This is my rendition of the image of earth rising over the horizon of the moon as seen by Apollo astronauts. I used a technique called scratchboard drawing. Scratchboard drawing involves scraping away the black coating to reveal the smooth white background. In a sense it is drawing in the negative and always a challenge to get my brain to essentially draw in reverse. Kind of an artistic cognitive dissonance.
Contained on this island of water, soil, and atmosphere is the only home to known life in the universe. Statistically, it is unlikely the only life in the universe, but it is likely that we will never discover extra-terrestrial life of any kind and extremely likely that only in the realm of science fiction will we ever contact another sentient species.
So this is it.
It is evident that the first look at the new Trump administration has a different outlook on our relationship with the natural world than I do. According to Sarah Palin (from September 2015 CNN interview), who may be in the running for Secretary of the Interior, “Energy is my baby, Oil and gas and minerals – those things that God has dumped on this part of the earth for mankind’s use instead of us relying on unkind foreign nations for us to import their resources.” This viewpoint is stunningly short-sighted and if enacted as energy policy potentially catastrophic. There may be doubt in the mind of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump that humans are impacting the environment, but the scientific evidence says otherwise. It is clear that we can alter the planet. And not just the atmosphere. In Oklahoma hydraulic fracking has quite possibly caused an increased in earthquakes. We can and are changing the earth. What is terrifying for me is that those coming into power either don’t accept this or care more about the financial interest of energy corporations. There is only one result of this path–the exhaustion of the earth’s resources and the destruction of the ecosystems upon which we depend for survival. But even that sentiment is coming from an anthropomorphic viewpoint that is unsustainable. Continuing to value the other species and resources of the Earth only in connection to our use will result in degradation of the biosphere.
The Earth is not ours to do with as we damn well please. If we continue to live this way we will use up all the finite resources upon which we and all life on the earth depends. So, we are risking all known life in the universe by our actions. Or, we could continue to strive to reduce our impact, develop alternative sources of energy, change our the story we enact to be one of preservation and ensure the future for ourselves and all known life. And if I’m wrong, what’s the harm? We have a cleaner planet anyway. Talk about cognitive dissonance. Why choose a story with only one possible ending–our eventual extinction from this One Earth?