Hello fellow humans (and animals that can read). I am going to make a quick assumption, with apologies to anyone currently reading this from the International Space Station, and posit that all of you are currently on Earth. I am also going to assume that the majority of you have not only never not been on Earth, but will also never leave it. That’s it. You’re stuck here. You are in intergalactic time-out. And let’s be honest, even if you did leave Earth permanently you would probably end up on another planet. We simply can’t survive out in space forever. We need a planet.
Sure, you are thinking, we need a planet, but do we really care that much about it? Is it more important than, say, money? Is it more important than you personally? If you saw a missile heading toward our little planet and you could stop it from destroying everything by driving your spaceship in front of it and blowing yourself up, would you do it? Would you sacrifice your life for billions of others? Or would you say “hasta la vista, tierra,” and steer your craft to Mars and try to make the best of it? How important is the earth when compared with your car? Or your job? Where would you put the planet on the list?
Well, look, planets are pretty important. They provide things you would probably miss if they were gone, like food and air. I am sitting in Panera typing this, and there is a fascinating conversation going on next to me that I do not have time to tell you all about, but one of the guys involved just said “I mean, I’m just not an environment type of guy. Like, it’s not a passion of mine. I think the environment is fine, but I don’t want to hear about it.” This guy would maybe not mind a lack of air and food. He’s not really a “clean drinking water kind of guy.” Sure, breathing is okay, but it isn’t really a passion of his. And this maybe is the problem with how we think about the planet these days. We kind of take it for granted. To some it is just not conceivable that the planet might be unlivable at some point. Look out the window! There is plenty of planet! And it is so big! How could I have an impact on it?!
Well, you and your 7 billions friends have an impact on it, Panera-Bro. He has now said “Well I don’t know about climate, because I’m not a scientist.” Luckily, scientists have done actual informed research, and all those not sponsored by a large corporation have concluded that we are ruining our planet. I’m not going to spend time here and now explaining exactly how we are doing this, or how you can fix it. There are plenty of places to look if you care about such things. I’m more talking to you if you do not care about such things. Why do you not care? Why is this not the only thing you are thinking about? Why are you allowing politicians to speak about anything else? It’s as if you are locked in your house, the house is on fire, and you can either talk about a) putting the fire out, b) if the couch looks good over there, or c) who ate the last of the Cheetos when they were clearly your Cheetos. And nobody wants to talk about a! Probably because the fire hasn’t gotten to the room they are standing in, and they assume the smoke detectors have faulty batteries and are just going off again for no reason.
There are other options to putting the fire out. We could all wear flame-suits to protect us from the heat. That would work for a while, right? But then are we really living in the house? I am all for using technology to solve the problems of our modern times, but that can get dangerous. We could create machines to suck carbon out of the air. We could genetically modify food so that we can get more nutrients out of less farm space. But eventually, is it even Earth anymore? We could go to Mars, set up machines to warm the air, fix the atmosphere up for us, and make the place livable. But if any of those machine fail, we’re screwed. Do we want Earth to be as naturally livable to humans as Mars? Do we want to rely on machines to keep the human race alive? And are these machine running Windows 10?! And do they need to reboot and install new updates four times a day?! And will the air fixers get hacked with a virus because their A.I. accepted a friend request from some random Eastern European girl in a bikini that seemed to be friends with six other friends, but in fact has never met the air fixers before?! We can’t let that happen! We need our planet!
We are all roommates here on the third rock from the sun, and so we all need to co-exist and take care of the place together. Even Panera-Bro. Boy, the environmental issues is the least intetesting part of their conversation. I wish you were here with me so that we could gossip about it. But regardless, Panera-Bro, you are my planetary roommate and you need to help me clean the place. I understand that we will have different ideas on how to do this. I am open to listening to yours. If you want to be a little messier than me, and leave your stinky socks on the coffee table, I will not evict you. We might have a fight about it, but the apartment is still habitable. If, however, I come home to find you have set the coffee table on fire and you seem to think this is fine, then maybe this isn’t the place for you. All I want is to live here and not die. If you can’t work with me on that, then I guess you should move out and let the people who care about the place maintain it for a while.