By Skot Ward
Earth. We have one home. We've only ever had one home. It is a little bluish green marble in the suburbs of a single spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. It is one of hundreds of billions of planets, within one of hundreds of billions of galaxies. There is a thin veil surrounding that bluish green marble which is the only thing keeping every living organism upon it alive whether it be flora or fauna. It is utterly astounding to realize that the atmosphere of our planet, a perfectly choreographed ballet of the elements Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Hydrogen, is the ONLY thing separating us from the infinite and suffocating void and vacuum of outer space; and we are unabashedly, unapologetically destroying it at ever-accelerating rates in the name of our “progress.” Any concept of progress which destroys the very foundation of its own creation, is inexorably doomed to failure.
What we don't understand about our disconnection with the environment and ourselves, is that the now incalculable imbalance which exists between the need for the environment to sustain itself, and our constant march towards progress, is exactly what is tipping the scales in favor of global destruction. It is our chosen ignorance about this which is doing it. We are cognitively dissonant about what we are doing to our own planet because it is inconvenient for us to be any other way about it. It's this lie we keep telling ourselves over and over, that we can just keep doing whatever we want to do, as long as we want to do it, and everything around us will just magically keep replenishing itself.
We live upon the surface of a planet that has finite resources. Because of those finite resources, there is a concept known as “carrying capacity” which exists in every micro, as well as macro-level of environment. Simply put, carrying capacity is the ability for any environment having finite resources to sustain itself due to the population of whatever exists in that environment. This is an incredibly delicate balance, even on a macro scale. When an entire planet’s resources are gone due to the amount of organisms using those resources, there is an inevitable collapse of the entire system, IF the populations of those organisms continue to grow exponentially and out of balance with the finite resources available to sustain them. It is ludicrous insanity that the environment isn't our number one priority. It is the one common denominator which links all of us together, despite any conceptualized level of division or categorization we feel we may be entitled to.
The scarcity of once abundant resources due to the rate of production required to keep up with the demands of a severely overpopulated planet, is the main culprit which is sealing our fate. There is a balance, a thin line between destruction and creation which we are increasingly ignoring. The Greed for profit is what is driving us into an unsustainable existence, and forever altering the delicate balance. As human beings we appear to have a “just roll the dice” approach to living on the surface of this world, and as any gambler will tell you; the house always wins.
Now, it isn't all bad news. Over at least the past couple decades we've made great strides in the science of alternative energy. Wind power, solar power, machines which artificially replicate the process of photosynthesis, turning sunlight into the energy to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide. The ecological footprint of commuter transportation has improved enormously within densely populated cities around the globe. There is increasingly less and less of a reliance upon fossil fuels to power the ever meshing gears of our society. All of these examples and much more, serve as definitive contributions to what we have accomplished for the protection of the ecology and environment of our planet. But as with all things, the sooner a solution is sought to a problem, the more likely that solution will become the remedy for the problem. We are fast approaching a point of no return where the damage we have done to our planet will be completely irreversible.
We all need to be crystal clear about a glaringly obvious fact; there is no alternative; there is no other place to go. Even if the Kepler Mission at NASA finds us new homes to live upon, there are many hundreds of thousands of light-years separating us from them. Given our present level of technology, we have no way of getting there without employing multi-generational deep space transportation. How we can consciously know that, and continue upon the path we're on, is us not caring about our own reflection of death in the mirror.
Skot Ward describes himself as such: I've had 41 trips around the sun to make sense of this little blue dot floating inside infinite space. I truly believe that if enough people care, we can all make sense of it together.
Brian McKay describes him as the coolest guy he has ever met at a wedding.