* T&A environment columnist Keith Thomson sadly died this week, after an illness. His wife, Brenda, has asked that we publish this, his final column, in his memory.

KEEPING alive is a simple matter. We just need to be satisfied with enough and not be greedy, but that’s not the way that our modern industrial society works, dependent as it is on making more of everything and the profits that result.

The recent news has been full of how well individual economies are doing, or not in some cases, and the value of our individual national currencies does seem to depend on how many things we are making and how many of us go to work regularly.

As a living animal I have a small number of basic needs, such as a safe and secure place to live, clothes to wear, regular food, public transport to get me about over longer distances, and either newspapers or the radio and television to keep me informed of the wider world.

The missing requirement in that list is something to do, both as a hobby or work that will pay me enough to fund the above. I certainly should be growing some of my own food as more than three quarters of us have access to a garden.

Most of us would benefit from a range of local jobs, including keeping the area free from litter, supporting the local schools, sporting activities and childcare groups in a number of ways. The growing number of elderly will also provide opportunities, but this, and other local responsibilities will depend on central government revisiting its local authority funding arrangements.

We should certainly be spending far less on our clothes, wearing them out, and buying them second hand and made of recycled material as well as repairing them. It will mean that sheep and cotton farmers will need to reduce their output, and concentrate more on food we can eat.

All adults would need to be paid a basic living wage funded from considerably higher tax rates for those paid excessively, from vehicles over 1,000 cc capacity, and leisure flying.

As this is all most unlikely with our capitalist greed, the future looks grim and life threatening. However, the younger generation is taking to the streets to protest and campaign on climate change.

If this brings us back to a simpler, needs based life there is hope.