Monthly Archives: August 2017

Reasons to be Cheerful Part 1?

On holiday many years ago, I went out off the Welsh coast in a small boat. We weren’t far off shore when we hit choppy waters; not unduly so but, for me, worrying. I asked my partner at the time why we couldn’t just get out of the area and have a smooth voyage. She then pointed out to me that, if I cared to look, the water was choppy as far as the eye could see. There was, in fact, little way of “getting out of it”. Similarly with this small planet that we live on.

For its inhabitants, it has been bountiful and incredibly supportive of life. In fact, in the vast and inhospitable wastes on interplanetary space, it’s a haven like no other that we yet know of. It is, as they say, in the “Goldilocks Zone”. However, even within that zone, we humans live within, what can best be described as, the peel on the orange. At which point, you do have to ask how many of us can Planet Earth support in the longer term and just how much, in the way or raw materials and energy, can we dredge up and utilise in the pursuit of the lifestyle that many of us have become used to? This especially when many of the items we then produce can be detrimental to living things.

So for many of us, the world might seem to be in a mess these days. Whether it’s climate change, threatening our very existence, religiously inspired terrorism, now predicted to last a generation or more, the threat of a nuclear exchange with North Korea, down to little things like our proposed exit from the EU, the signs are there. Indeed, these are among the reasons that I’m a, somewhat, pessimistic optimist.

Yet you could also argue that the main difference between the modern world and that of the past is our global interconnectedness and the immediacy of modern communications. The result of which is that we, not only know what is happening in other parts of the world, but that we are made immediately aware of it; something that then affects us in ways that it might not have done in previous generations. After all, the 14th century, has been dubbed “the worst century ever”, with climate change, the reduction in crop yields and an environmental and social crisis which increased the gap between richer and poorer families in each village. Then along came the Black Death which led to a near 50% reduction in the population of the country. This situation transformed Europe, such that low level struggles between landowners and those who worked the land turned into mass revolt.

So, are there any reasons for optimism? Well, if I’m honest, right now, I can’t see many. Although that’s not really so as I do see extremely positive social changes along with technological advances which are amazingly transformative and more sustainable. However, what is really needed is sufficient time; what, I think, Carl Sagan described as a race between education and ignorance. If humanity wins that race, there are grounds for optimism. However, I would suggest that you don’t hold your breath.

Let’s hope that there are more reasons to be cheerful when I next blog.

On Getting Older

When you’re young, you have your whole world in front of you; a situation that diminishes as the years go by. The usual response to this, at least in my own experience, was that this wasn’t something that needed to concern me unduly. Indeed, it didn’t concern me at all. Old age was a long way off so, why worry?

Well. I’m now well into that old age and it’s something, as my friends will tell you, that I tend to ignore. One was even kind enough to say that, to me, age is just a number. Well, I wish that was a true as it sounds. Yes, it is just a number and whichever one that it is with each passing year, I do tend to ignore it, in that I refuse to allow it to prevent me from doing what I’ve always done. That is to get on with life. However, I can’t take no notice at all of the effects of the passing years, reflected, for example, in arthritis in some of my joints. The result of this, for example, is that the long runs that I used to take are probably a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, I still run just not for as long as I did. Fortunately, the gym enables me to take little account of joint pain.

However, the real change has been in perception and, in my case, an understanding of what I might now be able to achieve. Yes, I know it’s a little late, however, better late than never. And there lies another problem which I am tackling; that is of believing, not so much that I can do something but that of matching my high opinion of myself with along with a low estimation of that same personality; a strange but, I feel, not unusual situation. In practice that manifests itself in not feeling comfortable about marketing myself and, especially, my books.

Well, with the success of the schools’ project that I’m promoting, I’m finding the first of these easier. Now for the books; a task for which, I am now working with a specialist professional. As for getting older, bring it on!