The window of life

Life, whether it be teeming in the universe or just the rarest of miracles, has either way been lucky to find a home on our fertile planet; that small, insignificant rock (in galactic terms) that just happens to be sitting in the right place of our solar system for life to survive.

It’s quite nice here.  Apart from the extremities it’s not too hot, not too cold.  If we keep it like that then I’m sure our stay here won’t be tenuous.

But just how lucky are we mortal types to have found this nice little spot to populate?

Immeasurably lucky, actually.  Paradises like planet Earth are as accidental as the creation of life itself.  It is like an oasis amid a burning, scorching desert devoid of surrounding life.

The galactic desert that surrounds us does not welcome life.  Even our own sun, without which our planet would be sterile and without life, is miraculously at a safe distance so that life can prevail.

It is worth considering how fortunate we are to be able to exist on this small rock.

The center of the sun is a ‘mere’ 14.5 million degrees Celsius.  A piece of it the size of a pinhead would generate enough heat to kill a person from 150 million kilometres away.  How wonderful that the outer layers of the sun are much ‘cooler’, thus enabling life to exist on this planet.   The coldest places in our solar system can be found at its edges where it is minus 273 degrees.  How wonderful that our planet isn’t any further, or closer, to the sun.

Under what temperature extremes could human life survive?  I’m guessing somewhere from a chilly minus 40 to a blistering 60.  In planet Earth the gods have offered us a very small window of life.

Why then, are we so determined to damage it.

Look at the sludge that this planet has become.  Look at the filth in the air, in the water and the earth of western countries and developing countries.  It’s beyond belief.  We see industries which are happy to choke the land, waterways and air for the sake of more profits.

The planet, obviously, isn’t important any more.  Our term here is considered a right, not a privilege.

As it is it is a hostile planet: no-one gets off alive, but it’s still the best home we have.

What was once the solar system’s paradise, is now its rubbish dump.  If we keep trashing it, destroying it, polluting it, playing with its climate . . . how long before we receive our eviction notice?  How long before the window of life closes on us?

Prominence Earth

Prominence Earth (Photo credit: Lights In The Dark)

51 comments on “The window of life

  1. Sure Migs we all love the planet but I don’t buy your underlying misanthropic subtext or your belief in an upcoming environmental apocalypse.

  2. Yeah, but if the government legislated to reduce the amount of fossil fuel emissions going into the atmosphere, well, anything could happen! You could even have right-wing radio jocks suggesting the PM be put in a chaff bag and dumped into the deepest ocean.

    Nice thoughtful piece again, Miglo. Thanks.

  3. Migs, I am going to have to beg to differ with you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Just my opinion, but you write clearly but often with quite dramatic imagery, with this post being a fine example of this.

  4. Miglo,

    I believe that an important aspect is that we humans were given something called freedom of choice, and I am enough of an optimist to believe that we can overcome most obstacles.

    It seems to me that during the course of history, that whenever it has been stated that the Apolcalypse is upon us we humans have delved into the best which human nature has to offer.

    Roswell,

    I recall you having a vision for the future. There is no reason why this vision cannot happen. With faith, with optimism and with trust.

  5. I agree with Min Migs, don’t let the ians of this world bring ya’ down. Sometimes it’s enough just to reflect, not on individual issues, but overarching necessities.

    We live on a fragile planet, and those who wish to gamble with that are insignificant imo in the big scheme of thing; they are just nuisances we are forced to deal with.

    But regardless of which way the photograph was taken, the image shows our entire world as a small and blue and very finite globe, with our nearest celestial neighbour a desolate presence in the foreground.

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/moon/earthrise.htm

  6. Tom, to add…this blog has always written about topics which the MSM aren’t interested. In that, we on the blogs we are at a decided advantage, we can write about issues which we are passionate about. Often we’ve had an inkling that a topic wouldn’t attract many comments..but what the heck..

  7. Nice piece Migs, however we tend here to be preaching to the converted, its asking this question of the supposed maintstream that would garner the most insight I think. Having said that, it may be way to depressing having read some of the crap responses out there previously so I”ll just enjoy this and ponder the question

  8. Yes, Signe, but I think ‘mainstream’ opinion may be ready for a new conversation on the environment. The marine parks policy which Minister Tony Burke is promoting a wonderful opportunity for that. The photographic images are so superb that few editors will be able to resist as we can see in the Sydney Morning Herald today. A breath of fresh air (or sea water!) for us all and the compensation offered to the commercial industry though fair won’t bust the budget.

    Great post, Migs, maybe more time away from the office contemplating life is a good idea, providing you can afford it! If you have more leave up your sleeve why not take a trip west, free accommodation here and a chance to tour some great country and coastline!

