Another Earth

I just had breakfast and it made me sick. I had a yoghurt and some cherries. The bones of the cherries now sit in a bowl, together with those of the apricots I had for dinner yesterday. Later, when I go out for a walk by the lake, I’ll let them slide from the bowl down in the compost bin, to join the green rests of the households around mine.

The yoghurt pot sits in the trash bag: when it joins the trash bags of the other people living in my condo it’ll either be burned or take a ride to a landfill and be dumped there, not so many kilometers from where I live but enough to be out of sight and out of mind.

My life produces waste that either chokes the atmosphere or fills the interiors of my planet: I behave as if it will never come back to me. I guess that’s the rule of the game: if you don’t see it with your eyes, it doesn’t exists, ergo it’s not a problem.

This is what makes me sick. Every time I unpack food there’s something to be thrown “away”. I feel it like a shadow that persistently walks behind me: at every toss it grows, so I should notice better, instead I let it grow larger and larger … sooner or later it’ll cover a sizable part of the planet where I live, the most beautiful planet we know of, Earth.

A couple weeks ago NASA shared a new catalog of planets discovered beyond our cosmic backyard. Earlier on, they told us about the discovery of a planet that could be our big brother or cousin: called Kepler 452-b, it’s just a bit older and larger than Earth but otherwise very similar. One of the tweets I reposted about that announcement said:

“Hopefully aliens on Kepler 452-b have telescopes that have just discovered Earth, and are very excited to have found Kepler 452-b’s twin!

If these aliens exist, I wonder how they live, if they have established a more considerate way to prosper on their home planet, taking responsibility for their actions, making choices for the future of their environment, where their descendants will live after these decisions have been taken on their behalf.

I hope these beings are not oblivious to these implications just because they are not the ones who’ll have to deal with them. I wonder if they are living as hypnotized as we are, formatted to think that what we have been given as habitudes are the right ones just because everyone else does like this and it’s always been this way … or because it’s too annoying to think so deep: everyday life already has its problems, right?

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Make sure you visit the other options at the Exoplanet Travel Bureau.

That’s what my mom and sister tell me, when I suggest them to consider behaving differently toward our planet. I try to remind them that it’s not just their planet, it’s everyone’s! it’s where our little niece will grow up: what will we answer them when they ask: “you knew you were screwing my world up, why didn’t you do anything? how could you be so lazy and selfish?”

I think my mom and sister frame the discourse about the environment as feeling obliged to comply with some impersonal diktat. I, on the contrary, feel empowered by what each of us can do to live in a better equilibrium with the world that supports us and feeds us, as it’s done with those who came before us; how would we feel if they had left us what we are preparing for our sons and daughters? what would we think of them?

A friend recently reminded me that evolution is morally blind and that humans do not thrive on Earth because they are the best possible people: while from a scientific point of view I know this is true, I still dream of humans inhabiting Earth for deeper reasons than natural selection, medicine and technology, like this young guy is doing

 

What can I do?

I’ve started washing the plastic yoghurt pots to recycle them.

I try to take fewer and shorter hot showers.

I mean to go back using a fabric tissue instead of paper ones.

I want to buy a metallic bottle to carry water around.

What more can you suggest me? 

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