Earth Day 4/22/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

First and foremost, as many of my readers are friends, let me just say that, yes, today (as of the posting of this one) is indeed my birthday.  Woo hoo.  Big deal.  I haven’t died yet.  Yay.  What an accomplishment.  Actually, truth be told, maybe it’s not an accomplishment, but being that I’m entering my sixtieth birthday, it is at least a surprise that I’m still not chewing dirt. 

Fortunately for me, I share my birthday with Earth Day.  This is how, every year as holiday after holiday pass by me with nary a word on my blog site, I always manage to get Earth Day posts published.  And, frankly, the Earth is far more interesting than I am any day of the year. 

Recently an article crossed my path that suggests that we should be terraforming the Moon rather than Mars.  For those who do not know, terraforming is the scientific endeavor to transform another planet so that it is habitable for humans, like most of us (but not necessarily all).  In concept, it involves slowly introducing, probably, anaerobic (non-oxygen breathing) microbes first to transform the soil and begin breaking it down to produce oxygen and nitrogen.  In time, as oxygen and nitrogen begins to produce something akin to an earth-like atmosphere, smaller rugged plants can be introduced to produce even more oxygen and so on until a robust atmosphere exists and we can bring in more complex plants and eventually animals for omnivores like me because a planet with nothing but vegans would be too pretentious to survive.  (Sorry, that last bit was just a joke, I promise). 

To me, terraforming the moon is a great idea.  It’s much closer than mars, so relocating to it when the Earth can no longer support life thanks to the industrialists will be faster, and terraforming the moon will probably be cheaper than fixing the Earth, so we don’t need to tax those who destroyed it.  Not that I’m bitter. 

Often, it seems as if our efforts are misplaced.  I’ve never heard any of the wealthy complain about spending money on terraforming, but they seem to constantly complain about fixing the planet that we do have.  They constantly complain about regulations costing too much money designed to reduce pollution or reduce dependence on fossil fuels because it will cut into their profits.  And, of course, they cannot afford to keep paying taxes, but thankfully we have been cutting those taxes to the ultra-wealthy, so they needn’t live without their fourth Superyacht like common poor people.

People have difficulty looking ahead.  It’s as if there is a special kind of glasses that screens out any thoughts about the future when making profit.  In a very funny book (actually, it started off as a comedic radio science fiction humor series, then became a BBC television series, then a book, then a movie), they introduced the concept of “peril-sensitive sunglasses.”  Basically, they sense whenever the wearer is in any kind of danger, and immediately becomes black so they cannot see the danger ahead thus avoiding panic. 

When I was young, I used to wonder what was happening underground where the oil was before it was pumped out.  Now we know the answer to that as sinkholes are becoming a serious hazard, especially in those locations where excessive oil drilling has occurred.  Now we have the ground falling out beneath us as the Earth warms up above.

A curious sidebar is what’s happening in Alaska.  Yes, there are sinkholes, but it’s more than just from oil drilling (which does happen as well).  As the planet warms, the permafrost under the ground is thawing and draining away causing further erosion problems.

Maybe, this being Earth Day, we should just take a moment to reflect on what we, as individuals, are doing and if we can do better.  Things won’t be changing anytime soon with the mega wealthy since they own all of the politicians (and now the Supreme Court as well), but a lot of individuals acting alone can make a significant difference.  It doesn’t feel like I’m doing much of anything as I sort out the recyclables from my garbage and drive my electric vehicle locally, but if everybody did it, we would utilize more environmentally friendly central power grids (they do exist, just not as widespread as they should be) and need landfills less.  I’m installing a garden and beginning to think about how I can create my own fertilizer from organic household waste (better known as “composting”).  That will be my personal improvement project for the year to reduce my carbon footprint.  The more of us that try something new the more of an impact we will collectively make.


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