Secular Sources of Hope Part 2: The Ecological Imperative

It’s our planet, why would anyone not want to take care of it? It’s our home. It makes sense to want to protect it. The people who understand this are in a constant battle with the selfish and greedy.

‘The state political elites serve capital. They are unable or unwilling to control and regulate capital even when the very survival of the human race is ultimately at stake. One is reminded of the radical literary theorist Frederick Jameson’s quip that ‘it is easier to imagine a total catastrophe which ends all life on earth than it is to imagine a real change in capitalist relations’ –Graham Howes

We are losing this battle and the science supports this.  The Earth’s temperature has risen (source):

And it is human caused (source):

Scientists predict potentially disastrous results from global warming. Including more frequent and severe weather, higher death rates, wildlife extinction and more. It  is not all doom and gloom we can fight it and we can give ourselves and others a lot of hope. The David Suzuki Foundation has ten great ways:

  • Get involved
  • Be energy efficient
  • Choose renewable power
  • Eat wisely
  • Trim your waste
  • Let polluters pay
  • Fly less
  • Get informed
  • Green your commute
  • Support and Donate

All of these things all of us can do. Even if we only do a few we will feel a lot less guilty and a lot more hopeful that we are doing our part to keep the planet healthy. Carl Sagan summarized why caring for this planet (and each other) is so important, quite beautifully, in this video:

 

 

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest.

But for us, it’s different. Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.

On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.

The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager,

every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love,

every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician,

every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there

– on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.

Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner,

how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.

In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit yes. Settle, not yet.

Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience.

There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.

To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

-Carl Sagan

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