Sometimes, I wonder if anyone else ponders as much about life as I do.
I don’t think I used to, but even during my earlier years, I always wondered if there was more. More than getting up, eating, going to work, being social (or not), eating again, and going to sleep. Why are we on this planet? And why is our planet Earth placed where it is in our Solar System – just at the right spot for us?
My oldest daughter wants to become an astronaut. She is fascinated with the Universe, although, I suppose, for other reasons that I am. She wants to know if there is other life out there; if there are planets or asteroids habitable for us humans, or how science in space can advance us here on Earth. For me, the questions are different. Why is it, that our Earth is placed perfectly within the “Goldilocks-zone” – not too close to and not too far away from the sun? Why is it that only Earth (as far as we know) has a perfect atmosphere to protect all life on Earth from harmful rays from outer space? Why does only Earth supply us with H2O, in all three of its states present at all time? Who or what made Earth so perfect for us? And most of all, what do we do to keep it that way?
As I am writing these words, I am sitting at a beach in Key Biscayne, Florida, where our family gathered for some Holiday fun together. I watch the cruise ship head out of sea from Miami Beach harbor, I watch wake-boarders turning their sails to the wind to catch it for the right speed to enjoy the fun. People are splashing in the waves, jogging along the beach, or just relaxing in the sun. We – people – take pleasure in the Earth’s elements, the wind, the warmth of the sun, the refreshing water, the air we breathe and that keeps us alive. And, we are used to the luxury of unlimited supply, at least here in the West, where it seems that the Earth’s abundance provides plenty without ever seizing.
I am reminded of Shel Silverstein’s story of “The Giving Tree.” In this beloved children’s book, a tree loves a little boy so much that she simply wants to give and provide the boy with all that she has to offer. First, the boy gathers all her leaves to make a crown, he also climbed her trunk and swung from her branches. “The boy loved the tree very much. And the tree was happy.” As time went by, the boy grew up and wanted things that the tree could not give – money. However, the tree provided her apples, which the boy sold at the market where he received money in exchange. Later, the boy cut off the tree’s branches to build a house, he cut the tree trunk to make a boat. Well, in the end, the tree gave everything she had and was left to be a stump, which then still provides a restful place for the boy (now an old man) to sit down and relax, which made the tree happy one last time.
Do you ever wonder if the plentiful resources of the Earth will ever vanish? Will we be left with stumps and nothing else? Will there be a point in our future where climate change is not being discussed anymore because its effects are so predominant that not even power-hungry politicians can deny its reality anymore?
I love people and I love our Earth – that is why I am an advocate for creating awareness through education and collaboration. It does not matter if we are Caucasian, African or Native American, Asian, or of any other racial heritage. We are all human. We are all people who need to work together to keep our planet Earth the way it is – a perfect place for us, our children and future generations to live on.
My daughter and I often talk about how life would be on the ISS (the International Space Station). We believe, and had this confirmed by real astronauts who we heard speak, that when you see our planet from outer space something inside of you changes. You are struck by its beauty while out there in the unhospitable environment, looking at our “blue planet,” only to wonder why not all people on Earth unite and work together, just as nations do on the ISS. Maybe these answers will be found in space as well – or maybe we can learn to apply our humanly cleverness and finally figure out what nature and the Universe has instilled in all living matter – connections to other living matter.