September 5, 2007

Who cares?

A couple of months ago, The Girl and I signed up to donate $5 per month to Duke Energy's GoGreen initiative to subsidise sustainable energy production.

We're still waiting to get those energy-efficient fans installed (a couple of parts were on back-order).

We've test driven hybrid cars, and it's likely that our next car (hopefully still a few years down the road) will be hybrids.

I saw An Inconvenient Truth in the theater.

I've been called a recycling Nazi at school and at home - the latter by the guy living in my basement, but that's a story for a different day.

And through all of this, my view is that it won't matter.

We're here for an eye-blink as far as the Earth is concerned, and anything that we do to our planet will be undone a hundred-thousand times over once we're gone. We can dump battery acid in the streams, pile the world a mile high with PET bottles, pump the mercury from the ground and dump it into the ocean, nuke the world - and Earth will continue without us.

Life will continue in some form or fashion that we might not yet know of, that we might barely recognize as life, and that we most certainly can't conceive of.

Life will continue without us and most assuredly in spite of us.

Cut down the trees, fill in the lakes, dam the rivers, pave the planet, poison the rivers, pop a cap into every panda that won't reproduce just because it doesn't like the bars we've put it behind.

It won't matter in the long run.

The Earth has been here for four billion years already. Mankind has been around in some form or fashion for not even two million years. That's less than 0.05% of the planet's time. The dinosaurs ruled for one-hunred-fifty million years - not even 4% of the Earth's age, and I can't come up with a single significant way that their existance changed the planet (most oil didn't come from dinos but rather from microscopic creatures built up on the seabed en masse).

We aren't a blip.

We aren't a hiccup.

We aren't even as important, as significant as a flea on a midget's backside.

We don't matter in the grand scheme of things.

We are not beautiful and unique snowflakes. We are the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We are all part of the same compost heap. (Much love to Chuck for that one.)

The world wasn't created for us, and when the last speck of our existances fades into oblivion, the world won't wink out with us.

When we do disappear, however, the world we leave behind will be drastically different from the one we came into. But it would've been whether we were the agents of change or not.

Species come and go.

Invading plants and animals drift 'round the world whether we take them or not.

One species gets wiped out, and another pops its niche-advantageous head up to fill that place.

It goes on.

We came.

We'll go.

We don't matter.

And yet somehow, for some reason, I want to leave the world better off than I found it. I want to compost so we don't fill the landfills just yet. I want to turn the lights off because I'm not quite ready to be stuck in the dark of a fossil-fuel-less world. I don't want my favorite views polluted because I like them in some version of pristine - whatever that means. I don't want too many people at the bottom of the Canyon because we'll crap up the river and the trails.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

I, apparently, am a first-rate intelligence.

4 comments:

J. Kyle said...

I don't see attempts at being environmentally friendly as saving the earth--it's all about saving ourselves.

Short of completely blowing it up from the inside, there's nothing we can do to permanently damage the earth...but we can certainly make it difficult for humankind to inhabit, whether it's through global warming, nuclear winter, or whatever doomsday scenario you want to look at.

I think this is the line that environmentalists need to take in persuading people to conserve resources. The earth may not need saving, but we do.

achilles3 said...

Well that was just great all I need is another scientist to back up one of my life mantras of "who cares"!

When I read that I get upset because I apply that to every other thing besides green practice.

I wish everyone I knew would chill out and realize that they are not that damn important. Like these people I work with that tried to tell me that my test had to be just like the other teacher's test because we "teach the same material". I hate that. Who cares? My test is 10% different because of this that and the other. SHUT UP!!!!! We are people that need jobs and we chose teaching so get over your damn selves and quit trying to control everything people do!!!!

As my good friend chemguy says we aren't even a hiccup so just stop trying to keep kids from their dream of being artists with all your stupid power mongering controls in ENGLISH class!

Sorry. Your rant of what the whole big ol universe has been and will be just really put it all back into place for me.

Real learning is not seen through a stupid paper test...i.e. there is no "test" to see if we learned "How to destroy our Earth" the test is seeing if your behaviors show that you care enough to save it. THAT'S learning;-)

Peace,

PHSChemGuy said...

Kyle...that's a good point and might be the distinction I need to start making...we need saving, Earth doesn't...it'll go on...but if we wanna stay a while longer, we'd better change our habits...

Lakes - sorry, man...hopelessness is not what I'm trying to spread...

achilles3 said...

I'm hopeful...you were just keepin it real and I love that!