Is the hunt for Earth 2.0 contributing to our neglect of Earth itself?
The rush to space begins here — down on Earth
In the last few decades, the rush to space has grown exponentially, to the point we’ve begun taking practical, significant steps in that direction. A few years ago, advancements such expeditions to the International Space Station or SpaceX would not have been imaginable.
But one thing that transpires a lot in these endeavours, is the purpose behind them, and how it relates to our perception of Earth. There is a certain neglect, or lack of appreciation, in the way we seem to be looking for a second Earth. We don’t seem to be looking for a replacer for Earth only because it is unique in that it can host life as we know it, and we want to see how can that be replicated elsewhere. But because it feels as if, Earth is no longer appealing enough to satisfy our curiosity and drive. Articles, papers and videos, from content creators, to astrophysicists, to students and other various experts and enthusiasts, all discussing the subject with a similar mindset.
Every time we head into outer space to study that great big vibrational container, one of our strong points of focus, aside from global discovery, is the cataloguing of planets fit to inhabit human life. Extensions of Earth, Earth-like planets, Earth alternatives and replacers; we look upon these worlds with a great deal of interest and shine, as if, Earth is no longer appealing enough to satisfy our curiosity and drive.
Naturally, human beings look for what is familiar and known; so we all look for lookalikes of the most familiar thing about human existence, and that’s Earth. And there’s always a thirst for exploration and for more and better and new, because not to be this way is to stagnate and satisfy oneself with what’s already there, rather than the more, the continuous expansiveness that’s perpetually created that we could seize for.
But we’re not really looking for Earth 2.0 just because it’s cool to do so, or just because we’re yearning to find more of us and more of life forms like ours, but rather because we’re looking for hospitable worlds that can, in some capacity, take over Earth’s job to house us, with the even more subtle undertone that, Earth is no longer compelling enough, in our eyes, to be considered a good candidate for the job.
The thing is, we should understand and view Earth as worthy of our interest as much as the far-off worlds we covet. Because in truth, while we may want to reach these light-years away potential habitable worlds, if we don’t consider these exoplanets the same way we consider Earth, and vice-versa, that could spell out a lot of problems for us down the line. We don’t genuinely understand and have it in us as a standard to care for these planets the way they need to be cared for, because we already don’t understand that kind of fragile balance with Earth itself.
“Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.”
Earth is part of a global, gargantuan ecosystem that is the universe. But, in some of us, and it reflects in the way we search for Earth 2.0, there’s a certain bias in how we perceive Earth: yes, it’s our planet, so we like it, and of course, we all value it to some degree. Because we know it’s what supports our matrix shenanigans, and that without it, life would simply not be enabled to be. So, we consider it, less than more and less and less as seen by climate crises, based on how much it supports our matrix shenanigans and how much it does not get in the way of those shenanigans — although we really should understand that our behaviours are the actual issue: it’s our shenanigans that get in the way of earth, not the other way around.
So, we like Earth, but that doesn’t run very deep. Not all of us have developed an acute sensitivity and awareness of Earth, nor a sense or understanding of the place that we have its existence or the place that Earth has in our existence. Some can sense on instinct, the innate connection that we have between ourselves and the rest of the universe, that we are all part of a whole, but that is not something that is globally spoken of or publicly acknowledged. We take Earth for granted: we know it’s there, and most of us would not make tragic mistakes regarding the planet, but we don’t have a super deep awareness of it either.
Because of it, we fail to care for Earth the way Earth needs it to be maintained as an ecosystem, and as an ecosystem that can support life. We don’t take steps towards Earth to support it.
Worse than that, we fail to understand that Earth, as much as it is the planet that saw our birth, is one globe in billions, which is part of a symbiotic and fragile cosmic system. Earth is as important as other worlds we project our intentions onto.
And that’s the problem.
This photo conveys the idea that we will never find another habitable planet. While I’m partially inclined to agree, I don’t think it’s the most important point. What we really matters is that, what we already do have shouldn’t be used up and squandered. It should be safe-guarded, in any scenario, even if we do find other habitable worlds.
Because we currently do not understand that life matters and is relevant everywhere, in a scenario where we reach our coveted Earth alternatives, we are more than likely to have the exact same approach towards these worlds as we do with Earth itself, and treat them the way we treat Earth: rather poorly.
One of the characteristic ways we’d approach this is with initial excitement. I’m sure that at first, we’d be ecstatic to have made it this far, and we’d be projecting our little dreams of far-off worlds to conquer onto those planets or exoplanets for a while. But once the novelty wears off, once that veneer and shine is gone, we’d awaken to a reality that just, didn’t quite fit our projections and expectations. We’ll realise that these other worlds are ecosystems as much Earth is, with their own sets of rules we’d have to mind and observe, if we don’t want to fuck up those planets too, and that we must maintain them as much as we need to maintain Earth now.
Worse, because these worlds are unfamiliar to us, and only resemble Earth but are not Earth, there would be a learning curve for each of these new planets. One that I’m sure, because of our projections, would be rife with mistakes that might be both deadly and costly. Because an alien world that resembles Earth but is not Earth might not be quite so naturally acclimating to human life; we’d have to learn to work hand in hand with the local environment and not make significant engineering or technological mistakes in our settling and exploitation of the place, which might respond with equal backlash in the face of those mistakes. We might find out that if we don’t mind the ecosystems of these planets, and if we don’t do it directly on arrival, the consequences on the environment could be disastrous faster and worse than on Earth, which is politely taking decades to crumble under us.
