Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Have I Done This Rant Before?

It's Earth Day. Possibly the worst-named theme day in existence.

The Earth is fine. No problem with it at all. None. It's in ZERO danger for the next few billion years or first Vogon visit.

The life on it? That's a different story.

The Earth is a big ball of rock with some liquid on it, some more liquid in the middle, and a bunch of gas and particles stuck behind a shield. Stuff sticks to it largely due to gravity. It's not going anywhere it hasn't gone before.

If we pollute the fuck out it, melt the ice caps, poison the waters, burn off the atmosphere, and nuke the shit out of its landmasses, Earth will still be here.

We won't. Maybe the cockroaches will stick around, and a few of the heartier lichens.

Calls to save the Earth are poorly aimed. The planet, as a mass of matter orbiting a star, will continue until something far more powerful than us destroys it. The calls should be to save ourselves and the other forms of life on the planet. Sadly, these don't fit on a button as well, and tend to give an impression of hippiedom and radicalism. I find that very strange, since one would think the arrogance of asking people to save an entire planet would seem more outrageous.

Are we fucking up the environment? Yup. Are we messing with the "natural" balance of things? For sure. Are we endangering our own health, if not our lives? Sure thing. Are we putting countless other forms of life, which regardless of one's view on extra-terrestrial life, are unique in the universe? You betcha. Are we endangering the planet as a whole? Nope. Worst case? It looks like Venus.

The National Geographic has some photos up from the first Earth Day from 1970. A small budget, a couple people, and a lot of effort got hundreds of thousands of people to rally for environmental change. That initial effort has become a global day of attention to how shitty we are as caretakers. I suggest looking at all the photos, but this one sums up the mentality most people have. We want to do better, but actually practicing what we preach is far more difficult.

So I suggest this for today, and every day. Don't think about the Earth. Think about yourself. Think about the children in your life. Try and stretch your thought process seven generations down the road and envision the legacy we'll leave behind. Be selfish and wonder why the hell you'd try to accomplish anything if people won't be around to appreciate for all eternity. Don't think about the rock we're standing on, think about what's standing on it.

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