Earth first! We’ll screw up the planets later?
I love science. I have followed, studied and enjoyed all manner of science since I was in high school. It is this love for science that convinced me that for the sake of my children and grandchildren I needed to become a sustainability activist, with a focus on climate change.
As a lover of science, I was awestruck by the technical magnitude of NASA’s recent Mars rover landing. The amazing science that the rover will perform and the new discoveries and information it will yield are almost unbelievable and would have been impossible only a few short years ago. It does however seem a bit of a shame that we are dropping space junk and abandoning vehicles across a previously pristine planet.
As a sustainability and climate change activist, I am horrified by the volume of time, money, intellect and burned fossil fuels that have gone into these efforts. What if the minds, the money and the motivation that is propelling not only NASA, but China, Russia the UAE and the EU to pursue expeditions to Mars and the moon; what if all of those resources were directed at ending our dependency on burning fossil fuels, scrubbing carbon from the atmosphere and recovering and recycling plastics? Maybe then we would not be staring down the barrel of the climate emergency cannon and careening towards the extinction of a million species and a two-metre sea level rise by 2100.
We already have most of the technologies needed to stop burning fossil fuels for heat, energy and transportation. Heat pumps, solar panels and electric vehicles being some great examples that can be seen all around us. So why, when we have the knowledge of the cause, the reality and the risks of climate change and we have the technologies to address it, are we building new schools and hospitals heated by fracked gas/fossil fuels? Does this seem like leadership and vision from the people in power? Does it seem like caring about the future we are creating for the children who will attend those schools and hospitals?
My point being that perhaps we should focus our minds and our money on really trying to “unscrew” the only planet we and our grandchildren will ever call home, rather than devoting astronomical effort and money into screwing the planet next door!