WE NEED TO MAKE A FEW SACRIFICES
SOMETIMES, I THINK WE'RE ALL LIVING IN THE PALACE OF THE RED QUEEN.
Yesterday, I read Diver and the Sun. The front page of the Sun was devoted to a desperate plea by an ex-girlfriend of Michael Douglas: PLEASE DON'T CHEAT ON ZETA!
In Diver, there was a quarter-page article on recent damage to coral caused by the rising temperature of tropical seas. "Basically," it read, "if you want to see coral reefs you may have to do it in the next 20 years."
What? Are we all mad? What's happened to our priorities, that the sexual peccadillos of an ageing Hollywood Lothario should take precedence over a disaster of global proportions? Nero fiddled while Rome burned, but at least he was knocking out a tune. Compared to him, we're playing Pokemon while the planet disintegrates about us.
And even if we had the means to reverse the death of our oceans, what can we do? Bugger all, it seems. The French are too tired to do anything, apparently, and John Prescott's personal fleet of Jaguars is alone responsible for the demise of four gorgonians and an elephant's ear off the Seychelles.
If the politicians won't act, it's down to you and me. Divers, as we all know, are passionately committed to conservation. So here's a modest proposal for saving the world, which we can all sign up to right now.
First, we must renounce the internal combustion engine. Given the collapse of the rail system, this will involve walking or cycling to dive sites. I admit that there will be some initial inconvenience.
For instance, most of us will have to allow at least three weeks' travelling time for a weekend's diving in Cornwall. But a principle is worth nothing if it doesn't cost you. Besides, think what it'll do for your physical fitness - especially as you'll be rowing to the dive site.
And then, of course, having scrapped your filthy, un-ecological compressor, you'll be filling your cylinders with a foot pump. Allow two days per fill.
Before you kit up, take a long, cool look at your equipment. That membrane drysuit will have to go - it's about as biodegradable as Stonehenge. The dial on your dive watch would send a Geiger counter into cardiac arrest. And your £80 power fins were produced for £1.25 in an Indonesian sweatshop by six-year-olds.
The profits of your dive-computer manufacturer are expropriated to bolster a corrupt regime in the Far East, with a woeful record in human rights. Even your bloody talcum powder was tested on blind, three-legged beagles.
There's nothing for it - you'll have to junk the lot. But it's surprising how quickly one adjusts to diving in the North Sea wearing only a kaftan. And as for calculating your bottom time, a simple bead frame served the Chinese perfectly well for centuries.
After an exhausting day at sea, you'll retire to the pub for a pint of warm lager (refrigeration = CFCs = the Devil's Spawn). Still, at least you'll be happy in the knowledge that, thanks to you, one little corner of the globe at least is as cold and uninviting as it's always been.
Indeed, the strategy seems to be working well. My own organisation, Brownpeace, is dedicated to preserving the ecology of the coastline from Whitby to Teesside.
And I can report that we have encountered no exotic species, lured northward by rising water temperatures.
In fact, in those gloomy and impenetrable waters, which are the colour and consistency of a mud Slush Puppy, we rarely encounter even our own buddies.