Let’s face it, as our planet sails through the heavens no matter what happens the sun is going to come up every day for the next five billion years or so – unless we get creamed by a really big asteroid which turns this little blue ark into so much space dust.
That makes worrying about the Earth a macro-pastime, which really translates into worrying about our species – the human family of celestial voyagers – with an occasional after-thought to what we consider the lesser species sharing the vessel.
Because it’s merely a pastime rather than a serious concern (we apparently have wealth, power and the unproven divine to consider ahead of the health of the planet) we manage to indulge in our favourite game – politicizing anything we don’t want to deal with seriously. The health of the environment has become the property of the Left: the health of the wealth – the Right.
We’re very Darwinian about this. I don’t know this for a fact, but all the indicators are there. The rich and powerful are either too busy to imagine — or evidently feel their money will them make them strong enough to survive — any environmental catastrophe that comes down the pike, including the big wham from outer space.
But the real and insidious problem is that our own species has become an infestation on the planet. Too damned many of us for the ecology (and the economy) to support. If there were a celestial gardener then maybe, like aphids, we’d receive a goodly dose of spray and problem solved.
Think about it in elemental terms. Every morning you crawl out of bed, head for the bathroom and excrete what you haven’t digested overnight. That’s about a pound of poop. A pound times 5 billion and counting.
Fortunately Mother Earth is dealing with this crap, but for how long?
Humans are intelligent – misguided at times, but intelligent. I believe we’re starting to awaken and we’re beginning to revisit what farmers and herdsmen knew instinctively for eons – “look after the earth because it’s all we’ve got”. If we’re gone from it, it won’t matter to the Earth. The planet will eventually repair itself and continue on its course without us. All in all, we, the human species, are pretty inconsequential – the Earth can get along without us but we can’t get along without it.
However, there are still a few fellow voyagers who don’t get it. They confuse the depersonalizing of greed – a la “it’s just business” – with the concept of absolution, and unfettered overpopulation with divine right.
But, on the whole, individuals, families, organizations and some nations are starting to knuckle down to seek solutions. That means with a little luck, we’ll continue to see a fair number of future sunrises as we sail on through space.
“Trashed Earth” Gideon Wright @ flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.