  9. Signe,

    I don’t see it as preaching to the converted. I believe that this blog receives many hits from people other than just the converted, with the evidence being the alternative opinions.

    I noted a week or so ago a comment from ultra right winger Iain that he respected the opinions on this blog, that he respected this blog in toto for allowing his opinions to be be published. Iain commented that this was not something evident on other left wing blogs.

  10. Patricia,

    Sadly I see issues such as the environment as being something which does not effect “me”.

    Beautiful country Patricia, I have cousins in Fremantle.

  11. Miglo, heading Signe’s advice maybe you could link this post to a few right wing blog sites or Facebook groups.

  12. i see the picture as potentially terrible, particularly with respect to the numbers and nature of the various “tipping points” to our global ecology which are currently approaching or have been passed.

    Similar threats exist to the foundations of our global systems of economies and governance which are increasingly, demonstrating their incapacity to deal with either internal contradictions or external factors in any coherent manner, given the magnitude of the problems we all (even Iain :wink:).have to face, irrespective of our beliefs.

    However, as you say Migs, we are privileged to live on this jewel of a planet, and to see it trashed is apalling – perhaps what is needed is a universal “container deposit”
    scheme, to apply/account for all manufactured goods, byproducts and wastes?

    Still, no matter how grim the picture, one only has to open one’s eyes, to experience our world’s beauty, :cool: and rekindle hope that somehow the approaching disasters can be avoided before a global catastrophe, or at least the damage minimised. given the tipping points already crossed.

  13. Sorry, the smh did not come up with the anticipated images, nor did the Age which did feature the issue more prominently. Poo bum. But I am reminded of the Insiders where I first saw Tony Burke talking so enthusiastically about the upcoming new policy. There were some great shots of our unique marine environment. Burke positively glowed with the prospect of what the policy could achieve.

  14. Another poo bum, the Insiders’ interview with Tony Burke, is featured now without the stunning underwater film of marine life we saw on Sunday. But as the minister said, this means …..

    ……. that some of the most magnificent parts of the planet that are there on Cape York, with the support of traditional owners, are able to get…… international recognition.

    It might save your time if I quote the remaining relevant part of the interview which underlines the conversation we are having here.

    BARRIE CASSIDY: Do you think that people have the same view about the environment now as – are they as passionate about the environment now as say they were five years ago?

    TONY BURKE: Yeah, I do. I really do. And I think one of the things that is happening at the moment is people’s attention has started to go – like 20 years ago it was all about what happened on land, with climate change discussion there’s been a lot of focus on the atmosphere.

    I think what’s happening next is peoples’ focus is shifting to the ocean and the marine environment. And this is 70 per cent of the earth’s surface, and I think increasingly people are saying ‘well we’ve got a national parks estate on land, why don’t we offer some of those same levels of protection to areas of the ocean?’

    BARRIE CASSIDY: But when you see the attitudes towards the carbon tax and how that has varied over the years, you do get a sense that people aren’t acutely conscious of it anymore; at least they don’t seem to be as concerned about it as they were?

    TONY BURKE: Environmental protection, you know, going back through all the years, has always been an issue where there is different views and where there’s controversy. That’s why it’s always been something that has hit the news in different ways, right back to the fights over Fraser Island, 30 or 40 years ago or something like that.

    So I don’t think the existence of controversy says therefore people don’t care. It means that it is going to be a constant – it’s the key issue, the environment, in terms of when people ask a question ‘what are we leaving for the next generation?’

    These sorts of issues always strike a chord. And as I say, I think we’re moving now towards a renewed focus on how we treat that marine environment.

  15. @Nimue, I note your comment however Iain is what one would have to say is open to decent and mature commentary, not necessarily a trait of the masses and his view is welcomed, and encouraged. Having said that I view him as one of the converted or perhaps willing who share and appreciates all the views posted on this site.

  16. ” I don’t buy your underlying misanthropic subtext or your belief in an upcoming environmental apocalypse.”

    Do you wonder why. Could it be that you know the cost of everything, and the value of nothing.

    We have already turned much of our arable land into deserts, in the name of all must bow to the almighty dollar.

    It just commonsense to look after the land that has given us so much.

  17. Yes, Min! That really does underline what Migs is saying, doesn’t it? What’s more important, our precious underwater world or profits for business? Aren’t we capable of developing businesses which employ people and which still protect our ocean heritage?
    We really are seeing the dark side of our national psyche here, aren’t we?

