Apr 16, 2013 12:06PM
● By Reid Boyer
Imagine that you and some friends have the opportunity ride on a NASA spaceship with the mission of exploring deep space. This golden opportunity requires that the whole crew train in body, mind and spirit so that you are able to perform tasks necessary to maintain everyone’s welfare and safely return home.
Occupying a limited area with others requires each crew member to discipline themselves to maintain a clean space, ensure all life support systems continue to function properly and execute their role flawlessly to ensure successful survival. Given the magnificence of this unfolding experience of a lifetime you doubtless would deem it worth your investment of time, effort and resources.
What is so different about living on Planet Earth? We are living together on a bounded spaceship that came fully loaded with irreplaceable life support systems. Our unique Blue Planet is elegantly designed indeed, but the doubling of the population (yet again) since 1960 is set to exceed its carrying capacity with more than 7 billion people placing an unprecedented load on resources. To maintain our standard of living and comfort Americans as a nation are the greatest consumers of all; just five percent of the world’s population, we claim nearly a quarter of Earth’s resources for ourselves. If every human followed America’s example, the burden placed on our spaceship would long be past the point of no return.
Some of today’s consumers refuse to do more with less, fearing a return to hunters and gatherers living in caves. Others believe against all scientific evidence that it’s impossible to destroy this beautiful home planet, so why not keep exploiting, destroying and contaminating every natural resource without regard for anything but personal profit? Some have even applied the phrase “environmental wacko” to describe good people acting conservatively. Following any of these fatally misinformed and imprudent voices will lead to the race’s self-destruction.
To the contrary, I am convinced that it’s still possible to live well if sustainability becomes our universal reality. At the moment we still have the luxury of making a conscious choice, but we may not much longer if an apocalyptic meltdown is thrust upon the world as a result of continuing widespread poor decisions and inaction… if we don’t change our ways today.
On April 22, more than a billion people in 192 countries will again take action and recommit to honoring the planet on Earth Day. It’s become the world’s largest annual forum for recognizing that the health of Spaceship Earth is our most precious resource of all. I am inspired by the people you’ll meet in this month’s issue, including those organizing local Earth Day events (page 12).
On this special day, human Earthlings will gather to perform acts of environmental kindness. We will plant trees, clean up roadside litter and trash in parks and rivers, shore up eroded stream banks, put up bird and bat houses and plant gardens for birds and butterflies. We will express our concern for stewarding our land, water and atmosphere; home to millions of other plants and animals, from single-celled algae to massive redwood trees; from tropical fruit bats to monstrous whales.
Such Earthlings are those I want on my crew, Reid Boyer, Publisher