I remember on a mid-summer Saturday in lush green England, as the dawn gave way to the rising sun of the early morning.

I could hear our local song thrush singing beautifully and everything felt so good just lying there in bed with eyes barely half open, thinking what I could do, so as to not waste such a fine day.

After drifting in and out of sleep for a while, I eventually decided on visiting the coast for the day and began to prise myself from my warm and comfortable bed.

Sitting at the table by the window, I tucked into a healthy breakfast of orange juice, cereal, toast and marmalade, with a piping hot pot of coffee to finish.

As I sat there looking out, I was taken utterly by surprise as the weather began to deteriorate very rapidly.

What had started out only a few hours ago as a lovely sunny morning, suddenly began to turn into something quite unheard of in England.

Clouds began to build unusually quickly, turning the skies to an eerie black darkness.

As the clouds shut out the blue sky, the surrounding air temperature dropped suddenly and strong winds came rushing in to fill the cooler depression.

The blustery winds began tossing the local trees around wildly and destroyed most of the beautiful flowers that had recently formed on the garden plants.

Then the rain began to fall, slowly at first and then very heavily, much heavier than I had ever encountered in all of my years on the planet.

Seeing such forces of nature at work can be quite scary for some people, but I was actually quite excited, although it had changed my plans on going to the coast for the day.

I watched as a massive volume of rain water ran down the street like a small river in the making.

My thoughts then changed to thinking about how the drains might cope with such a volume of water in such a short period of time. Surely there would be some localised flooding from this!

I could hear the winds gathering strength as the rain lashed even harder against the windows. My thoughts on how beautiful the power of nature can be instantly changed to terror as a great black tornado came whipping around the nearby hill.

I jumped to my feet in panic and dashed to hide in the bathroom, believing this to be the safest place in the building, as the walls were closer together than any others.

The tornado narrowly missed my property as it continued on its way tearing up and wrecking other neighbouring properties in its path.

We hadn't experienced such weather like this in our country before and it seemed things were definitely changing for the worse!

This is how our planet's weather had changed drastically in little over 200 years.

It seems that we had all become too good at whatever we did - for our own good.

Global warming was here and the earth was fighting back with ferocious vengeance.

I suspect the cause of the earth's global warming really began back in the Victorian era when inventors ideas were taken seriously, thus fuelling the greed of mankind, so that a few men, could own more possessions than anyone else around them and, supposedly, make them feel or at least appear, to be superior to others.

Inventors designed mass production cloth weaving machinery and the word 'factory' was introduced to the dictionary.

A factory was where people came from miles around to work to earn a crust to survive. People didn't really want to move into a town or work in a factory, but they didn't have a choice because they simply couldn't compete using their own out-dated hand weaving methods.

Early factories ran their machinery by means of a water-wheel. By using water it was a totally pollution free energy source, but a factory's operation was dependant on water levels and some of them couldn't run at times when water was in short supply.

To overcome the water shortage problem and to drive more machines, someone just happened to invent a steam engine, which ran by using water from the current stream or river and coal which was mined from the earth to fuel the boilers.

These factories do appear to have really started the pollution of our atmosphere on a large scale, with the factory owners not even considering what happened to the pollution their large chimneys belched out after burning the mined coal.

Maybe it was because they couldn't see the smoke from the coal after a short while, maybe they thought it had just disappeared and was therefore not a problem.

We can't complain at their ignorance however, because we continued to do just as they did, and now we're reaping what was sown.

Sow and so you shall reap... - Six words that should have been taken seriously I suspect!

Now we had men who had big factories, making all manner of goods as the years went on. The race was on to have more money and more possessions than anyone else, so as to appear better in some way than anyone else.

When did man first acquire this ridiculous illusion?

Anyway, for factory owners to make more money, to acquire yet more possessions, which were in fact goods made by someone else, somewhere else, doing the same thing in a race to be the best, the factory owners needed to manufacture more goods to sell, and after making them, they needed to sell them to more people, to make more money for yet more possessions... And so the cycle of greed would continue.

