With doomsday fast approaching when the Mayan calendar comes to an abrupt end in 2012, I sense it's time to cultivate a relationship with the likely inheritors of the earth.

Over the holidays, I've been offering token friendship to the cockroaches that occasionally invade my bach, discreetly leaving out a few crumbs from the remains of the Christmas cake. Call it cautionary insurance - like praying to uncertain divinity, but with predictions gathering force on the likely end of the world, one might need all the chums you can find if there's to be any hope of survival.

When the Apocalypse arrives, I will cautiously slip a few unsuspecting cockroaches outside the front door and observe their behaviour.

This is a variation of precautions commonly used by coal miners, using caged canaries to detect carbon monoxide levels underground. Clearly, if my cockroaches go belly-up, one must presume that the end of the world is not simply another drill, like Y2K, when the Millennium Bug was going to wreck the planet's computers, aircraft were going to fall out of the sky and we were all going back to the 19th century.

Modern man got that prediction so hopelessly wrong, I am still slightly cautious about believing that the ancient Mayan's "long calendar", which stops abruptly on December 23 in 2012, is any more reliable as a forerunner of some mysterious nemesis.

I know very little about Mayan culture or their obsession with dating systems, but presume they simply got bored with chipping calendars in stone and wisely decided to leave events beyond 2012 to others equipped with more advanced technology.

That's why today we all have PDA electronic calendar devices that don't direly end in two years' time.

However, that's not going to stop a lot of gullible people believing that something awful is still likely to happen, simply because according to various experts, Western thinking is basically inbred to accept an "apocalyptic culture".

We actually like to believe that something mysteriously uncontrollable will happen to our fragile existence - particularly if it's man-made folly - like the misuse of nuclear weaponry, or our latest concern: post-industrial excesses leading to some form of disastrous climate change. We're all programmed into guilt and punishment beliefs, leaving many naively ready to accept doomsday scenarios, even when they're tinged with obvious snake oil marketing techniques, such as practised recently by self-interest agencies at Copenhagen.

Apocalyptic visions, as always, are led by Hollywood studios that clearly see monetary value in presenting the wrath of God in a variety of exhausting and very boring movies.

They're followed more stealthily by political opportunists who sense novel new opportunities to gather revenue by deviously scaring people into believing that carbon taxes will resolve the planet's ever-changing climate and physical wellbeing. The only certainty we can safely predict about the future is that innovative profit taking will continue to play a major part in keeping Juju beliefs alive and well.

Al Gore and his followers have certainly discovered that doomsday climate change scenarios - true, false or wildly exaggerated - are proving to be a road paved with gold, as US Government agencies lavish large sums on his associated companies offering alternative energy resources - with Mr Gore predicted to become the first "green" billionaire.

In the meantime, back in my humble bach, I've had a change of heart about the significance of the ending of the Mayan calendar, realising I should be more personally concerned about 2033, when I reach 100. Based on the known variables of average life expectation, I've decided I should concentrate on becoming matey with the local earthworms rather than fraternising with cockroaches.