What’s more important to you–the Earth itself, or humankind? Personally, I go with the Earth.
When I listen to the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, I get the impression they are in favor of humanity being more important than the Earth on which we dwell. The message I get is that it’s okay to scrape away whole mountains to get the coal that lies near the surface; to cut down the trees in huge swaths in our forests just to get the wood; to build a pipeline from Canada to transport a heavy, thick, dangerous crude oil from Canadian tar sands to Texas for refining (why don’t they build the refinery up there and transport the safer end products?); to drill for oil in the arctic without knowing if they can do so safely (at the present time a well is leaking in the arctic and they haven’t been able to plug it because, as I understand, they don’t have the technology to shut it down in that hostile environment); to continue to drill in the Gulf of Mexico in the face of a serious oil leak two years ago; to mine for uranium in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon, one of the greatest natural wonders on the surface of the Earth; and drill for natural gas using fracking technology that hasn’t been thoroughly researched to determine if it’s safe enough for the people who live near the wells. Granted, we could use the energy liberated by the coal and oil and gas, and we need the jobs that those industries could provide, but do we need them that much at the expense of the environment?
I don’t think so.
I find it difficult to understand how we can pollute our environment to the extent these practices would potentially do. The Earth is the only planet we’ve got. We can’t just run off to Mars or Venus or the moon if our planet becomes uninhabitable by foul environmental practices. We’ve already liberated so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere we’ve caused a slight temperatures rise all over the world, a rise over and above what would occur naturally. Granted, it’s not as bad as Venus where the temperature at the surface is over 600 F. But this is our Earth; it is in the best interest of all of us to maintain it in a close to a pristine state as possible. I believe we were put on this Earth to preserve and maintain it, not to use it and discard the remains like a bag of trash in a landfill. It is most convenient to think of our tenure as stewards of the Earth as not so much inheriting it and its environment from our ancestors as borrowing it from our children.
I don’t believe in the conservative ethic that says we can do what we want with the Earth. That man is more important than the planet he lives on. That the world is his little play toy and to hell with the consequences. The conservative ethic says that if we do something today that becomes a problem, like pollution, then there will be a scientist who comes along in a few years to clean up the mess, so we don’t need to worry about it. But we’ve got one helluva mess now, so where are the scientists? Where are these people who are supposed to clean up our planet and make it safe for clear-cutting and mountain top removal and damming up the Grand Canyon and polluting Yosemite and Yellowstone? This planet is my home, and I don’t ordinarily foul my own home, and I would like to keep it that way.