Where are we now? As a people, as a species, as a world?
It’s easy (for some) to believe we’re on a downward spiral headed for oblivion. It’s been easy to believe that for as long as time has been recorded. Our inescapable and impending doom. The end of all things as we know it. “The Apocalypse”, something each our ancestors spoke of even when the world was new, well, newer than it is now. A fear that has existed alongside the first known civilization that sprung up in Mesopotamia, so many long-lived lifetimes ago. They knew then just as we know now, that one day, it is within the realm of possibility, for us to lose absolutely everything. Everything we’ve ever known. Perhaps even in the blink of an eye.
“The end is nigh” is such an old sentiment that the word “nigh” is seldom used (commonly) in the English language anymore. Empires rose and fell and our demise seemed to pass from the elusive hands of Gods and Titans, into our very own. So what became of this passing of fates, what followed this age of enlightenment? Thus began the Industrial Revolution. The less we had to fear from this world, the more we were willing to take from it. So that’s exactly what we did.
Wars scorched the earth, we mined metals to kill one another with. It’s estimated that as many as eighty-five million people lost their lives in the second great war. That’s almost twice as many as the (predicted) death toll of the Black Plague. But then, for a time, (with the help of the atomic bomb), we grew tired of killing one another in grand world wars. Fighting continued, the fighting always continues but some scattered around this planet experienced something new. For the longest time, relatively speaking in terms of this planet, they knew a sort of peace.
But life is relative, nothing is absolute. We take things for granted. The age of apathy is upon us. As the world grew smaller (technologically), strangely we found ourselves growing further apart. In the years between 1970 and 2012 it’s estimated that our planet’s collective marine species have declined by 75%. Species of flora and fauna considered iconic to most humans are beginning to fade from existence. At the time of writing this sentence, it’s believed that there are less than 4,000 tigers left on the planet. Islands are being reclaimed by the ocean. But while the world around us faces uncertainties, the human race has grown by over 6 billion people in less than 100 years.
Minds that not so long ago saw only to plundering what they could from the earth are now working to solve the problems crippling it. Where once we were something of a pathogen to this world, in time we could become the antibodies that attempt to sustain it. But is it too late? An unpopular theory, is that the things we are seeing unfold are natural events of a grander scale than we can comprehend. Something we often fail to accept is that in the fullness of time, by a myriad of possible catastrophic (or even not so catastrophic) events, this planet will be lost.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent to many, that maybe we were never meant to stay fixed upon this planet indefinitely. Like the spores of a plant, we are the spores of a planet that go beyond this solar system and forge a future that was only possible because of the millions of years our species had to develop here. Our terra nursery.
It will be a long and arduous road, riddled with many difficult choices along the way. But as a species, alike as an individual, if you do not adapt and grow you will stagnate and inevitably fail.
So why not bring about a new age, to end this age of apathy? An age of wonder. Because it’s going to require a great deal of imagination to contemplate the extent of our potential. It will require imagination to confront what part we truly have to play in the fate of our planet and our fellow earthlings. Regardless of species and evolutionary progression, all life from this planet, on an individual level, is considered an ‘Earthling’.
In the end, no matter what happens, the one thing that will bind all human beings alike all other forms of life under our care, wherever they should go in the universe, will be the small blue planet of the Milky Way Galaxy, from whence our ancestors came.
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