Today I got inundated with Earth Day 2013 message – you know, "Recycle, Save the Trees, Earth First," blah blah blah. The message is fatiguing, to be honest. It all strikes me as spitting in the wind.
I am told that we need to preserve the Earth, that we are destroying the Earth!!! Oh, really? The Earth was here long before we were and will be after we're gone. At worst, we're making it harder for humans (and assorted un-adapting animals) to live on the planet. Animals that are meant to survive, will. If the universe wants us to, we will. More likely, we're going to be a transitory blip in the anthology of time, a footnote, buried deep in an appendix labeled, "Inconsequential Administrivia, Section 47D" in the thousand-volume history of the universe.
I wonder if it occurs to these people that for the majority of its geologic history, Earth was uninhabitable. We are only one asteroid or super-volcano away from this being the case again. The universe doesn't have much respect for life; if it did, we'd live longer. The fact that such disasters (along with plagues, alien invasions, floods, zombies, and other world-destroying phenomena) are staples in spec fiction only indicates that awareness of our species' own frailty is ingrained in our consciousness. We're not the dominant life-form on the planet because we're super-duper amazing. It's a mix of adaptability and good fortune … and no matter what we do, we're not going to last, good Earth or no.
So what do we do? What we need to do to get by. Keep our species going as best we can, as long as we can. We can't stay in the zone forever. The only constant in the universe is entropy. So if that means we cut down a tree to build a house, if we dig up the earth to form tools and burn the black blood of the Earth for warmth, to keep us and our progeny warm, then that's what we do.
Me? Today I printed and shredded a ream of paper, poured motor oil in the sewer, and left my gas-guzzler on to emit carbon dioxide all day long. Oh, and on the way home, I shot a spotted owl. Mother Nature started this fight for survival, so now, it's on.