Saturday, 30 December 2017

A Liturgy for the last of the ladies

Janet Elizabeth Smith (nĂ©e Dean) 

The Last of the Ladies

16th March 1948 – 21st December 2017

Wetheral Woodland Burial Ground
29th December 2017

The Gathering
We meet today with sadness for our loss and joy at the knowledge that Janet has been safely gathered into the loving arms of the eternal spirit where there is neither pain nor suffering nor tears.

The Reflection
In a moment of reflection and guided by the spirit let us offer our own reflections on the Janet we knew and loved.

A daughter, a sister, a lover, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, we each share her loss, grateful that she passed surrounded by her loving family; that she was able to offer her farewells with grace and dignity, supported as she was by the caring staff of Hospice at Home.

A moment for you to share 

A personal Reflection

I met Janet in Salisbury in the Summer of 1967...

Music: I saw her standing there (The Beatles)

...within a week I had to travel to Germany for a summer job; I wanted to ask her to marry me but had the good sense to ask only that she would she meet me from the train when I returned.

She agreed and did meet me. 

We married in November 1968.

She blessed me with love and loyalty and four wonderful children in whom she invested all that was best about her.

Diagnosed with MS forty years ago she bore her pain and limitations and triumphed over them.

The Cancer was less easy and in the end undermined her strong will and forbearance, yet as so many people commented she looked so well because even as it ate away at her esh, her spirit endured and triumphed.

Forbidden from carrying Lilies on our wedding day she carries them now on her heavenly birthday and for her this poem:

Lilies, their waxy green 
Whiteness you chose to carry 
Those years ago, were refused you

But now, these years later 
The lilies remain fine and firm 
Their lustre captures the light

This Anniversary gift 
Continues to flourish and shine 
Even though your life
Is shortened now by illness

Each night we count the moments 
Before dawn to be sure
That you are granted another 

Day to offer your gracious farewell

To those you love and whose love is returned 
Lilies don’t last forever
Like the flowers of the field and humankind 
They flower, blossom and perish

But you will stay forever in my heart 
In the hearts of those who love you 
And rest in the bounteous gift of love

Music: Such a Woman (Neil Young)

The Commendation

Janet go on now on your journey from this life to whatever life awaits you, you return to the source of creation, sustained by the story of Jesus’ redemption and the nurturing of the spirit.

So we believe that you will today  find comfort and consolation in the heavenly Jerusalem where you will be welcomed home and  find peace.

The Committal

As a father is tender towards his children, so is the spirit of peace, who knows that we are like the grass  flourishing as the flowers of the  field, when the wind goes over it, it is gone and will be known no more.

We are entrusting Janet to the merciful keeping of the spirit of peace and we now commit her body to the to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust in the hope that one day we will meet again merrily.

Moment of Silence & Personal Reflection 

Music: The Last of the Ladies (The Courteeners)

Canon Michael Manley will lead us in the Lord’s Prayer and offer a final Blessing

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

27th December 2017

Janet Elizabeth Smith
16th March 1948 – 21st December 2017

We have lived with MS for forty years.

Janet was diagnosed in 1978 before our youngest child, who is thirty seven this year, was born, we have addressed the limitations it imposes on both our lives, and we like to think, risen above them.

After my retirement to become a carer, we have travelled widely and there have been some memorable moments:

Back packing with a wheelchair across Spain and across to North Africa, faced with the steep flight of steps in Tangiers our request for assistance was met with the comment, Aah! You have this woman?

Having boarded the wrong train at Malpensa, in Milan we were faced with the most amazing Ascensori, operated anonymously after requesting assistance in faltering Italian via an intercom on the wall.

The wheelchair and its inhabitant having to be carried bodily up the steps and into the Aeroplane, that happened twice, once in Schipool and once in Gibraltar.

So we have travelled by car, by bus, by train and by plane as well as foot.

But our the horizons closed in.

After surgery for breast cancer in 1998 the cancer we thought was in remission was diagnosed during a routine Mammogram about five years ago, surgery followed, this time not a ‘lumpectomy’ but a ‘Mastectomy’.

But new lesions appeared and following further examination confirmed as Cancerous.

You know really, when you are led from the hard back seating area away from the other patients sitting in the Atrium of the Hospital with a plaque proudly describing that it had been ‘opened in 2000 by the Right Honorable Tony Blair PM.

