‘To be or not to be : that is the question’

Shakespeare, c.1599

The aim of this guide is to inform the peoples of the world of the basic condition of the Earth System, and the Human System, to provide guidance as to further sources of information, and to call us to action. In doing so, it also provides a view of our history, and something of our common heritage, origins, culture and morality.

Such a guide would, in any case, be a worthwhile publication, but the circumstances in which the present one is being published are as serious as they come. The fact is, human life – all existing and future human life – is under threat, and the action taken to date by the institutions and peoples of the world has fallen well short of what is required to avoid disaster. We are truly up against a sea of troubles.


The guide is one of the outputs of the Decency & Survival project,  and is intended to be published both electronically and in print, in due course. Other outputs will include a pamphlet version which it is suggested people download and distribute locally, a blog and podcast, and more besides.

As such, the outputs complement, rather than substitute for – and provide a guide to – what is already in the public domain. The guide is written and edited by a single author; it is not the work of an expert, but a well informed, layperson sharing his concerns with his fellow citizens. Any errors are the author’s responsibility, and are likely to be related to his faults (white, middle aged, heterosexual, male, English, human). More information about the author can be found on the website.


This first electronic edition of the guide has been kept very short, and will be developed throughout the course of 2017. Just four short sections follow this introduction, whose headings are self-explanatory : where we are; how we got here; where to go; and how to get there. The guide also includes a glossary, references, and a bibliography, filmography, and musicography.