Of course, all of this is in the realm of theories. We haven’t reached any of these planets, we certainly don’t have the means to do so just yet, and there are just too many variants that might tip the scale by such a point.
But, again, all theoretical, and in a near future, say we do reach the scale of technological expansion that we want to achieve (which, as I like to explore in my futurology series, is impossible without the spiritual maturity that matches it, as both go hand in hand), and so our dreams of inhabiting other planets do come to pass, what happens to earth then? In a best-case scenario, we’ve learned to care for it enough that we’re able to return to it at any point we desire, we can fall back on it if interstellar exploration presents unexpected drawbacks — which always happens as anyone who has lived a little will know there’s always unpredictable elements — and we can exploit it as another cosmic resource to continue propelling humanity forward.
But in a worst-case scenario, and not to dramatize too much or sound too threatening, we’re essentially leaving a planet that can no longer support us, and we’re doing so not because of our thirst for knowledge, expansion and exploration, but because it’s become urgent to export ourselves elsewhere or face extinction.
And so, I’d like to draw our intentions to the way we view Earth right now.
I can’t help but feel that a lot of our ideas to leave Earth, and our turning to the cosmos at large, has little to do with an internal drive for expansion, but to do with wanting to escape. It has to do with not wanting to face what we’re doing back here on the planet. I feel that this shift from Earth to the cosmos occurred sometime in the last century, and became somehow increasingly pressing, while coincidentally enough, the catastrophes we’ve been wreaking on earth’s ecosystem have been getting worse and worse, and more and more flagrant to everyone. It was already bad enough in the 90s; that was the start of our global awareness, but that’s not when we began to notice our negative impact on the environment, and it’s only been getting worse since then.
I can’t help but feel that we’ve been neglecting to take care of Earth the way the planet requires it, both to simultaneously sustain it and us, and that instead of facing up to those mistakes, we’ve been gradually thinking more and more that the solution to the problem, is to bugger off this planet. I can’t think of it as a bigger case of sweeping things under the rug than this.
I get the sense that we’re kind of bored of Earth, by now, and are looking to replace it. Almost like we see it like a used-up rag we bought years ago but it’s been so overused by now it really needs to go to the garbage (although, to stay on theme, tossing something to the garbage is not quite as simple as it appears to the average citizen and there’s a whole recycling process that goes on behind it…)
I also feel that we’ve been getting more and more interested in interstellar travel, enough to implement significant and genuine physical steps towards it, as the planet has been sending us worse and worse signals of how badly it’s doing. And so, for another doomsday scenario, what if we can’t actually reach our interstellar dreams fast enough to compensate for our mistakes? And as much as we rush to make it to outer space, by the time we’d be about to develop the necessary technology to reach the stars, Earth won’t be viable anymore, not to support us and let alone enough for us to run away from our mistakes, leaving us to face all of it, as we’re all headed for extinction.
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar liked to paint it in a rather romantic fashion: “Mankind was never meant to die here [Earth], […] But it’s been telling us to leave for a while now.” Not to say that the movie’s large-scale space expedition wasn’t awe-inspiring; it damn was. But it does romanticise the idea that Earth began to decay, not because we fucked it up, but just as a nice little nudge telling us not to stay stuck in our backyard and expand beyond.
Conversely, I always disliked it when people say we should forget about outer space and focus on Earth exclusively. No. Why can’t we just have both? Why can’t we just respect Earth’s climate and well-being enough that we can enjoy it for millennia to come, and find other habitable worlds in parallel to that, especially if technology advances enough that we can enjoy both options in the same timelines?
We should be able to have Earth, and the rest of the universe. Conversely again, we should be able to have the whole universe, and Earth. Nothing says we should export ourselves beyond our borders to leave a barren world behind, except for our neglect and refusal to take accountability for our actions.
I think that we need to learn how to care for Earth in the now, and fast before it does collapse on us. And I feel that a reality where Earth is taken care of properly benefits everyone because it’s one less problem to have. I think that a reality where we’ve progressed technologically enough to maintain Earth is a world where we have better control over resources available to us, and so more wide open avenues to progress technologically as drastically as we need to thrive in our space race.
And so, it’s my belief, that without one, we simply won’t have the other. Because England had to have a good climate back home before it went to successfully invade everybody else on the planet. Because both go hand in hand, and it’s by sorting out our affairs here and now, that we’ll be capable of developing the solutions that will allow us to continue with our dream of interstellar explorations.
Whereas, if we don’t explore what we can do here and now for and on Earth, we’ll be missing out on opportunities and shots that can help us develop and implement the tools we put in the service of our visions. A type 1 civilization is one that harnesses the full power of its home world; how can we ever do that if we neglect that home world? And so, without that good basis, without that foundation, how are we ever going to harness anything else? It’s not something we can ever neglect without consequences that we simply won’t enjoy and won’t want to face or deal with. And because if we don’t learn now, we’ll be reproducing the same mistakes we commit now later on, in places that might not be as welcoming as Earth has been until now.
“The study of fiction is the study of reality.”
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