Koonagi

Koonagi's World

Personal Blog of Eric J. Kuhns

It's Earth Day! Here's Why That Matters.

Pale Blue Dot photo taken February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers.

Happy Earth day, everyone! In honor of our ellipsoid-shaped sphere, I thought I would dedicate today's article to our most important holiday. I hope to get get across in this article just how important today is. I suppose I'll begin with a brief history. It's widely believed that Earth Day came about due to this photograph:  

This is the first image ever taken of our Earth from the moon. After this photo was published to the masses, it became more difficult to view ourselves as divided nations. Suddenly, Earth was this place that we all lived and we realized we were killing our home with carbon emissions, cutting trees and plant life, and harming nature in general. Out of this thought, was born Earth Day, in 1970.

Since then, with the help of science educators/innovators and their research, we have had to come to terms with how we affect the planet and what needs to be done. Some like to celebrate this day and ignore the facts that come along with it, so it is important to not only revere this day, but to remind the public that "yes, we are destroying the environment" and "yes, global warming, as well as many other factors, our contributing to the reasons we need this day to exist."

In honor of Earth day, some friends and I made this video awhile back:

In all seriousness, Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays and it should be yours as well. I mean, after all, it's all we have until we make incredible leaps in interstellar travel technology. As you go to work today, I challenege you to think of at least one thing you can change in your life to help the environment. Maybe that's picking up trash, or driving a little less, or maybe just not leaving the sink running longer than it need to. There are so many factors that can go into saving our Earth - don't you think it's worth it to save the only ecosystem that's keeping you, your friends, and your family alive?

I'll leave you with my favorite quote of all time by Carl Sagan, which coincides with the first picture you saw on this article. After this picture was taken showing Earth suspended in a beam of light, per Sagan's suggestion, Carl wrote a book entitled, "The Pale Blue Dot". Still to this day, it is my favorite book and I never get tired reading it and listening to it be read by Dr. Sagan himself. What a humbling experience it is to see our large(to us) planet sitting in the vacuum of space as a pale blue dot.

(You can read below as the video plays.)

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space