PLANET Earth is currently reeling from a global pandemic of coronavirus, just the latest deadly cab off the rank, from intensive fires in Australia, plagues of locusts munching their way inexorably through an already fragile East African ecosystem, polar icecaps collapsing into the oceans causing dangerously rising sea levels, global warming continuing apace, droughts, famines and floods of biblical proportions all adversely affecting every continent of the world.

Closer to home, coastal erosion eats away at our fragile shorelines, average monthly rainfall falls in a single day, rivers overflow, engulfing entire communities, storms now so frequent we’re in danger of running out of names.

Meanwhile, many indigenous, iconic species, from hedgehogs to hares, butterflies, bumblebees, wild salmon, even the humble dormouse are under serious threat of extinction, according to the National Biodiversity Network (NDN) State of Nature Report, 2019.

Those are just some of the effects, but one does not have to look too far to find the culprit, homo sapiens, whose fingerprints are all over these collective potentially life-threatening phenomena.

Protracted population expansion, deforestation, over-fishing, intensive agriculture, mass intercontinental travel, complex, just-in-time worldwide supply chains, out-of-control capitalism, industrial-scale pillaging of raw materials, dumping of non-biodegradable waste, unsustainable, unbridled and unregulated electronic communications, the man-made causes of the plights we now face as a species go on and on, and on.

But, it would appear to me that, in its own way, the natural world is telling its supposedly most intelligent occupant – mankind – that enough is enough, far too many liberties have already been taken.

Humanity is currently – and has been for some time – engaged in writing the longest suicide note in history, and, unless serious, sustained action is taken, quickly, as Private Frazer famously and frequently said in Dad’s Army, “We're doomed”.

Identifying the problems and asking the questions, that’s the easy part; finding – and implementing – the solutions is another matter altogether, and from where those much-needed answers might come from in a geopolitical environment where the Trumps, Putins and Johnsons of this world hold sway, I find it increasingly hard to be even remotely optimistic.

Your excellent columnist Neil Mackay recently wrote that democracy was under increasing threat ("Can our fragile democracy survive coronavirus?", The Herald, March 17), which I agree with but beyond that, so too, increasingly, is the world we live in and the planet we occupy with increasing recklessness.

Mike Wilson, Longniddry.