The other day, I was watching the movie “Martian”. I was immersed in the movie cheering him on while he struggled to survive on Mars. Along with him, I was celebrating each of his minor victories such as being able to grow potato (which we more or less take for granted on Earth) by rigging up various contraptions in a tent and felt his despair when everything blew up in the tent and his fresh crop of potatoes was destroyed. I was totally absorbed by the movie and did not think much about our own Earth until Earth day. Earth lets us take life and its essentials for granted and provides life without major demands.
Earth is in the sweet spot of the solar system to provide the right conditions for life. A bit too close to the Sun and we would be toast. A bit further from Sun, we would be too cold. Some believe that genetic material in asteroids landed on earth eons ago and the ideal environment created life and evolution created us. Yet others do believe that god made earth in about a week’s time. I sure am glad either way to be alive and enjoying the seasons, sights, sounds, colors, textures, sunrise, sunset, the feeling of the water around me as I swim and the fragrance of the grass as I mow the lawn.
I remember participating in the National Geographic’s genomics project to find out where my ancestors came from and what route they took out of Africa. Along with the results came a movie that showed interviews across the world with people of different races and also traced various races out of Africa to as far as Mongolia and India. Mankind has struggled against all odds and survived serious calamities and in the process populated the planet.
In our quest to improve our life we have harnessed science and are discovering the wonders of nature every day. We have also been callous with the bounty of mother Earth because while trying to improve our life, we have depleted the Earth of its minerals, polluted the air with chemicals and transformed our once Green landscape to a highly built up planet. Our build up is so severe that in parts of the planet, animals are losing their habitat and are being killed as they venture out of their small forest in search of food.
Ironically, we do have national campaigns that permit killing of certain animals like wolves or bears and the justification is that we want to restore the balance. I say it is Ironic because we are the ones that need to scale back our population. With increasing mouths to feed and bodies to shelter, we have taken up forest lands and are now converting farms into apartments. There is talk of synthetic meat apart from synthetic food that we already have. Really, what is the point of having so much population growth when we have only one Earth and she is struggling to keep us alive against our best efforts to the contrary.
It is only fitting that on Earth day, we take a look around us and decide what is really important for us so that we can optimize our consumption (and hence the drain on Earth). Switch off lights when you leave the room to save energy and related pollution. We need a revolution to save this planet because it is almost too late. The question “Is this what we want to leave for our children” will stop making any sense. So please join me today and promise to be more aware of your impact on Earth and to optimize your foot print.