Friday, June 10, 2011

Earth: Leave Already!

Nothing personal, but I've often said that the human race is really nothing more than a virulent rash on planet Earth and it must really be itching to get rid of us. After all, we only take, take, take and rarely, if ever, give anything back. Planting a few trees here and there is nice but when you're essentially raping rain forests to obtain palm oil for your candy bar or some other modern, temporary comfort, it doesn't really balance out.

So, you can imagine my smugness when not one - but two - trusted news sources shouted in agreement during the same week.

First, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times let us know plaintively that "The Earth is Full." He opens with a peek into the future:
"You really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we’ll look back at the first decade of the 21st century — when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornadoes plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all — and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we’d crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once."
Seems that the human population is, according to Global Footprint Network, using up natural resources significantly faster than can they be replenished. Thus, we are 'eating into the future.' Mankind is using about 1.5 Earths - which poses a problem since we only have the one. 

Friedman goes on to quote Paul Gilding, the veteran Australian environmentalist-entrepreneur and author of “The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World”, on why we choose to ignore those giant red flags:
"The only answer can be denial. When you are surrounded by something so big that requires you to change everything about the way you think and see the world, then denial is the natural response. But the longer we wait, the bigger the response required.”
And then, The Onion, (which is supposed to be satirical but is often more accurate than CNN) screamed the headline: "Planet Earth Doesn't Know How To Make It Any Clearer It Wants Everyone To Leave."   An excerpt:
"Following a recent series of disastrous floods along the Mississippi River and destructive tornadoes across much of the United States—as well as a year of even deadlier natural catastrophes all over the world—the Earth said its options for strongly implying that it no longer wants human beings living on it have basically been exhausted. 

"At this point, I think I've stated my wishes quite loudly and clearly," the Earth's statement to all of humanity read in part. "I haven't exactly been subtle about it, you realize. I have literally tried to drown you, crush you, starve you, dehydrate you, pump you full of diseases, and suck your homes and families into swirling vortexes of death. Honestly, what more is it going to take for you people to get the message?"

I hear the message but I fear that humans are not unlike the tenacious, icky cockroach. Earth may just have to get a really big piece of canvas and tent the whole damn thing.

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