“I started thinking about the whole issue of biodiversity in the anthropocene when Bob with the BO told me he wasn’t going to use a straw with his coffee anymore,” John Thomas tells us as we refuse a handshake. “Who the hell drinks coffee through a straw anyway, right?” he exclaims.

“So I thought what else I could do. One idea that the Council on Biodiversity had suggested was to stop eating meat. Obviously I wasn’t going to do that because I’m not the type. I haven’t got any tattoos and I’ve only smoked weed once in my life. I did think of getting a petition together for KFC to source their chicken more locally but no-one wants to live next to a chicken coop. They smell.”

“Then it occured to me, isn’t the school itself an eco-system? Okay it doesn’t produce any edible crops but there are organisms everywhere. We’re killing off a rich diversity of bacteria everyday by soaping them out of existence. Not to mention, after each pee I use at least two paper towels. I concluded that the best way to promote biodiversity was to skip washing my hands and just give them a good wipe on my shirt.”

We ask Thomas if he agrees with Ban Ki-moon’s statement that he is a “hero for our time.”

“I don’t know about that,” he replies, modestly. “I’m just one guy trying to – hey, mosquitos aren’t pollinators are they?”

As we assure him that they are not, his eyes have locked on to something weaving through the air in the staffroom.

“Thank Christ for that!” He claps his hands and opens them to reveal a small red smudge on each palm. We decline another handshake as we leave Thomas to his one-man struggle against extinction.

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