We were shown into a smaller room with more comfortable seating, with green the dominant colour and a large picture of a scenic lake on the wall.

Well it doesn’t take a genius to know that this is the ‘breaking bad news room’.

And it was.

Further examinations followed including MRI and Bone Scans, inevitable logistical problems, moving the patient from wheelchair to scanners were overcome by staff who were kind and caring and sensitive.

And after the test results were confirmed we were introduced to a new word.


Strangely enough, a word that I had hardly heard and never used, suddenly appeared in novels, articles, commentaries and newspapers, referring to specialist and everyday matters, from bad news, to wars, to general dissatisfactions.

When we were advised as to the results of the various tests not only were shown into the breaking bad news room but the Consultant found it necessary to have a specialist nurse with him, presumably armed with tissues?

Whether they were for him or us was never clear.

One interesting outcome of this experience was the reaction from the Neurologist we saw who commented that the major issue was addressing the Cancer, not in his remit however.

The Radiologist meanwhile had noted the major issue was the uncertainties presented by the MS about which he knew very little.

Of course once you become drawn into this world it becomes clear that the Medical Profession lives in Silo’s and this makes medical intervention’s predictable depending on who is undertaking the examination:

The Surgeon’s hand reaches immediately for a scalpel.

The Radiologist’s hand reaches for the prescription called Radiotherapy.

The Physician’s had reaches for his prescription pad to prescribe drug therapy.

Each of these played a part.

The surgery was carried out with local anaesthetic but the biopsy revealed a further spread of the cancer and so it was proposed that further surgery under a general anaesthetic was required, a suggestion politely but firmly declined.

So we were referred to the Radiologist. This was definitely the worst of our experiences. The kindest thing to say was that the consultant had unfortunately missed, whether through holidays or illness,, the bedside manner module in his basic training.

We left that consultation clear in our minds that a second opinion was necessary.

Our referral was to the Northern Cancer Centre in Newcastle and the bedside manner of our consultant was impeccable and so it was agreed that further Radiotherapy might well,  ‘buy us some time’.

Over time further treatments were proposed to address the issues raised by the tumours in the spine but whether the complications from the MS or other factors were involved most of these treatments have had a fairly negative impact on the Janet’s well being.

The pain has broken through again and again and with the support of the Macmilllan Nurse and our GP, Morphine has been prescribed.

Morphine is often described as the ‘Gold Standard’ for the management of pain.

Timescales are difficult for the medical profession to comment upon. We have had both positive prognoses and pessimistic prognoses.

Our aim had been to celebrate our Golden Wedding in 2018.

It still is, but recently the body language of the medical teams, the Pharmacy at the surgery and other folk along the way who are supporting us, has changed suggesting that maybe, just possibly, we are being overly optimistic.

As indeed proved to be the case.

Our 49th Anniversary was celebrated in a somewhat subdued manner with Janet surrounded by her family including grandchildren and she found the occasion tiring.

Within a few weeks it became necessary for support to be provided by Hospice at Home and as Janet slowly became bed fast the District Nurses introduced a syringe driver to ensure that the pain was controlled more efficiently.

Janet died on the 21st of December 2017, she was 69 years of age.


Thursday, 26 October 2017

26th October 2017

I live in the North West of England in the political constituency known as Penrith and the Borders,

The village in which I live straddles the river Eden.

Over the years that I have lived here, since my retirement, the general atmosphere has deteriorated.

Communities brought together by the experience of mutual challenges.Duringthe flooding in 2005 and 2015 the communities pulled together, bearing as it were, one another's burdens.

Penrith and the Borders is a fairly invincible redoubt of Conservatism, the MP, Rory Stewart aka Rory the Tory, appears to be secure in his majority.

But my sense is that something is now more discernible than before. We are no longer a civil society that can be defined as being at ease with itself.

The Government of which our MP is a member, is creating a society that is ill at ease with itself.

Two personal experiences: last week driving through the City a woman in a mobility scooter drove straight off the pavement into the road in front of me.

I braked.

She shot me a look of contempt, whilst the driver of the car behind hooted his horn for stopping, her look of contempt may  have been because she thought that it was my horn that she heard and assumed, possibly, that I was hooting at her.

