By David Krieger
Sunday, 22 April 2012
We live in a vast universe made up of billions of galaxies, each of which is made up of billions of stars. Our home is a small planet that revolves around a small sun in a remote galaxy. It is just the right distance from the sun so that it is not too hot or too cold to support life. It has air that is breathable, water that is drinkable and topsoil suitable for growing crops. In the immensity of space, it is a very small dot, what astrophysicist Carl Sagan referred to as a "pale blue dot." Our Earth is the only place we know of that harbors life. It is precious beyond any riches that could be imagined.
One would think that any sane, self-reflecting creatures that lived on this planet would recognize its beauty and preciousness and would want to tend to it with care. In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic book, "The Little Prince," the prince says: "It's a matter of discipline. When you've finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend to your planet." But that is an imaginary planet with an imaginary little prince. On the real planet that supports life, the one we inhabit, there aren't enough of us who exercise such discipline and tend to our planet with loving care.
Think about how we have managed our planet. We have allowed the planet to become divided into rich and poor, where a few people have billions of dollars and billions of people have few dollars. While some live in greed, the majority live in need. We have parceled the planet into entities we call countries and created borders that countries try to protect. We have created military forces in these countries and given them enormous resources to prepare for war and to engage in war. Annual global military expenditures now exceed $1.6 trillion, while hundreds of millions of humans live without clean water, adequate nutrition, medical care and education.
We have eagerly exploited the planet's resources with little concern for future generations or for the damage we cause to the environment. Instead of using renewable energy from the sun to provide our energy needs, we exploit the Earth's stores of oil and transport them across the globe. We have turned much of the world into desert. We have polluted the air we breathe and the water we drink. In our excess, we have pushed the planet toward the point of no return in global warming and then argued global warming as a reason to build more nuclear power plants.
Continue reading at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8584-the-discipline-of-tending-to-our-own-planet