Save the earth. I hate that phrase. Who are we to deem ourselves the ‘Stewards of the earth’ as if we are more than a microscopic blip on the cosmic plane, let alone in our planet’s existence? Perhaps we should remember our standing in the universe.
Take a moment.
Take a moment and think about how insignificant you are even today, an age when placing your whole life on display is a mere screen tap away. Now, take a moment and think about how old the earth is at 4.6 billion years old – humans rarely make it past 100 years. So on a planet that is robust enough to survive immeasurable tectonic forces, atmospheric events beyond imagining and climate fluctuations that would wipe out humans without a second thought – how is that we think we are going to be its downfall? The answer is – we’re not. It’s as simple as that. We are going to leave the planet in a vastly different state than when we first appeared, but the very nature of extinction means that the environment has changed so that a species no longer has a suitable niche to match what it evolved to live in. Just that in most cases, it’s not the species that has caused the catastrophic environmental destruction that wipes itself out along with countless others.
The earth has survived much worse than humans and will continue just fine after we are gone. It’s just a shame that we are taking so many beautiful creatures with us.
We are no stewards for this environment and we are no better than any other species on earth. We not even any more advanced than any other species one earth. When I was doing my undergraduate studies, a wise professor warned me about the use of the term ‘advanced’. How do you determine the parameters for ‘advanced’? Are we ‘advanced’ because we have developed what we like to call ‘culture’? Or mantis shrimp ‘advanced’ because they can see colours that humans cannot even conceive of? Or perhaps ancient bacteria are ‘advanced’ because they have outlasted countless other species?
Human existence is incredibly fragile. There is nothing particularly notable about our innate immune systems, and certainly nothing robust about our physicality. Perhaps we should recognise that and be honest with ourselves. We are not a species destined for durability. We will go extinct – it is an inevitability. I think most people have forgotten that.
Conservation efforts seem like an apology to other species for our poor behaviour. Research papers read like an obituary for the earth. It’s time for humans to step back and realise our place in the world. Let’s do the rest of the planet a favour and try not to accelerate anyone else’s extinction.
Our sheer existence is miraculous on monumental proportions. When you think of the innumerable events since the start of time that had to occur for your atoms to align exactly as they are, you really start to get perspective on how lucky we are to even exist at all. So step back and take in all the wonders of the earth that have facilitated your existence. Marvel at the other creatures lucky enough to have this experience. But most of all, take a moment for the earth.