The second experience was also concerned with driving.

I had to take the indoor critics car to have the tires checked. The Tyre Fitting station is set on a fairly busy road so I waited for a gap in the traffic, eventually a space appeared and I accelerated away.

The approaching car, whilst not too close, appeared to speed up towards me and the elderly driver gave my a 'V' sign as he passed in the other direction, even though any inconvenience to his progress was purely in his imagination.

In the bigger picture my daily newspaper, as indeed is yours, is packed with depressing stories which describe a society simply not at ease with itself.

Relationships between young and old, between men and women, between ourselves as members of civil society are under strain.

MP's who wish for us to exit the European Union launching attacks on those they identify as not being on their side.

The Honourable Jacob Rees Mogg's attacks on the Governor of the Bank of England and the BBC exemplify this mindset and as people adjust to the changing nature of social and political debate the the very concept of what it means to be civil is eroded from public life and society ceases to be civil, begging the question what replaces a civil society?

Hi Jacking, Highway men, Impressment, Poverty, Gin Palaces, Food Banks, Homelessness, Footpads, Paupers?

There is no doubt that there are problems with the way the European Union manages its affairs, it does need reforming and renewing, nevertheless its achievements are tremendous, I never fail to be heartened when, in my previous job, I could travel via the Channel Tunnel, through France and on into Belgium without fear or favour or Passport Control or Customs clearance, simply because of Schengen and the open borders.

To make connections with frustrated car drivers going about their business and an MP referring to Mark Carney as an enemy of Brexit may be comparing apples and pears, but as the Chancellor recently observed the European Union is 'the enemy'.

As Michael Bloomberg opined recently, 'Brexit is the stupidest thing any country had done until America Trumped it'.

So my opinion is that the uncertain outcomes are in fact making not just business but individuals anxious and uncertain and uncertainty breeds disaffection.

So men and women are set at odds with each other. Politicians are set at odds with each other. Families are set at odds with each other. Impatience, frustration and intolerance become the defining characteristics of a society ill at ease with itself, anxious about car payments, mortgage payments, wages or simply anxious about the future for self and family, so if anyone challenges, disagrees or gives way for someone on a mobility scooter, or pulling out (safely) as you are approaching the its the horn or the 'V' sign and that's telling them ..........

It is of course a mental health problem, but maybe that is a subject for a future blog?

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

12th October 2016

I had a very good friend who was a GP.

I often consulted him on both medical and non medical matters.

I was always impressed by his diagnostic skills and his ability to prescribe remedies that more often than not were wise, drew on his considerable experience and most importantly worked and which occasionally involved letting things be.

Because of my relationship with this particular friend I have long held the view that it is these particular skills, of diagnosis and prescription, that make the medical profession worthy of respect and the views expressed by those in the profession worth hearing and often acting upon.

But all of that has now changed!

Not so much Dr Foster, who having gone to Gloucester, foolishly stepped in a puddle right up to his middle but rather Dr Fox, who, even more foolishly is leading us out of Europe.

The result of the misconceived referendum was almost but not quite too close to call.

What makes it especially saddening is that the privileged members of the leave campaign, with their dubious claims, false diagnoses, and even falser promises, sufficiently captured the hearts and minds of working people in those regions that depend so heavily on inward investment from, for e.g. Japanese car manufacturers.

Investment that is made precisely because the European market is critical to the continued success of these companies.

Yet it was people in those regions whose votes swung the outcome of the referendum toward leaving.

The big issues that seemed to count for most, immigration, jobs, incomes were falsely claimed to be linked.

That immigrants steal jobs and drive down incomes is patently untrue.

The increased use of robots in manufacturing whilst reducing some monotonous and routine jobs in fact increase productivity and wealth, begging the question of how that wealth is shared in post industrial societies.

Globalisation is not the surrendering of the control of a nation's identity it is rather the recognition that nations have to interact constructively to ensure a peaceful co-existence with other nations on the world stage.

To say that if you are a 'citizen of the world' that you are a 'citizen of nowhere' is so far from the truth of it that it needs to be challenged whenever, and wherever and by whomever it is claimed.

The so called dis-benefits of our membership of the European Economic Community are simply wrongheaded in both theory and fact.

