|brian douglas skinner|
On Saving the Earth
Why I don't want to save the earth
A lot of folks these days are talking passionately about how we've got to "save the earth". I wish they wouldn't. I don't think it's useful to think in terms of "saving the earth".
When is it over?
First off, I think the phrase "saving the earth" makes it sound like there's going to be some crux, some point in time after which either the earth will have been saved or won't have been saved.
I don't think there will be any such crux. I don't think there will be an outcome. Time doesn't end, and the earth isn't going to end either. It's gonna just keep be-bopping along, revolving 'round that big old sun. There won't be any final outcome -- more and more stuff is just going to keep on happening.
Just two outcomes?
Secondly, even if there were to be outcome someday, I think the phrase "saving the earth" makes it sound like there could only be two possible results, "saved" or "destroyed". It ignores all the possible world states other than "saved" or "destroyed".
"Saved" and "destroyed" are the extremes, but most things happen somewhere in the middle, between extremes. We don't live in either utopia or hell, but somewhere in between, where some things are really cool and joyous and others are gruesome and sick. There is little doubt in my mind that for the next thousand years we will continue to muddle along somewhere in the middle between the extremes. The question is whether we will muddle along fairly well or muddle along fairly poorly.
Muddling along better
My goal in life is not to save the world, but just to make it a cooler place to live. I think that's an attainable goal -- over the years I think I've helped save several people's lives, helped prevent the need for a thousand abortions, and helped keep hundreds of kids from starving to death. I've also made a lot of funny jokes, danced and played games, made love, told stories, and lived life. I plan to keep at it.
The earth doesn't need to be saved -- it's in little danger of being destroyed. No matter what we do to the planet in the next century, I'm pretty sure that in another thousand years the planet will still be here, and that it'll still have whole mess of life on it. Let's stop trying to save the earth and start trying to take better care of it, and better care of ourselves.
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