OUR beautiful, breathing, diverse planet Earth has a serious cough, and the virus is us – our population of this world.

As our numbers continue to rise, our impact on the natural world increases: it's screaming out in pain as the natural world continues to shrink, being chocked by our ever-increasing demands on it, the airways becoming blocked by pollution.

We need to change: how we live; how many children we have. We find change hard, we don't like being told what to do and how we should live our lives, but if we don't all make small changes to our lives now, things will escalate like a runaway train with no brakes: there will be no way of stopping this huge global problem.

We are the problem and the solution: it is in our hands, but time isn't on our side if we don't start making changes now. Don't we all need to care a little more about the wider world? Animals and plants are what make this world so amazing, we are only a small part of this diverse ecosystem, but we are smothering it.

Christine Dorothy Friend