My passport allows me to travel freely across Europe and especially in the Schengen Area of which the UK has never been a part.

The Euros in my pocket, allow me to spend freely in those countries in the Euro Zone, of which the UK has never been a part.

My holiday trips to countries in Europe allow me to travel without the need for Visa's a freedom and a privilege which may well be withdrawn.

Our future outside Europe does not look good however 'pro-secco and anti-pasto' we might be we will be seen as bad losers who have simply taken their ball home and are sulking in isolation.

As we head to a hard Brexit the full reality of what we have done becomes clearer.

The complexity of the negotiations becomes ever more complex.

The untangling of the complex relationships we have with our European Partners my need a Damoclesian Sword to untangle with the associated pain that will go with that.

Or we will simply remain in a long and drawn out and ultimately unresolvable relationship with the 27 other members in which we are on the one hand not in but on the other not out either.

It may be resolved but, as we hear from those who profess some independence in the matter, we will as a nation be poorer for it, culturally as well economically and as ever it will be the poorest who will pay the highest price.

Recently I went to the GP, he examined me and listened to my presenting condition, a skin condition resulting from sun damage, eventually having offered the relatively simple diagnosis he offered a prescription, a cream, he then showed my some photographs of the damage that the application of the prescribed remedy could do.

The pictures were X rated, blemishes, open sores, and eczema the pictures suggested that the cure could well do more damage than the condition.

So I left without filling the prescription.

Diagnosis requires a careful, mature, assessment of the facts and an interpretation of any likely future reaction.

Prescription then requires a careful, mature, assessment of the appropriate response, including the risks of acting or not.

Those who have promoted Brexit, those who are responsible for delivering it, those who claim that the future for the UK standing alone on the world's stage will be glorious have both mis-diagnosed the problems facing the UK in the difficult and challenging complexity of a world facing population growth, food shortage, climate change and the shifting of the tectonic plates of the global economy as the balance of power moves to the east.

We are now faced with a prescription which offers us the worst of all possible worlds as we stand isolated from our neighbours our allies, and our friends on the world stage.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

it’s lunchtime at cochran’s boiler works in newbie and as lunchtime begins the boiler makers of newbie open the box with lloyd george’s foxy face on the cover, unfold the heavy paper board, deal out the chance cards, the pawns and the dice and settle down to play brer fox and brer rabbit, the game available from miss clarke of newbie, but what were the boiler makers doing? why brer fox and brer rabbit? why does the fox have the face of lloyd  george in the picture on the box?
land tax,, that’s why, land tax and before it was called brer fox and brer rabbit it was called the landlord’s game

the landlord’s game was invented not by miss clarke of newbie but by lizzie magie in the united states of america, lizzie was a comedienne, a poet, a writer of short stories, and so bohemian that when she started to run out of money she advertised herself for sale as a slave then she set up the economic game company in new york city and then it came to newbie and brer fox was lloyd george, chancellor of the exchequer and in 1913 prime minister of the united kingdom curiouser and curiouser, how do we get from new york to newbie, from the economic game company to cochran’s boiler works, from lizzie magie to lloyd george and who was miss clarke ?

suddenly a new name crops up henry george, so who is henry, did lloyd george know his father? were they related? well yes and no, lloyd george the politician was interested in henry george because he wrote a book with the splendidly radical title of progress and poverty

george, henry that is, thought that a person was entitled to the value of what he created by his or her own efforts, but the value of land or location, be it in new york or newbie, should be held in common, so george, henry that is, proposed that land ‘owners’ should pay tax on the land they ‘owned’ and brer fox, lloyd george that is, introduced a similar tax when he was chancellor of the exchequer, this tax levied 20% on the unearned increase in land value to be paid on the death of the ‘owner’ or the sale of the land

popular with some, but not at all popular with landowners, but popular with lizzie magie who agreed with george, henry that is, and so she created a game to promote his ideas and by adapting the game the boiler makers of cochran’s boiler company at the top of three trees road in newbie played the game instead of poker at lunch time imagining themselves on the solway fisheries or lord tomnoddy’s grouse moor or even, should the right chance come their way, sitting down to a £1000 dinner with the duke of westminster 

there was profit there was speculation there was risk there was bankruptcy there was jail if  you poached the solway fisheries salmon or lord tomnoddy’s grouse