In one sense this system made sense in so much as everyone involved in the system gains in some small way, but ultimately, no one realised we would all lose everything in the end.

To reach more and more customers inventors came up with the idea of transport in its many forms.

They started with the humble horse and cart, where the horses gave back to the earth the enriched remnants of the food they ate and thus caused no pollution. A brilliant idea!

It wasn't long though before the old wooden cart couldn't keep up with the ever increasing volume of goods needing to be moved and so inland waterways called canals were designed and built.

Canals worked exceptionally well for many years, as much larger volumes of goods could be loaded into the canal barges and one horse could still tow it without too much effort.

Though canal barges were towed along by a non polluting horse and worked well, the barges eventually fell victim to the steam engine, which pumped out more pollution into the atmosphere. Never mind though, the smoke once again appeared to disappear so that was alright.

During the canal period inventors were busy looking for the next generation of transport and subsequently trains were invented which ran on tracks.

Trains were capable of moving much faster than a barge on the canal. They could also carry a greater payload using several coaches and tracks could be laid almost anywhere quite easily.

Laying train tracks was by far easier than digging out canals, building locks, and bridges to cross them with, but unfortunately they also burned more coal to drive their larger steam engines and once again, because the pollution created appeared to disappear into thin air, it wasn't a problem.

Roads and lorries were to be next on the transport scene.

There were a few steam driven lorries in the early days, but soon, more powerful engines were invented and built that could burn a new type of liquid fuel, which was cleaner to use and took up far less room on the vehicle than did coal.

This was known as oil. Like coal, oil too was mined from under the ground.

People, known as chemists, found they could derive many different fuels from oil, some of which could also be used in the home, Paraffin used for heating being just one of them.

Where once we used sailing ships and free wind power to transport goods around the coast of our country and to other lands, they too had been taken over by the polluting coal burning steam engine and later with the liquid diesel fuelled engines.

Aircraft followed, taking goods and people to other lands at record speeds.

Fuel burning continued at an even more alarming rate when motor cycles, cars and other public transport arrived. Everything was burning this fuel from under the ground.

All the time, more people wanting more things, creating the demand for more to be made. Where would it all end?

What was happening to all the pollution pumped out by the millions of factories and transport devices, not forgetting the power stations that were invented and built to provide power to run factories and produce the new clean energy known as electricity?

Clean energy! - Not if you're burning fuel, it isn't!

If mined fossil fuels like coal and oil weren't burned we used nuclear fuel which made more waste. The pollution from this stuff was apparently invisible, but the waste was just as devastating to our planet and all life on it.

Wind powered generators were a good idea, but even they had to be manufactured at a polluting factory somewhere.

By now hopefully, you're starting to see the larger picture.

Whilst trees around the earth would absorb the carbon dioxide we exhaled and give us in return the oxygen we needed to breathe and live, they wouldn't clear up the pollution we pumped into the atmosphere.

Knowing that trees were the lungs of the earth and that we needed them to survive, I cannot understand why mankind was permitted, even to a small degree, to destroy thousands upon thousands of acres of oxygen giving, carbon dioxide absorbing, tropical rain forests.

Couldn't mankind see that while destroying the oxygen giving rain forests they were decreasing oxygen production on a massive scale and increasing at the same time earth's carbon dioxide levels considerably from non absorption, and releasing carbon dioxide from the trees as they burned? Utter Madness!

Another 'invention' that must have caused carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to rocket to unsustainable levels was the fizzy drink can and bottle. No one seemed to take these cans and bottles into account at all.

I often wondered just how many millions of cans and bottles around the world released their gasses into the atmosphere each day and what a difference it might have made if they were never manufactured in the first place.

Unfortunately for mankind, there was ultimately nothing on earth that wanted to digest the masses of pollution we manufactured over the last 200 years of - so called progress.

So the heavier pollution particles landed on the ground and in the sea, and the gasses built up in the atmosphere causing masses of people to become ill with breathing difficulties and skin disorders. Genetically modified pollens from customised plants of various descriptions didn't help our lungs either.

