Taking Care Of Planet Earth - Can We Learn From Our Mistakes?

As we continue to live under lockdown conditions with our normal way of life being interrupted to an extent which would scarcely have been possible only a couple of months ago, I am reminded of a couple of tidbits of info.These inspired me to reflect and I hope shall serve to do the same for you. For those of you already familiar, it can do no harm to revisit such thought provoking works. 
The human race has always suffered from timely reminders of our relative feebleness. In Bill Bryson’s bestselling book,  ‘A Short History Of Nearly Everything’, he speaks about the fact that over 99.99% of all the species of animal which have ever inhabited the earth are extinct. We, the human race, are walking a collective tightrope, doing our best to deal with all that mother nature and science can throw at us. 

Photo source Pexels

Nature has provided constant reminders of our precarious existence, from the extinction of the dinosaurs, to the melting of glaciers at the lend of the last ice age, to the more recent volcanic eruptions such as at Mt Etna, to the catastrophic tsunami of 2005, to the Meteor strike which fortunately landed in the Siberian wilderness, the infamous Stunguska Event of 1908. Again I am sure many of you will be familiar but this particular instance was called the tunguska event.

Scientifically, from the splitting of the atom to the manufacture of the Atomic bomb, and its subsequent devastating use over the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945 in order to force the Japanese Emperor Hirohito to surrender and thus bring an end to the Second World War.

Then we “progressed” to the Hydrogen Bomb, (‘affectionately’ also known as the H bomb). From the horrors of gas warfare in the trenches of world war one (Immortalised by in his poem and first hand eye witness account,  to the use of Carbon Monoxide utilised by the Nazis during the Holocaust: to the stockpiling of Uranium, or even the perpetual threat of a potential cataclysm via nuclear disaster or warfare, plus a whole host of other worrysome things. There are a number of huge issues which I am hopeful will be able to be dealt with in a more productive manner. 

Under the circumstances we find ourselves in, when we are made fully aware of our dependence upon both the world and the people around us, it would be wise to consider our actions and interactions moving forward. 

I am reminded in particular of a short little 4-6 minute video which was shown to me by a friend a few years ago entitled, ‘Pale Blue Dot’. In brief, the video features a very famous photograph taken of the Earth in 1990 from a distance of 3.7 billion miles by the Voyager 1 space probe. 

Photo source Pexels

The Earth therefore appears to be a mere speck of dust surrounded by the blackness of space.  Accompanying the video is footage from famous historic world events and it is narrated by the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan. Sagan incidentally was the man credited with coining the term, “Pale Blue Dot”, which is what the photograph is now called. 

The video leads one to question all the BS we surround ourselves with; the false ideals, the materialistic junk and it might make you question the very base notions of what you consider success, prosperity, longevity, legacy or contentment to be. 

It’s a great watch, and as I say, at a time such as this, I think we can all reflect to some degree, on the things which truly matter in life. Apart from the obvious such as the health of our loved ones and the quality time we spend with them there will be a much more encompassing sense of fragility to some degree. We certainly are reminded again that we are all one really, all united in our fears, worries and stresses posed by this pandemic. 

The level of international co-operation during a peacetime event is unprecedented, thanks largely to the advancements to communication in this, the technological age. Never before have world leaders been able to ask for and to receive such a level of control and willing co-operation on such an unimaginable scale. Over 2 billion people are on lockdown!

I hope this sense of unity can help us to improve the cooperation between nations in order to provide better solutions to some of the problems facing our species and our planet. One thing I’d like to see although it remains a rather lofty concept at this point, is a more aggressive approach in the field of sustainable energy.

There are some global superpowers who are still building coal powered power stations, in one country, at the almost unthinkable rate of one every week. This, despite the fact that these countries as well as our own have had the means to be able to invest in other means of securing reliable and efficient energy sources. 

Photo source Pexels

I hope such methods will be considered as a total waste and short sighted but time will tell. It just seems rather prehistoric in this day and age for a global superpower to be investing so much of its wealth on non-renewable energy sources. Perhaps one day it shall be brought into legislature unilaterally across the board. Sustainable energy sources are the way of the future.

Lots of people are forecasting all kinds of changes ‘post-pandemic’, and there will certainly be a raised level of awareness regarding issues we were relatively ignorant of and therefore falsely impervious to only a few months ago. How long will this awareness last, will it change certain aspects of our way of life in certain ways for good?

I am hopeful that the COVID 19 pandemic will have some positive effects as we move forward on ‘this mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam’, Sagan.

*Contributed by Michael David. *Header photo source Pexels.

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