at Jimâ€™s prediction of one billion people on earth by the end of the century. We are around six billion at the moment. I join the breath suckers. Five in six of us. Iâ€™m pretty sure I heard him say that India will pretty much be gone entirely. If heâ€™s right.
If heâ€™s right â€“ this is left hanging in the air and hanging in the balance.
Today a headline in The Guardian reads â€œObama pulls back on early climate change legislationâ€. I see this just as Iâ€™m trying to write a positive statement for the Business Council for Sustainable Development, ten years focusing on the practical implementation of sustainable development values. Thereâ€™s so much progress that has been made and now is the time to build on that, rather than gloom up on the worst case scenario. But nor should we forget it. Just as apathy had terrible consequences for so many in the Second World War, so could complacency in the face of this centuryâ€™s challenges.
Note to self, get on WattzOn.com and see how youâ€™re shaping up Crimmin before tub thumping any further.
Photo: Gansu Province, China, 2007 by Susannah Sayler, used courtesy of The Canary Project. Photo taken following the 2006 drought, Chinaâ€™s worst in 50 years. This is the former site of Qin Tu Hu Lake.