The notion of Gaia, or ‘Mother Earth’, taking steps  to preserve nature’s  equilibrium,  is not so fanciful, says Greek scholar  John Dillon. Photograph: Getty Images

There is no sign of religion disappearing but, in a more secular world with competing faiths and ideologies, it is an open question as to what god - i(...)

Emiliania huxleyi, a type of phytoplankton which could prove useful in the fight against climate change. Photograph: Michael Viney

You could really feel it in the High Arctic when the summer sun went in. One minute, with a heavy pack, your shirt was stuck with sweat; with shadow c(...)

For a leatherback turtle, a jellyfish or a plastic bag? Illustration: Michael Viney

In the early autumn of 1989, a marine biologist friend joined me for a walk on the strand. To measure almost 30 years, Minister for Health Simon Harri(...)

Direction home: some seabirds use smell to  guide them. Illustration: Michael Viney

An overnight deluge poured a great swathe of peat moss from the mouth of the mountain river, smudging the sea to sepia the whole length of the strand.(...)

Sunbathing blackbird: enters a trance of voluptuous bliss. Illustration: Michael Viney

The shadows of late evening reached across the lawn to leave one little golden triangle where the grass ran into the nettles. It was just big enough f(...)

Apocalyse soon? ‘The resurgence of post-apocalyptic fiction is partly because the general public is getting that message that things are going to get worse before they get better.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Nuclear disaster, climate change, rampant disease, asteroid strikes, zombie outbreaks, nationalised healthcare, angry deities – these are just (...)