Whenever I interact with the wider community these days I find myself having brief conversations with strangers about the end of the world as we know it.

Shop assistants, bank tellers, delivery-persons, garage mechanics – all the folk who actually keep things ticking over - each have a witticism or an observation, delivered with either a devil-may-care smile or an embrace-the-inevitable frown, that says: "Yes, I know the world's ending, but what else can I do?"

And as much as I'd like to urge them to rise up in revolt while they still can, I too know there's precious little any of us can do, even en masse, to make the huge and drastic changes that would need to be made to avoid catastrophe.

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So I shrug and grin sympathetically in return, wish them a nice day, and carry on about my business. Life goes on, until it doesn't.

Call it fatalism if you must, but it only takes five minutes consulting Dr Google to discover the world is going over the cliff six ways before Sunday.

And having spent a few decades wondering how we'll face up to these crises, I'm strangely heartened to find the "little people" are manifesting a stoic bravery in acceptance of their fate.

Of course the deniers – the people for whom money is more important than life itself – will automatically bah-humbug the very idea and go right on shining their tawdry badges of confidence as they hustle toward their first or next million.

Deep down they know they're living a lie, but they don't allow themselves to think about it, or certainly not to dwell on it; such thoughts are inconveniences they can't afford to give credence to, lest they be forced to admit their fault and expected to do something about it.

Besides, one person's disaster is another's windfall, and if you're in the right business there's plenty of disaster going around.

Even something as banal as house price increases, which are always portrayed as "positive"; apparently there's nothing negative about another few thousand people being denied the opportunity of ever owning a home.

But hey, they probably wouldn't get to enjoy it for very long, so let's not worry about them.

This unavoidable fatalistic approach is reflected in the people who lead us, repeating and embellishing the worst mistakes of the past.

Chairman Xi is enshrining himself as the new all-powerful Mao; Vlad the Poisoner is distinctly Stalinesque in his casual brutality; while The Donald is the sort of vicious clown you might find climbing out of a Stephen King novel – a Senator Joe McCarthy meets Herman Munster character.

The rise of these and other, lesser, megalomaniacs is clear evidence the people of the world have lost faith in the future, and so clutch at any straw, no matter how twisted and bizarre, that pretends to some form of strength in the face of overwhelming adversity.

But as we all know, at heart, such bombasts will deliver nothing good.

Where does that leave us?

Well, don't stop trying to improve things, because as bad as it seems – and it seems terminal – there is always hope.

At the least you'll go out with a clear conscience.

But while Jacinda's baby beams a small ray of sunshine, the young have the rotten end of the stick and are hardly rushing to thank us for it, whereas we older ones can comfort ourselves that we lived in the best of all possible times – so party on, dudes.

There now. I've briefly disturbed your morning coffee with a smile or a frown. Have a nice day.