Remembering where we live

A time-lapse of Planet Earth, created from images produced by the geostationary Electro-L Weather Satellite. No audio

There seems to be something insolent about naming a single day as an occasion for raising global awareness about that upon which our life depends every day. Maybe Earth Day could better be called Not-Dead-Yet Day as a blunter reminder of the fragility of life on this planet.

We occupy this miniscule point in space around which nothing more than a gossamer-thin layer of life-sustaining gases separates us from an infinite lifeless void. There is surely nothing about our improbable existence we can take for granted. And yet, without even the faintest idea of what this might imply for either our future or that of the whole planet, we have taken over.

Time lapse sequences taken from the International Space Station, August to October, 2011

Like every other colonialist throughout the ages, we look out across our dominion having lost any understanding of what it means to have a sense of place.

Even so, strip away the blinding effect of claimed ownership and perhaps there remains a chance we can remember what we once all knew.

As Gary Snyder wrote: “We are all indigenous to this planet, this mosaic of wild gardens we are being called by nature and history to reinhabit in good spirit.”

The Milky Way and views filmed from El Teide,
Spain's highest mountain, April, 2011. TSOphotography

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