Most reviews of the year concentrate on events which happened during the last 12 months. Disasters, triumphs, deaths, victories and other items of general important-ness. But at the end of another turbulent year I'd prefer to reflect on some of the things which didn't happen, even though people thought they might. And I'm not taking about uncovering the fate of possibly-abducted three year old girls, or General Elections that failed to materialise. I'm talking about much more important non-events than that.
During 2007 life on Earth was not wiped out by a passing meteorite. No amateur astronomer suddenly spotted a huge previously-unseen lump of rock hurtling through space on an incoming trajectory. No world leader was forced to go on television and announce the imminent end of global civilisation. No blazing fireball was increasingly evident in the evening sky, no riots broke out as society broke down, and nobody had to decide who to cuddle/snog/shag during the final five minutes of human consciousness. We didn't go the way of the dinosaurs. Not in 2007. Near Earth Objects; The Torino Scale; list of past impacts; Apophis 2029
During 2007 bird flu failed to decimate the world's population. No evil virus mutated inside the bloodstream of an East Asian chicken, before accidentally transmitting itself to a small child during a freak papercut accident. No unstoppable epidemic spread across the globe unhindered by inadequate air travel safety regulations. No ambulances driven by gas-masked medics clogged the streets of Britain carting away the dead bodies of much-loved relatives inside zipped-up plastic bags. The human race didn't fall foul of pandemic viral evolution. Not in 2007. Avian influenza; be prepared; UK contingency plan; WHO pandemic alert
During 2007 the atmosphere was not stripped away by rampant global warming. No melting icecaps caused irreversible continental innundation and the permanent cessation of the Gulf Stream. No rising sea levels destroyed coastal cities and inhibited worldwide agricultural production. No deadly radiation slipped through the wafer-thin ozone layer creating lifeless parched landscapes and causing permanent epidermal scarring. No unpredictable hurricanes swept across the face of the planet drowning every unfortunate town and village beneath their path. We're not all living underwater yet. Not in 2007. climate change; UK climate impact; Bali 2007; American uncertainty
During 2007 the UK was not beset by a string of terrorist atrocities. No evil suicide bombers ran amok in our major cities causing death and destruction on an unprecedented scale. No religious zealots caused planes to crash or trains to explode, nor even managed to cause a mild detonation using bleach and peroxide in an obscure Midlands suburb. Either our security forces are extremely talented in weeding out potential killers or else our home-grown terrorists have been a bit rubbish. The forces of darkness don't appear to be converting threats into actions in quite the numbers our government might like to suggest. Not in 2007. UK Resilience; London Prepared; defending civil liberties; current threat level
And you're still here. 2007 may not have been your best year, but you've made it through to New Year's Eve in one piece. You may have suffered major disappointments or failed at something you were hoping desperately to achieve. You may have been on the receiving end of bad news or learned something you'd rather not know about your health. You may even have lost loved ones who were very dear to you. But you're still here. And, on a global scale, that's a bit of a triumph. May 2008 be similarly uneventful.