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Fifty years ago today, Neil Armstrong did something that no human being had ever done before. He stood on the moon.
And this coming Friday, James Lovelock will celebrate his 100thbirthday.
There’s a connection between the two events.
I remember watching the moon landing, July 20, 1969. Official records say it happened at 10:56 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. I know our family clustered around a TV set, peering at a snowstorm of grainy black-and-white images. So we must have let our children stay up late to watch history being made.
James Lovelock turned 50, six days after the moon landing.
NASA did not plan that coincidence, although Lovelock was working for NASA in those days, developing chemical tests that NASA would later use for detecting the possibility of life on Mars.
As an outcome of that work, Lovelock and biologist Lynn Margulis proposed that this earth is itself a living thing. Or, to quote Wikipedia, “that the living and non-living parts of the Earth form a complex interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism.”
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: Gaia, Lovelock, earth, Moon Landing, Armstrong
This coming Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day. Not to be confused with Earth Hour, back in March, which promoted turning off surplus electric lights for one hour, causing a wave of darkness to sweep all around the earth. Earth Day has a larger focus this year, to “End Plastic Pollution.”
“Plastics,” says a promotion piece, “poison and injure marine life, disrupt human hormones, litter beaches and landscapes, [and] clog our waste streams and landfills. The exponential growth of plastics now threatens the survival of our planet.”
I don’t disagree. But I see plastics as a symptom of a deeper malaise. We didn’t have plastics until we made them out of fossil fuels. And our use and abuse of fossil fuels reflects the belief that this planet is a lifeless landfill site where we humans can dump our waste products forever.
Basically, we don’t care much about the earth that gives us life.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: Earth Day, plastics, pollution, Gaia, Lovelock, Margulis