The Madagascar Serpent Eagle - saved from extinction when I was 45; 
today, there are about 350 of them

Firstly, a very, very BIG Thankyou for your emails, txts and cards.  I promise to reply to each one personally but, until I do, be assured that you’ve helped to make an old(er) man very happy indeed!

To be honest, it turned out to be a more interesting birthday than I’d imagined.  A friend reminded me of a guest we once had on the Blue Bus Programme who explained that life for ordinary people like me and you had changed more in the last sixty-odd years than it had done in the previous two thousand.

So rather than spend the day in glib self-congratulation (isn’t ‘glib’ a lovely word?) I got to  wondering about exactly how much life really has changed since I arrived 67 years ago - not just for me but for the world into which I was born.  And a wonderful website, created by the BBC (naturally) was able to tell me much that I wanted to know…

So here goes…

- My heart has beaten over 3 billion times.  The heart of a Blue Whale would have beaten ‘only’ 211 million times in 67 years, whereas a Hummingbird’s would have beaten an amazing 44 billion times.

- Although I am 67 years old here on Earth, up there on Mercury I would be 278 - years on Mercury last only 71 days.  On Venus, I am 108, on Mars I am 35, on Jupiter I am only 5, on Saturn I am 2 and on Uranus and Neptune I haven’t even reached my first birthday - a Uranian day is 6,213 Earth days long and on Neptune, one day lasts 35,718 Earth days.

- In my lifetime I have travelled over 63,433,602,500 km round the sun and counting.  (Since I started typing this sentence, I’ve travelled a further 210km.)

- This also means that I have travelled 528,613,420,250 km through the Milky Way; as I write, I’m travelling at about 500 km per second.

- A house-fly my age would have a family of 37,248 generations by now.  A mouse, 446. 
A rabbit, 115.  A penguin, 13.  And a killer whale, 4.
The earliest important wildlife discovery made after my birth was that of the Golden Poison Frog, found in Colombia when I was 25

The creature most recently discovered in my lifetime is the Squat Lobster, 
found off New Zealand when I was 64

- There have been 307 major volcanic eruptions since I was born - none of them my fault.  The largest was in 1991; it measured 6 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (of which I had never heard until this very moment).

- In my lifetime there have been 692 major earthquakes - the largest, in 1960, measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale.

- I have reached a height of 1.83m in my lifetime.  A California Coast Redwood tree has grown 26.31m.

- There have been 147 solar eclipses since I was born.  The next will occur in 92 days.

- The world’s population grows by about 4 births every second.  This means that there are, on balance, about 4,884,162,000 more people on Earth now than when I was born.  There are now about 10 more.  And counting.

- This is also partly because life expectancy worldwide has increased by an incredible 26 years in my lifetime.

- Sea level has risen by 15cm since I was born.

- The number of mammal species classed as ‘critically endangered’ when I was 51 was 169; it is now 211. 
There are just 1,500 Borneo Pygmy Elephants left in the wild

- The same figures for birds are 168 and 198 respectively. 
There are just 500 Philippine Eagles left

- Fish are faring much worse - their figures are 157 (when I was 51) and 424 (now). 
Reports suggest that the Goliath Grouper became extinct only in the last few weeks

- Things aren’t looking good for plants either.  Critically endangered when I was 51 - 909 species; now - 2104. 
There are just 100 populations of Georgia Aster left on Earth

- At current rates of consumption, the Earth’s oil reserves will run out when I am 119.  And there’ll be no more coal after my 121st birthday.

- Almost 20% of the Earth’s forests have been lost in the last 67 years.

- On the other hand - and to end on a slightly more cheerful note - several animals have been saved from extinction in my lifetime…
The Black Rhino was saved when I was 57; there are now about 3,725

The Saiga Antelope was also saved when I was 57; there are now over 40,000 of them
 The Mountain Gorilla was saved from extinction when I was 43 
but there are still only about 400 of them
 The Golden Lion Tamarin has been safe since I was 23; there are about 800 of them now
The Grey Whale was saved from extinction the year I was born; 
happily, there 21,000 of them 67 years later
The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was rescued when I was 56 - 
but there are still only about 50 in the wild 

So now you know what I did on my birthday - well at least until Paul Wappat arrived with his partner Penny to disrupt proceedings.

And I finished the day at a live Matt Berry gig in the Town with John, my old friend.  Nick Roberts was there, too.  How cool is that?
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Post comments on this blog or email me:  truckshunters@googlemail.com

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