The notion that we will change our consumptive habits through education and understanding is flawed. We have been too badly scarred by generations of want and famine to do anything other than gorge to utter excess in this time of plenty. This time is nearly at an end. The degree of calamity we now face will depend on how prepared we are.

The effects of climate change are initially negated by one another up to a point. Beyond that point the changes start to cascade, one on top of the other as stability is lost. The ability of one system to absorb the impact of changes in another will decrease as all eco-systems become embrittled by rapid shifts in the environment. Rapid change is the fifth horseman of the apocalypse, we weren't told about him as he sold his horse a long time ago and was not considered a threat. Unfortunately he has recently purchased a souped up 4 X 4 and is about to overtake his companions. Let us all hope and pray he gets stuck in traffic for a while.

We can make a difference as individuals to our world but the impact we have as a collective is massive. Sod's law says that though the odds are one in ten that our civilisation should rise during a

warming period of the ice age cycle, sure enough we get our industrial shit together just at the worst possible point. Had we managed to hang on for another few thousand years we would be patting ourselves on the back, saying how our fossil fuel consumption was slowing global cooling and stopping Scotland being buried under two miles of ice.

e are probably where we are now in respect of industrial technology because of the cataclysmic events thousands of years ago when the last ice age began to end. All the lush regions of the world got trampled by our then horseriding friend, rapid change. The garden of eden turned to desert and the other four horsemen carried on wrecking what was left. Human civilisation and knowledge was all but lost as the few survivors of the catastrophe struggled with basic existence.

Our civilisation has advanced to a level of dazzling complexity and there lies our greatest weakness, any biologist will tell you; the more complex an organism is the easier it is to destroy. The intricate nature of our world makes us far more vulnerable to sudden change. We do have one thing in our favour, we might be monkeys or more accurately apes, but we are very very clever monkeys. Our ability with technology may be the one thing that allows us to deal with the fifth horseman.