Earth Egg

Published on, by Guy R. McPherson, 19 July, 2009.

The bumper sticker starts with bold type: EARTH FIRST!
The second line is smaller: We’ll mine the other planets later.

The very notion that we can rely on other planets for resources after we trash this one is ignorant and offensive. I’ll start with the offensive part before discussing the ignorant part.

First, ethics: Did these people learn nothing in kindergarten? Never mind treating every single thing as a resource, placed here (and apparently everywhere) specifically for human consumption. Do they have no problem obliterating the living Earth in the name of economic growth? Do they have no problem committing future generations to hell on Earth, as long as they get “their” share of the planetary pie? 

Consensus around an ethical argument requires agreement about ethical behavior. Apparently that’s beyond us, as a species. Onward, then to the overwhelming technological challenges faced by co-opting the resources of other planets as if they are our own.

An overwhelming majority of Americans (and citizens of the world, for that matter) think Earth is a mere stopover for a better future. The future lasts forever, and the destination is heaven. There is no need to conserve this planet’s resources if the rapture is near. Never mind that the planet’s days were seriously numbered, according to Jesus during his own time — specifically, to generation populating the planet when Jesus was preaching. The rapture has been right around the corner for at least two millennia.

Even many secular people believe Earth is an egg. Once needed, we will simply abandon this ship for another planet. How stupid is this view? Quantitative skills have never been revered in this country, so it’s no surprise most people think we can simply plan the journey and load up the rich folks (including all middle-class Americans, of course) on a few minutes’ notice. Let’s actually do the math …

… If we’re “successful,” we need to ask the ecological literate question: “And then what?” We’re still on the brink of ecological disaster here on Earth, and we’ve managed to export the predicament of ecological overshoot to another planet. And this seems like a good idea? (full long text).

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