but there at the end of three trees road in newbie the boiler makers imagined themselves living if not the life of riley at least the life of lord tomnoddy or maybe the duke of buccleuch

as the game was played the boiler makers of newbie

bought land …… with their starting capital which meant that when other players landed on their land they charged rents but other risks included being sent to goal or the lunatic asylum

improved their land …… a second tranche of capital in this part of the game is used to improve land increasing wages and generating rents, interest and taxes from other players

increased land values …… payable to the public treasury thereby making life difficult for landlords leading to solway fisheries selling out to the government and lord tomnoddy emigrating to canada

in the final stage of the game wages rise and unemployment and poverty disappear for ever

as lunchtime ends the paper is folded back in the box along with the cards and the dice and the pawns and the boiler  makers head back to cochran’s their dreams and risks over for another day

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

6th July 2106

I haven't (couldn't) count the number of words written about Brexit!

Would I want to add to them?

Yes and No!

Yes because there is always something to say, something to add, No because too much has been said already.

But I want to add something new (at least I hope that it is new).

If Brexit was a howl of rage, a protest, a rejection of austerity and all that goes with it including benefits sanctions, food banks and the sneering of politicians who have inherited fortunes and who wear suits that cost more than the average person has to live on for a year, then it is the howl of rage that we must hear.

Tragically the current post democracy election for the new leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister, elected by some 330 MP's and 150, 000 Conservative Party members, (there's democracy for you), is likely to lead to even more right wing policies being put in place as society moves back to the mid Fifties.

Given the current state of play in the Labour Party with the MP's positioning themselves to the right of the Leadership and passing votes of no confidence in his leadership, despite the enormous respect for his leadership being demonstrated by the rapidly increasing membership and Momentum it is hard to see where the opposition will come from.

Maybe, as some commentators have observed, we will see the emergence of a new party of the left, or possibly we might see a new progressive alliance emerging drawing together Labour, Liberals, SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru to begin to challenge and face down the right wing, Brexit focused Conservative Party.

Whatever happens next I am campaigning for one thing, a fairer distribution of the wealth of society, an end to to Welfare (although not the welfare state) and the introduction of a universal basic income.

I am not alone in this campaign, Pope Francis is on board and so is Martin Luther King!

The facts speak for themselves as wages fall, employment falls, more people are displaced from work by robots, by technology, by artificial intelligence so the welfare response with benefits sanctioned and the disabled victimised and the food bank queues lengthening, so the remuneration of Chief Executives, Non Executive Directors and those at the top of the food chain, increase exponentially.

The current scandal exposed by the collapse of BHS is simply a case in point.

As Nissan increases its technological capacity so the Qashqai (Cash Cow?) will increasingly not be built by skilled hands but by robots programmed not only to work more quickly, more unrelentingly but to do so at lower cost than their human predecessors.

I am pretty sure that in Hartlepool the result of the referendum was a protest against the alienation felt by so many people who have suffered from de-industrialisation and new technology.

The tragedy is that Europe was the fall guy.

In Sunderland maybe it was simply that as someone once commented to me when the Nissan Factory was being built, people in the North East can't live in paper houses.

I entered a Haiku Competition as part of a Japanese Week sponsored by Nissan in Sunderland, their was to be Kite Flying, Origami, Tea Ceremonies and a Haiku Competition.

My Haiku was:

Fuji on Wearside
The sound of  one hand clapping
Greets the first Nissan

I heard nothing and contacted the festival office for information, Oh, they said we had one entry and it was so bad we didn't run the competition.

Now post Brexit of course a new Haiku is called for:

Post Referendum
The sound of one hand clapping
Nissan move to Ruhr

So if we are to move to a post welfare society in which all can share in common wealth as it is created, whether in financial services, in technological innovation, through internet shopping, file sharing or in whatever unimagined ways will come in the rapidly accelerating future of things we need to find a new way of embracing change, celebrating our common wealth and sharing it equitably.

So a Universal Basic Income is what we need.

Somehow we need to get it onto societies agenda.

The details have been worked through by others better qualified than me, it is being tried in Finland, it was the subject of a referendum in Switzerland, it is not Rocket Science, so much of the Welfare Budget simply subsidises low paying employers and zero hours contracts.

