A MARTIN J. RYAN VIEWPOINT:
We are alone in that whatever happens to our planet is our responsibility, whether we choose to accept this or not. In order to put this in perspective, imagine a superior intelligence from a remote star system making observations about us and our planet.
“I am from a star system in the galaxy nearest to yours: Andromeda, also known as M31, which, according to the human concept of time, would take you 2 million light years to reach. Obviously we, not so limited, have a different mode of travel which includes moving backward, as well as forward, in “time.” Therefore we have seen your past, and we have seen your future, and it is the latter which prompts us to send our message to you.
“ Understand this: species come and go, and it is of no consequence to us, or to the cosmos, that you humans exist or do not exist. It is the health of your exquisite planet that concerns us, nothing more.
“Your Hubble telescope reveals that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. Your star and your planet Earth reside quite remotely on the very outer edge of your own galaxy, which you quaintly refer to as the “Milky Way;” and to further emphasize your insignificance in human time and space, it would take you about 26 thousand light years, which means traveling at 186,000 miles per second, the speed of light, to reach your galaxy’s center.
“When you look at the cosmos you are always looking back in time. The light from your star, your “sun,” was issued 8 minutes ago. When you observe my home galaxy Andromeda, you see it as it was 2 million years ago. We others, as observers, transcend your limited reality and are seen by you as theoretical, as are the multiple universes envisioned by your quantum mechanics theorists. We on the other hand see you as barbaric creatures, steeped in superstition, destroying each other in endless rationalized wars and genocides, obsessed with killing machines.
“Earth is 4 billion years old, most of it covered over with precious life-giving water, a planet which evolved gradually to a glorious paradise existing in what you would consider, a threatening, immeasurable void; yet you are on the way to ruining it in a matter of decades. You humans are unmanaged parasites, voracious primates who will ultimately destroy the nourishing planet which supports you.
“Earth, which you have too often taken for granted, is a living organism and it is not well. You mindlessly consume your fossil fuels in power plants and automobiles, and because of your utter disregard for the consequences, you are issuing greenhouse gases into your fragile atmosphere, which captures and holds your star’s heat and raises the planet’s temperature to a dangerous level.
“The increased heat is warming your seas, which in turn is melting your glaciers and vast areas of Arctic and Antarctic ice, and in time the ever increasing release of fresh water into the salt will kill off undersea species and eventually raise the oceans enough to swallow island nations and swamp your coastal cities .
“As we orbit Earth we see Greenland ice melting and draining into the sea. Polar ice refracts the sunlight and sends the energy safely into space. But when ice reverts to water, the energy is absorbed and accelerates the ice melt, further raising the sea level. What will happen: Polar bears drown as they struggle to reach retreating ice packs. Salmon die off as the melting permafrost pours mud into the rivers.
“This excess carbon dioxide in your atmosphere, which has already lost its balance, has also caused record heat waves. You recently experienced the hottest year in more than an Earth century. Drier land masses cause droughts which destroy harvests, cause fires which destroy trees, and trees are needed to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.
“You are fast approaching what your scientists have been calling “the tipping point,” at which time habitats may crash, causing the loss of flora and fauna, causing drastic climate changes from moderate to ice age temperatures, from lush green to desert wasteland. Your eco system is being pushed to the limit of it’s ability to mend itself. If your planet had an actual voice it would scream in protest. In an absence of this voice it will express itself with hurricanes, tornados, floods and fires, in greater size and numbers.
“Some will tell you that what is happening is merely part of the natural cycle of the planet, just one of many changes, drastic as it may seem. But even if this were so, if you persist in issuing high levels of carbon dioxide into your atmosphere, any negative climate alterations, natural or otherwise, will be “tipped” and accelerated and will seriously damage your way of life. Remember this: in past ice ages there were far fewer inhabitants on Earth, fewer great cities to be disrupted, and fewer coastal developments to be swallowed by the seas.
“Human injury and death and migration will overwhelm any nation’s ability to cope. Most of what you have valued may disappear.
“As I implied earlier, my species time travels with ease, so we have seen your past, and we have seen your future. We have seen many human civilizations flourish and disappear, become mere dust in the Earth’s winds, leaving behind a few relics for you to study and learn from; though from what we have seen of your kind, you absorb little from history and consequently you live very dangerously in the immediate moment, and therefore you reside at the edge of disaster.
“Unfortunately, you have been slow witted and easily led by those in power, those greed-driven humans who are motivated solely by what they can acquire for themselves, with little thought to what is good for your species as a whole; governing you, sometimes employing you, misleading you into believing what is not true, that science is wrong; then cleverly dividing you politically and culturally as a distraction, causing you to fight amongst yourselves over unimportant issues while your planet sickens.
“Your scientists who are only now finding their collective voice, have been silenced for years by your unscrupulous governors. Listen carefully to what your scientists tell you of your precarious future. You do not have centuries to reform. You have years. Your gradual evolution over eons of time must convert to a sudden and revolutionary change in thinking.
“I remind you: As consuming parasites on a tiny but beautiful planet Earth, which we others so admire, you are merely a temporary curiosity to us.
“And you are completely, remotely, alone.”
(To reach my HOME PAGE: hover & click the America, America… title atop this page.) COMMENTS are welcome, below.
Martin J. Ryan
Climate Hotmap, National Wildlife Federation,
Fight Global Warming, Scientific American.com,
Earth Institute Columbia University NRDC
World Wildlife Fund, CBS News: Brazil Oil Free