Biodiversity on the Blue Marble
Assignment: To speak for 15-20 minutes generally on the topic of biodiversity. Yeah, I can do that–on May 5, Floyd’s Land’s Sake event.
And so I am hoping to put that consideration in the framework of the past 42 years since the first Earth Day (since that celebration is the basis for this 4th annual spring meeting.) I think to keep the numbers round, I’ll look back 40 years to the Apollo 17 mission that sent us the “Blue Marble” dazzling image of Earth, suspended in space, so serene and whole and full of promise. From a distance. Do you remember? Did that image have an impact on you like it did on me?
In the early 70s, for a time, it seemed that we as a species finally comprehended that we stood at a decisive crossroads looking forward. We could foul our nest beyond repair. We could actually sicken the soil, the air, the oceans. Our reach and our numbers were having a global impact after all.
If we chose to, we could take responsibility for preserving our own health and continuity by preserving the health and integrity of the planet. Then Reagan’s Rugged Individualism and swelling corporatocracy supplanted all those lofty intentions. The path since those years has been an inconsistent trail of successes and failures to put earth systems first (or even into the equation), often trending toward anti-earth choices in recent years. But…
I want to see the glass half full. And there are a number of things–far too many for a 15 minute essay–that give me hope. And that’s where I’ll direct my words.
So I may, on the blog, for what it’s worth, toss out a few of those hopeful transformations I see in our thinking, acting, voting and doing–in our technologies, philosophies and even among (sorry to say it this way) our dominion-and-apocalypse-focused religious folk.
Some good things are happening because many see the edge of the cliff; we have a strong and instinctive reflex to avoid steep edges, even at the level of civilizations. Change is possible and its basis quantifiable because we have the tools to show us trends of change and vital signs for today and tipping points before they arrive.
Hope is warranted because most people, even those who might think they would be happy if man were the only species on the planet, are beginning to acknowledge that Earth will go on without us, but we cannot go on if we send millions of species to premature extinction, take too much too fast and leave too little, despoiled, wasted and lost to the future. A re-think is urgent. And it is happening.
I know most readers left after the second paragraph, so I’ll just end without adding any specific conversation points or resources I’m looking at in this regard. Maybe later this week after I’ve thought about it a bit more myself.