Post by Prof. Richard Bradshaw
After 36 years of teaching, research and knowledge exchange I realised it was now or never to try something different before slipping into senility. While dozing quietly in a strategy meeting about REF, the inspiration came – I realised I had never even tried to write a book. Could I do it? Could I focus on just one project for an entire year, away from the daily round of mails, meetings and mayhem? I applied for a fellowship and am now just completing my year away and the book.
What freedom to read and write whatever I wished. I chose a co-author to impose some necessary discipline and finally the end is in sight. Martin Sykes and I have asked how we brought planet earth to the state it is in today and then we take a look at where we are headed. The story begins with the first time humans used fire to alter an ecosystem and explores a few possible endings, some happy and some not. It has been revealing to place the current state of the world in a one million year trajectory through time. It has brought into sharp focus where we might be headed and emphasises how many of our decision-makers are sleep-walking towards a precipice, trapped into a disastrous status quo. We have produced a serious academic text that is heavy going in places. But this seemed necessary to provide support for the key message, which is – immediate adoption of plan B or witness an unmanaged readjustment of society as we know it, accompanied by a massive reduction in global population.