We were slowly but surely poisoning ourselves to death in our own poisonous stew and ultimately there would be global warming to finish the job.

After many years of enormous property destruction and mountainous death rates caused by violent weather around the world, mankind was now desperate for a solution to their wrong doing.

Some world leaders believed that simply by cutting down on the production and release of 'Greenhouse Gasses', as they had become known, would cure the problem.

Leaders tried to urge reduced output of pollution but failed miserably. They failed, simply because mankind still, as always, wanted more and more goods and possessions and so pollution continued to worsen, as did the weather.

Some leaders thought that using modern technological systems would solve the problem of pollution production, but it too failed.

One man had been thinking for some time, that he had the solution to the world's pollution problem and couldn't understand why no one in power had ever thought of his solution.

The mans name was Dan Burrows.

He had come up with a brilliant and yet simple idea, that all the leaders and boffins around the world had totally missed. Maybe it was just too simple for boffins to see!

Dan's idea was not to get involved at looking for a means of pollution prevention, but to look at a means of pollution removal.

What was required was a simple and uncomplicated method to remove the pollution and this was his idea...

Dan thought that in space there was an immense vacuum which was already full of many gasses, some of which formed our own planet earth, along with all other planets in the universe. So he thought a bit more gas in space wouldn't make any difference... Would it?

Plus, instead of trying to solve the pollution problem on the ground, why not solve it where the most pollution is, in the upper atmosphere?

Dan thought what was needed, was to build a spaceship which could be sent into outer space and remain in orbit just outside of earth's atmosphere.

Once on location the pilot would 'insert', if that is the right word, a hose into earth's upper atmosphere.

The hose would be long enough to let the vacuum of space do all the work, sucking out earth's pollution into outer space, like a big vacuum cleaner, without any mechanical means or indeed any effort whatsoever.

This would, in theory, immediately start to reduce the effects of earth's pollution.

The atmosphere would start to cool again to normal temperatures; The ice fields of the Arctic and Antarctic would start to freeze over, thus allowing the planet's weather to stabilise back to normal...

What a brilliantly simple idea!

So Dan sent his simple idea to government leaders who were amazed at how simple the solution could be and after very little beaurocratic performance they urgently made plans to carry out what was required.

The spaceship would be called Saviour in honour of job it was to do.

Saviour's crew would be changed every six months for as long as the extraction of pollution was required.

Once Saviour was on location at the outer edge of the earth's atmosphere and the tube was inserted between the upper atmosphere and outer space everything appeared to be working as predicted and soon the solution was hailed by everyone on the planet as 'The invention that saved the world'.

After several months the temperature of the earth's atmosphere began to fall slowly, the Arctic and the Antarctic began to freeze again, the sea temperatures returned to normal and the weather around the earth began to stabilise.

Everyone rejoiced during the first year, but, as usual, the idea and its worth fell into decline.

People forgot how good things really were for them, how many lives had been saved around the world, in fact, how the planet itself had been saved.

Things were soon to change though.

Unknown to mankind there was an ultra-microscopic life-form which lived among the gasses in the vacuum of deep space.

Mankind would not be able to detect this life-form using even the most powerful electron microscopes on earth.

It was a life form that didn't require the need to breathe.

A life form which was drawn to the succulent new aroma of earth's dispelled pollution which had taken just a year to drift across the vastness of space toward them.

These alien microbes were about to change life on earth beyond imagination and no one suspected a thing.

The microbes drifted slowly and silently across space towards our unsuspecting planet.

They feasted on what we didn't want.

To us, it was just waste we were glad to be rid of.

To the aliens it was like a new and succulent dessert.

For once, pollution was good and on the menu of all alien microbes.

Multiplying in their millions as they drifted across deep space they devoured every last bit of the polluted gasses that had been spewed into outer space.

The leading microbes eventually arrived at the space end of earth's extraction tube.

They had discovered the source of their new delicacy.

The extraction tube used was no ordinary small tube that you might imagine. It was in fact 3 metres in diameter and more than enough for any microscopic alien life form to enter by their millions.

