Humans don’t need to keep re-inventing the wheel. Similarly, writers don’t always have to try to re-write what someone else has already penned beautifully.
In honor of the climate change discussions held at the UN last week, in honor of the peaceful protests held worldwide urging our leaders to act now in order to save our precious planet, in honor of Nicholas Stern’s insightful Ted Talk, and in honor of the wonderfully and exquisitely made show, Cosmos, which I am now watching for a third time on Netflix (yes, I’m a nerd. If you haven’t watched it yet, I really don’t understand what you’ve been doing with your time), I decided to recycle Carl Sagan’s words, found below.
As a communicator, as a writer, my job is to spread the word about things that matter. As a human, though, it’s my responsibility to alert those around me, as best as I’m able, to the dangers of inaction. As a friend recently said, we have a hard time understanding the consequences of chains of events spread widely through time; unless it affects us immediately and directly, we somehow believe that we will remain unbothered and untouched. But we cannot keep this up! Not if we truly care about what we’re doing to Earth… And we should care, we should all desperately care, considering this is the only planet we’ve got so far.
Every little bit that we can do each day will have its impact. Pay attention to Carl’s message; make it your own:
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 posturing, 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
Photo by: Google / Planet Earth as seen from the Moon