Earth Day Every Day.
The 22nd Of April is the day we earthlings band together to celebrate the space rock we call home. The celebration is called Earth Day and this place we share is pretty unique. Somehow, as if by magic, we ended up in the right place with the right conditions to have a rock full of life in a galaxy that, as far as we know, doesn’t support a system like ours. Sadly we have been taking this magical space rock for granted polluting our precious VIP atmosphere, using up our non-renewable resources, having far too many children than our resources can cater for, not caring correctly for the soils that grow our foods, and filling our water reserves with plastic and pollutants. According WWF we Australians have one of the largest environmental footprints per capita in the world. Meaning that if everyone lived the way we did then we would require 6.25 global hectares per person. If every person across the globe had our lifestyles we would need 3.6 Earths to sustain our demands on nature. By my calculations that’s exactly 2.6 more than Earths than we can or ever will have. Which is why we should consider this one that we have to be the best accessory that we will ever get. No arguments please, I don’t care if you have the latest LV it-bag, it will serve no purpose on a planet with no air, water or food.
Moving to Mars?
Apparently when we screw up Earth completely we can all pack up shop and move to Mars. My first thoughts… What does one wear when they live on Mars? Second thoughts… WTF!!!! Look, I might be the first person to eat my (specifically purchased wear to mars) hat when Mars One establishes it’s first settlement on the forth rock from the sun. But for now I’m going to suggest that while the idea sounds good in theory, we really don’t know all that much about how to sustain a healthy ecosystem on a planet that has inbuilt ones that we designed specifically for us (or we were designed for them… depends on your creationism vs. evolution beliefs). Have you ever heard of the Biosphere 2 project? Biosphere 2 was a 1991 science project where researchers attempted to create their very own miniature sealed plant Earth. This involved (as you can see in the video above) creating a collection of biomes all connected together, sealed off, and adding a few humans to keep it all running. It wasn’t long before things started to go wrong. Jane Poynter mentions above that while tests went well in their small scale model that before they knew it they were planing ‘atomic hide and seek’ trying to work out why their oxygen levels went from 21 to 14.2% and they needed to supply oxygen from outside. They ended up working out how to rectify this problem (the concrete was absorbing the oxygen), but Jane notes that humans aren’t all that good at being apart from their beloved Earth system. Which could prove to be a much larger barrier in the success of colonising Mars than may people have stopped to think about. While Jane is still working on creating bio-systems for the moon or mars (how’s that for a unique job), it’s pretty easy to see from this experiment that Earth’s systems are quite difficult to control and replicate because we don’t quite know everything works properly. We have been a ‘biocidal’ species since the industrial revolution, working out how to make things bigger and better for us with damaging our environment in the process. However, Jane suggests we are moving away from this and individuals are working towards fostering love and care for the planet. No matter how advanced our understanding of our ecosystems become, there is a good chance that life on Mars will never replicate life on Earth because it will never be a replacement for Earth. Earth is unique. Treat your planet with the same respect you would treat your Birkin bag (because no amount of money will ever buy your clean air, water and food once it’s all gone).
Nature is Full of Surprises!
How is this funky fungi? These babies are part of the eco-system-suburban-park around the corner from my house. People carelessly dump their garden clippings and broken furniture in this area and I’m always surprised to see what pops up in the undergrowth. The red one is a Starfish Fungus that I didn’t even know existed until I came across it in the middle of the park. It smells like dead things, looks like an angry starfish covered in a layer of poop, and attracts flies to spread its spores (who obviously find the aroma and visuals super appealing in a way we humans may never understand). How can we ever humans ever replicate the specific randomness of something like this? Let’s love this weird and wacky world and try our very best to leave it in better condition than we found it so that many generations after us get to say ‘ewww gross’ when they find things like this in their lawn.