Having become voraciously addicted to our pollution the mass of alien microbes homed in to the tube as the enormous volume of pollution in space had been almost totally consumed.

The microbes began to bunch up in a massive cloud. Each microbe was desperate to continue feeding and so they eventually found their way through the 3 metre tube into earth's upper atmosphere.

Although there were many millions of microbes they were still totally invisible to us humans.

Once inside our atmosphere they could feast freely again and consequently they would multiply in their billions.

Below on the ground we humans were still going about our usual polluting ways. Reports on the radio and television evening news reported that atmospheric temperatures had begun to fall at a greater rate than expected and that soon the Saviour would be able to return to earth, maybe in a month's time if things continued as they were.

People had rejoiced in the fact that pollution could be removed at a greater rate than it could possibly be produced.

People believed they could make just as much pollution as they liked and all would be well. Our planet was going to be okay... What typical human naivety!

After only a month of entering our atmosphere the alien microbes' delicious pollution was almost depleted, apart from that which was being created at its point of origin where they fought desperately.

It was time for the alien microbes to seek out an alternative food source.

As they searched the planet they discovered there was much more to enjoy then just pollution gasses.

The first edible items they encountered were the leaves of our trees. This was just the beginning!

As if by electrical conduction this new taste spread to all the microbes and they began to devour leaves with vigour. Eating the leaves caused their digestive systems to leave behind a trail of black sludge as they went.

All vegetation soon became high on the aliens menu and so they began to consume anything that grew, using photosynthesis, on the surface of planet earth.

All TV networks around the world were reporting that no one could explain or discover why all vegetation was turning to black sludge. They could only report that things looked critical if a solution could not be found.

From space it was clearly visible that the earth's vegetation was turning black at a very rapid rate.

Mankind did eventually realise what might be happening but it was too late to stop it. The aliens were here to stay and the earth was being rapidly consumed.

The oxygen in the atmosphere given out by the trees, was being depleted as the trees were killed off and bad gasses once again began to build, fuelling the multiplying alien microbes more and more.

Earth's oxygen levels began to rapidly fall. People and animal life gasped for air but ultimately started to collapse and die of suffocation. The dead were left where they fell. Bodies everywhere littered the streets.

After a few days the smell of rotting human and animal flesh began to attract the alien microbes and so now humans and all wild life were on the menu too.

This was total global annihilation on a scale you cannot even imagine.

This is not a fictional story but a true record of events as the earth and everything on it was annihilated before my eyes.

I have recorded this complete extinction of all life on earth into Saviour's log to let any new space travellers know that we humans once existed on the planet below and to warn how easily we were exterminated through greed.

Now I have the absolute certainty that in approximately 72 hours when my oxygen tanks are depleted I will be, without doubt, the last living life form from planet earth to draw breath.

My remaining bones and photographs of my family will indicate to you the form we took.

I only hope after the alien microbes have devoured everything on the planet below they either die themselves or leave as they first arrived, through the 3 metre tube.

As you are reading this you have obviously advanced to space travel in order to reach the spaceship Saviour. My only hope is that you can read the language I use here.

If you can, please take heed of this warning.

I have recorded this extinction to warn you...

'Don't dig in the Ground'

However, if you are here, it may be too late, unless you remove the 3 metre tube immediately.

Signed: Dan Burrows

Captain of the spaceship Saviour.

Your comments:

You're not Dan Burrows from school are you?

David Moorcroft, Acomb

Sorry no I'm not the real Dan Burrows from school.

I was just the unfortunate Captain Dan Burrows of the fictional spaceship Saviour who had to first watch everyone on Earth die a TERRID death

(That's Terribly-Horrid) before suffocating to death myself after my oxygen tanks ran empty!

So there you have it...

I'm already dead and therefore this cannot be happening!!!

Please consider that... Everything in the story is/was in the past tense, so how can I ask the following question?

Who are you?

Are you a space traveller of a Renewed Human Race?

Don't waste any more time.... Quickly... Remove the 3 metre tube or it may be too late - again.

David Barnes, Acomb

Updated: 15:30 Friday, February 10, 2006