Too much of the common wealth disappears through tax efficient schemes.

But the essential principle is expressed by Pope Francis, essentially, the  best way to help the poor is to give them the cash.

In other words every citizen from the age of 18 should receive a basic income sufficient to allow them to House, Feed and Clothe themselves.

Such an income allows people to live with dignity, it allows people to adjust their working lives accordingly, to raise their families, to seek work that interests them and to share in the common wealth that they and the society of which they are a part has successfully created.

Monday, 20 June 2016

20th June 2016

So this is the week when the 'neverendum' finally drags itself, scarred and battle weary, to its conclusion.

On Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday, or Monday, depending of course on how many recounts will be required before this closely fought 'neverendum' requires before, by the narrowest of margins, one side or the other calls victory and the other concedes defeat, it won't, unlike our World Cup success of 1966, be over.

The debate will drag on with both sides claiming that their defeat/success was really a moral victory.

Will their be a rematch?

Will David Cameron hunker down in his Downing Street Bunker in Churchill's war room and ruminate about fighting on the beaches?

Or will Boris Johnson march up and down The Mall with placards demanding immediate entry?

That the 'neverendum' has become toxic cannot be in doubt when strangers meeting on opposite sides of the debate can literally fell each other at a demonstration in a City Centre.

This 'neverendum' has quite literally divided families, communities, neighbourhoods, congregations and societies.

Of course it should never have been called.

The Prime Ministers appearance on Question Time last evening demonstrated beyond all doubt that the public hasn't quite 'got it', some of the questioners stated that clearly, we are not sure about the issues, neither side has been clear or convincing, others simply made it clear by their questions.

Does it really all come down to immigration?

This referendum has unleashed a torrent of hatred, tragically focused in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

The 'outers' have a responsibility for promoting this hatred with their mantra of controlling our borders (we do now) and give us our country back (its not gone anywhere) now Nigel Farage says violence is inevitable, (based on false propositions), somehow, neither 'New' Labour or the 'condems' have addressed the issue of how and why ( I'm not mentioning Margaret Thatcher here) a whole class and generation have been made (redundant) surplus to the success of our economy, whilst capitalism's love children have sucked billions out of their businesses and lodged them in tax free locations.

The reality of the social progress that has happened during my life time is three fold:

The world has got smaller.  As a twelve year old I was offered the choice between a school trip to France or a New Bicycle, I was married with children before I finally acquired a passport and travelled to the continent, a family holiday in France. Since then I have travelled to Scandinavia, Europe, North Africa and the Americas, North and South. As my personal pilgrimage has extended my horizons so others have begun to see the future in terms of locating or relocating to improve their and their families lives.

Technology has advanced beyond the bounds of possibility. It was impossible to imagine as a child growing up in the North of England in the Fifties and Sixties just what the future would offer. From iPhones, to computers, to Robots, it was then, unimaginable, now as a Seventy year old I take it for granted, even if at times it feels like magic, that I can stream music, watch movies, order goods and download books at the press of a button. Do I want to return to the Fifties as the Leave campaign appears to be recommending? 

No I do not!

But I recognise that technological advances mean that all our lives have changed forever, whether it is work, leisure, banking, buying and selling, not only do we have the technology but we are rebuilding the world around us on a daily basis.

Climate change is changing everything. That the world is changing is clear that the climate is changing is still subject to argument and counter argument. But the impetus for the global movement of peoples is due not only to war but also to climate change, in fact some of the explanations about why war is destroying the lives of people in Africa and the Middle east is climate change and its impact on agriculture in rural areas, the shifting of populations into urban areas and the pressure for space and resources resulting in conflict spilling over into violence.

When I listen to the arguments of the leave campaigners I hear the constant Mantra of 'immigration' and 'sovereignty', what I do not hear is the sense that as the world changes so that we in the West will have to change too, not even to progress, actually, simply to stand still and maintain our place in the hierarchy of things, places and people.

It is clear that the European project is struggling to adapt to these Global Pressures but surely the way forward if the West is to continue to enjoy peace and prosperity is to work with our European neighbours and partners.

Leaving Europe will not free us from the consequences of geography, technology and climate change but it will  make it harder for an isolated offshore island, subject to the winds of change not only to stand still but to survive in a rapidly changing world.