This world is not for us
When I was a young boy (I can't remeber how old exactly, I was in grade school, perhaps the sixth or seventh grade) I had a class assignment that required Collaboration with several other students. I can remember one of my partners, Victor Sotomayor, but for the life of me I cant remember the other guy's name. Its not important.
The project was an interesting one; we had to envison what a future city would look like (no particular date was set, just the 'future') and then create a small scale model with cardboard, glue, paper mache, and whatever else we could get our hands on. This is probably the kind of thing I wouldn't mind doing as an adult, it sounds so cool, and while I dont really think my imagination is any better now than when I was a kid, it has 'matured' a great deal. I wasted a good opportunity to put my soul into my project, but then I had two other partners to negotiate with.
Our city turned out to be rather dull, it was powered by water (hydro-electric? Sure, the science behind it was never well explained, all we knew was that coal was too old-fashioned and in the future we would need something cleaner) and the cars used a fuel that made no pollution; childish fantasy, I know.
Many of the other models were impressive, but after the first few they became rather repetitive. After all, we grew up in new York city, a very metropolitan city, we had a good idea of what a city should look like. Nine out of ten of the models had enormous skyscrapers, buildings miles high in the air. Nine out of ten had cars that flew. Nine out of ten had some exotic if poorly explained source of energy. In our naivity we assumed humanity would naturally stumble upon the perfect new energy source, (but not nuclear power, we were convinced that anything nuclear was scary and bad) even if we didn't know what it was yet. Some scientist would figure it out some day, not us, it wouldnt matter, when that day came we would give him or her a medal, plug our electric cars into the wall socket, and drone on as if nothing had happened.
One of the models was a bit unusual, and because it was, I remembered it slightly stronger if not better than the others. It was an all-girl team, which is not important, nor is the name of the girl who spoke and presented her 'city'. She was a shy and soft-spoken girl, so its no wonder I cant remember her name, and the classes' reaction quickly lent itself to some confusion. Their 'city' was a plain covereed with hundreds of missles all pointed up into the air. Naturally, we laughed. Their city looked like some kind of futuristic missle complex in the deserts of Nevada.
In between childish laughter and chiding we asked why, why the missiles. Our teacher regained control of the class and countered
"Let her explain, and then maybe it will all make sense"
She explained, but she was such a horribly bad speaker and such a bore and I, as a child, had such a horrible attention span. I gather the missiles were there to protect us from some nearby asteroid, or maybe it had some connection with the 'red' threat (I was born in 1980, back when there was still a USSR and the Soviets had nukes pointed at us from every angle). All I know is this, their city was NO city, and that was the whole point.
If I had been given access to the knowledge I have now, and given unlimited time, and partners who would agree to my every whim, I would have made an amazing metropolis, a mix between Krypton and San Francisco/Starfleet headquarters in the Star Trek universe, complete with fusion reactor power planets, hover cars, and exotic starships. But I can't help but think of a future with a dark side, a side that was plagued by our faults and weaknesses as a race. I could envision worse than a city leveled to make room for a missle grid. What if our city project had turned out to be a box filled with sand---that's the future, a barren desert!
Yesterday someone pointed out that the bee population is in decline, the rationale? Insecticides. We're pumping our chemicals and junk into the air, water, and land and killing the biggest of animals to the smallest. I dont know if I completely agree with it, but I agree with one thing, when the bees go, so do we. The bees pollenate the plants, the plants are eaten by animals, we eat the animals, and so on. If we kill the cycle, we kill ourselves.
The orrator (owner of a pizza shop) went on to say that that's plain stupid and like shooting ourselves in the foot. After all, God gave us a gift by putting the fruits here for us to eat, the trees here to make air for us to breath, the fish in the water for us to eat, and so on.
I cant help but disagree, strongly. Planet Earth was not put here for us to enjoy, it was here for billions of years and will never know if we were to promptly vanish one day. The first trees are older than us by many millions of years, and so are the first fish and the first plants. If their purpose was to serve us there is a problem with the system, because they existed before us and could easily be said to have had a purpose before we first learned to walk.(how many other animals eat fruit or fish?)
The Earth does not revolve about the sun at an ideal distance for water and life to have developed. Its no coincidence that Venus and Mars once had oceans, nor is it mentioned nearly enough that the Earth was not always covered in water. (and I humbly suggest that in the distant future our oceans too, will dry up)At one time the planet was covered in a cloud of volcanic eruptions that would have killed any oxygen-breathing lifeform INSTANTLY. The universe did not conform to suit our needs, rather the Earth came first and life adapted to its environment.
The kind of thinking that the Earth needs us or that it was made for us is the same kind of thinking that leads to deforestation, overpopulation, pollution, waste, etc. Humanity, in its infancy, is beginning to figure out some of the ways that the universe works, but the infant can easily choke on the very toy that it plays with. If we still cling to the grossly incorrect, chauvanistic, and egocentric idea that we are at the center of the universe we will not even be able to perceive or cope with our demise as a species when the inevitable day comes. Over 90% of all the things that ever lived on the Earth are extinct, what makes humans special? A soul? Are we smart enough to avoid extinction? We're not even smart enough to realize that we're speeding up the process.
There Will Come Soft Rain
There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone
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