British physicist Stephen Hawking’s dire warning: “I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.” Hawking gave his first Australian speech at Sydney’s Opera House via hologram from his office at the University of Cambridge.
“I want to share my excitement and enthusiasm about this quest, so remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet,” Hawking continued. I think most leaders are doing neither. If they did look down at their feet, they might notice that we are poisoning and destroying the very environment that sustains all life.
And the captains of trade and industry? Well they are really only interested in looking into the black holes of their deep pockets – from which nothing escapes (even light).
Hawking must have an extraordinary view of surviving life. But I’m not so sure I share his enthusiasm at finding a new home. At this stage I am more excited about trying not to trash our present one.
But the mainstream media – instead of taking Hawking’s message and focusing on poor governance and the plundering by corporations – focused rather in another direction – ‘one direction’. After a question from the audience about Zayn Malik leaving the band One Direction, Hawking told One Direction fans to pay attention to theoretical physics because it might come up with proof of an alternative universe in which Malik is still in the band. (Link to video at The Guardian)
It took a few billion years to create such diversity and perfection. Hey – but why worry. Maybe we could get corporations like Monsanto to just create and patent a new human species – for when homo sapiens becomes obsolete. They could modified us – Homo (man) sapiens (present participle of sapere “be wise”) – to Homo Monsanticum or Homo Stultus (stupid).
I did a Botany degree in the 1970’s, and I remember going through several years of despair when I understood that our tropical rain forests were being destroyed on a grand scale. Back then I recall being told that a football field size of forest was being decimated every minute (1 US football field = 1.32 acres). I didn’t really believe it could continue. Now, according to Rainforest Action Network, more than 1.5 acres is lost every second of every day.
Two billion acres of rainforest is now gone, and every year, we lose an area more than twice the size of Florida. And we will have run out of Florida’s by 2060 – when it is predicted that no rainforest remains.
Yet, apart from some catastrophic event such as an asteroid, we have the intelligence and ability to easily reverse this and restore a livable (and forested) planet for another 100,000 years. Why not?
It seems that we (homo sapiens) are incapable of putting on the brakes.
I often wondered what the Easter Islanders must have thought when they cut down their last large tree species. Or maybe they tried to save the last few – which died anyway after that environment had been obliterated.
When I was born rainforests covered about 12% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and some experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years. I find it hard to imagine that this transformation could all happen in my lifetime – ALMOST WITHOUT any resistance.
Our species is in stupor. And our political leaders are impotent. They wallow in denial when it comes to forests, the air, soil or water. They have all been hopelessly hijacked by the monetary banking system and by corporations that operate without soul.
Why are we, as a society, so complacent or so accepting? Whether this be facts surrounding an event like 9-11 – or the destruction of our home. And why does the mainstream media focus on the band One Direction – rather than castigate our political and industry leaders for their disastrous decisions and for lack of vision? (Just keep on fracking, boys)
Maybe we are being acclimatised for “the end”.
I was shocked when I saw the movie “Interstellar”. The film is about a crew of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new home – a new planet – for humanity (My son loved it). Not only does the message hit home that our days on planet earth could be numbered, but there is a more shocking message. In humanity’s final exodus – only a chosen few will be sent on. It is only a movie, but the plot just glossed over this elitism.
The Interstellar Movie character, Professor Brand, (played by Michael Caine) has a chilling message: “We’re not meant to save the world, we are meant to leave it…”
On elitism, I am reminded of Jessie Ventura’s investigative TV program revealing extensive underground bunkers (YouTube here). I am sure they “allowed” Ventura in that underground facility – maybe to aclimatise us to the Noah’s Ark principal, or the “chosen few “. However, they will be locked down by the time you or I arrive.
As for Hawking’s 1,000 year message to Sydney – I think we should first focus on a more practical solution. We earthlings should rather demand that our leaders grow a backbone and demonstrate some vision. Otherwise, over the next 1,000 days, we should find new leaders that refuse to be bought and sold by the giant corporations.