Spaceship Earth

There is only one Earth, and as far as I know we are all passengers on it…or in it.

I am sure that our ancestors thought the resources of the Earth were everlasting. I am sure that our ancestors thought that there was nothing which they…tiny inhabitants of this giant world…could do to affect the Earth. In 1700 there was only 600 million people inhabiting the Earth. We didn’t hit 1 billion people on the Earth until sometime around the American Civil War era.

Now we have somewhere around 7.5 billion people as passengers on this planet.

Every piece of plastic which was ever made still exists somewhere on the Earth. A lot of it resides in the Oceans of the world. If you go down to the beach, you will see some of it…I guarantee you. As large as the oceans our world are, they are becoming gigantic trash receptacles for human waste of all manner and description.

Six years ago in March, a huge earthquake hit Japan. It damaged a nuclear power plant near Fukishima, which had a partial meltdown. Since then 80% of the nuclear material which spilled from that plant has gone into the Pacific ocean. Forget about the hundreds of thousands of tons of “junk” which has washed up on the shores of Alaska. That’s going to be minor compared to the damage to the ecosystem which that radiation, which continues to spill into the Pacific ocean, is going to do to our ecosystem. Try to comprehend that there are 450 or so nuclear plants spread around the world. The majority of them are very near water….the ocean…major rivers, inland seas. Let that sink in.

Did you know that the majority of the Earth’s atmosphere is only ten miles thick? Did you know that extreme changes have taken place in that 10 miles of atmosphere which is absolutely essential to the life of every creature on this planet since the “Industrial revolution” back in the 1700’s. Our climate is changing, and quickly, due to the amounts of carbon dioxide which is flowing into our atmosphere. Global warming is caused primarily from putting too much carbon into the atmosphere when coal, gas, and oil are burned to generate electricity or to run our cars. These gases spread around the planet like a blanket, capturing the solar heat that would otherwise be radiated out into space. It’s really just that simple. It’s science. Lot’s of people deny this is happening, but the numbers say it is. The Earth doesn’t like it.

I could go on..and on…and on..but you get the point by now, hopefully.

Last year when we moved to our new home, the area out behind our house was a jungle! There were vines, briers, honeysuckle, scrub bushes, etc., so thick that you couldn’t even get through it. During this winter, I have cut almost all of that jungle out. I have slashed it, and raked it, and cut it and piled it up. There’s no jungle there anymore, and over the past week I have seen rabbits, squirrels, birds and other animals out in that area eating. There are “wild carrots” coming up, with their tender shoots and the rabbits love them. There are earthworms crawling out and the robins love them.

The Earth didn’t mind me doing that little “rearranging” of her surface. The fact that new and wonderful things are already beginning to peep out into the world shows gratitude. The Earth says: “thank you” if you do the right thing.

I wish people would do the right thing. I wish there was no such thing as “fracking” which is quite simply, only a money making scheme for people who are in that industry. Read this comment from a recent post from Senator Bernie Sanders concerning the recent changes in climate policy by our government. It comes from a lady who made a comment on Senator Sander’s post. She’s talking about why they are still fracking: “

I don’t think they actually don’t believe it. I think they don’t care. And a majority of the people in Texas and Louisiana I know that are “deniers” are just afraid that all the oil field guys will lose their jobs if fracking is shut down. It’s not that they don’t believe it’s bad for our environment. My husband was a line boss for Halliburton and he even says it’s horrible. People can’t even imagine the money made from fracking. It’s uncountable. And that’s what matters to most Republicans. Money. I’m not even a Democrat but I do believe that. Whatever will keep all their business money safe is what wins. Screw anyone else and the Earth for our descendants.”

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? It’s all about the money for the current passengers on “Spaceship Earth” and screw our descendants. I hate to think about it, but that’s pretty much it.

There is only one Earth, and as far as I know we are all passengers on it…or in it. And when it’s gone, we are gone…all of us, all of our descendants, all of life which exists on this planet. All gone.

Mull it over for a while, and decide if some of the things which we think are absolutely necessary for life, really are.

That’s what you get for thinking.

I honestly thought my “golden years” were going to be filled with good times with my family, taking care of the grand kids, going to ballgames, dances, and school functions with the little grandkids and their parents. I think being around the family and doing things with them was my ultimate goal. It was because of them that I came through four bypasses in 2010. At one point in the first couple of days, the pain was so bad I thought I just wanted to let go. But my wife and my kids….they gave me a reason to go on. I went through a long recovery and only started to really exercise, walk, and watch my weight in late 2004. I wanted to live a few more years. Was that being selfish? I didn’t think so at the time. I was on Ancestry a lot during those years and I saw where a lot of my ancestors died pretty young. Got to be about 60 years old and “BOOM” Gone. It was only through the work of the medical and scientific communities that they actually had a method by the time I needed it to “patch me up” enough to keep on living. I appreciate it so very much. I appreciate what those doctors and nurses did for me. I appreciate my family helping me hold on. I’m thankful to them all.

But…back to the “golden” years. I “thought” that things would go on as they always have. Work most of the year, take a couple of weeks a year off….go on a vacation with the family. Be around the kids, and help with them. Do my “trade day” thing every couple of weeks or so. Go out to eat at Logan’s or one of our other favorite spots on Saturdays. Cracker Barrel on Sunday. All that stuff. Ordinary stuff. To me it was just “every day” life. Taking that “every day” life for granted was a big mistake. Look at where we all are now. Not just us, me and the wife….but all of the Grandma and Grandpa’s out there who love their families and want to be with them, to see them and be around them. To love and sometimes fuss over them. To live our lives “normally”. All of you my friends.

But now, there is no “normal” like that anymore. Only the new normal. The quarantine normal. The self isolation. (and thank God for my wife who keeps me sane) normal. “Thought you were going to glide on through those golden years, huh?” I can hear Tarp Bowers’s voice in my head. “Well that’s what you get for thinking”. And….honestly he’s right.

How did I dare assume that there would be a continued normalcy? What gall on my part. I’ve been warning people about stuff like this for years, and it turns out that I didn’t pay attention to my own warnings. “Mother Earth will get us back, “ I said. I never expected the nasty, evil stealth of this disease that has hit us though. I never expected anything which could separate human beings so totally from their natural tendency to be the social animals we have evolved into. A sickness that has never, ever been inside a human body before in the entire history of all humanity.

Now, I look up at the window and talk to my granddaughters Evie and Ellie…and their Daddy, through a screen 10 ft away. I talk to my youngest son while he’s up on the deck and I’m way down below. I await “drive bys” from my daughter and her family….my oldest son and his family. I haven’t seen my first granddaughter since Christmas? Watched my second granddaughter who’s graduating from college this year get married via phone video. The new normal. Yet, I am lucky. I am so, so very lucky. I can still do these things. I still have hope that our family unit will all get through these hard times all in one piece, so that we may come together….all together again.

It could be much worse. The kind of bad you see on TV every night now.

Daddy used to look at me at times like these and say: “Alright, quit feeling sorry for yourself”. I’m not really. It’s just that this new normal is so abnormal for me. I’m hunkered down now, and resigned to staying put for a long spell. I’m learning new things, and relearning old ones. I’m storing up hugs, tears, and love for the day I’ll be able to use them again. I hope and pray that it will be soon for all of us.