  18. CU
    Don’t be so certain that I don’t understand the value of our environment I get more up close and personal with the natural world than most of the latte sipping brethren on a daily basis, for instance this is a picture of my place in the rain:

    I want our environment to thrive as much as anyone does and I do my bit on our place planted lots of trees ect but I just have a bit more faith in the resilience of the biosphere than many Gloomy lefties seem to do.

  19. Cu, I don’t hate humans. Some of my best friends are humans. Other friends have four legs.

    But I do dislike the attitudes of some humans, yet conversely, I do respect their right to hold their views. Sadly though, those views can affect the lives of many innocent bystanders; us ordinary folk.

  20. Leaked letter reveals pressure on NHMRC from the anti wind farm brigade

    And then you come across things like that. People and groups, the ones the likes of el gordo supports, who because of greed and narrow right wing ideologies, lie, deceive and pressure others to get their way because their position is so flawed and erroneous they cannot articulate or promote it in any open and honest way.

    They know they are wrong, they know they have nothing credible to back up their stance and they know they will do harm by falsely promoting their flawed positions, but their greed comes ahead of all other considerations, including the welfare of the planet, and they will do anything to put down and stop moves to bring about a better, cleaner and more sustainable future.

  21. Iain, I think that it’s a matter of maintaining a balance. There are a lot of attitudes.

    On one hand sit the Do Nothings – those resigned to their fate who wring their hands and bemoan the fate of the planet OR those who think that the planet exist solely to suit their immediate purposes. Either whichway, the result is the same..they do nothing.

    The Carers – those who for one reason or another – left/right/greenie/developer – want to leave a legacy for the future, and importantly are prepared to get off their asses and do something about it.

    Caring isn’t a matter of politics, caring is an attitude to life.

  22. I believe that the point of Miglo’s topic is that this planet of our is a special place, that few realise just how special it is.

    This reminds me of the science fiction movies of old, where this planet became so polluted that we all just took off and moved to the next available planet. I think that this was somewhat optimistic, this planet might be a one-of. We are ruining it at a greater pace than science fiction every imagined. I remember predictions from the ’60′s that by the year 2000 that people would be living in colonies on Mars. However, technology headed in a different direction and we are still here on planet Earth.

  23. Iain, what about all those photos that we seen years ago of acid rain across the northern hemisphere and the forest that had been there for thousands of years growing. What about the extension of deserts in Africa and the Amazon

    What about the thousands of acres in our own delicate country, that over farming have turned into a vista of grassless plains and and massive gullies, where once vegetation reigned.

    What about those thousands of acres where trees are dying and nothing now grows because of the rising water tables, bringing salt to the surface.

    No, Iain, I do not share your faith, that this planet can cope with all we throw at her.

    Why do you say we hate humans?

  24. Min
    I tend to agree with the general principle that you espouse, But the cynic in me has little time for the the Latte sippers who talk the talk but fail to walk the walk By doing things like taking overseas holidays or being right up there on the consumer treadmill buying the latest techno toys while their old appliances are still serviceable

  25. Ok Iain, you’ve challenged me. I not only talk the talk, but I walk the walk. Quinn Reserve courtesy of yours truly. It’s the old water race and aqueduct. It was preserved as an extensive linear park, around 14 hectares. The shire engineers wanted to pipe the creek and so destroy the entire thing. I’ve never had to ply so many fellow Councillors with so much wine to get them to agree to vote for it.

  26. LOVO, it’s all about assumptions isn’t it. I must plead guilty also. When I think right whinger, I jump to the conclusion that the person is all about the almighty dollar..someone who doesn’t give a flying fck about the environment. And yet the right think that the left is all talk and little action.

  27. Hello Signe, I was sure that I was talking with you just a minute ago. :D Yes, this is our hardworking Signe, a dedicated lady who spends each and every day working hard to make this world a better place.

    I would recommend to any and all of our readers who don’t know Signe to click onto her link and find out more about this very amazing lady.

  28. we were/are speaking… this clever thing called the internet makes meeting and getting to know each other easier… and multitasking is the norm. (thank you for the kind words… hard to live up to though)

  29. thats quite a Question Antony… you can have good and bad sex but i’ve heard it said there is no such thing as a bad Tim Tam… personally i’ll take option 2 ;-)

  30. I can honestly say that I have had neither bad sex lately, in fact it was well shall we say, memorable..and so was the TimTam. On the other hand the beer was bloody awful.

  31. Decisions, decisions. What could I live without. Signe, I’m with you. If you’re thinking of sex, beer and TimTams, TimTams never go flat.

  32. of the three … the beer is the easily let go… can’t stand it, never have and seriously cannot find the attraction… Tim Tams also not so fussy, but then I’m not a huge chocolate person… on the last item – 38yrs and if it can be over in 30mins you’re not trying ;-D

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