One Universe


As an astronomer, I sometimes think in expansive terms. So the title of this article could have just as easily been “One World” or something like that. For it is about the limits of where we live.

But in a real sense while we live in just one universe, in a galaxy like this about 2/3 of the way out from the center, in a rather stress free neighborhood.

Right now we realize our universe is quite a bit smaller.  Except for the lunar landings more than 40 years ago, all of us live here on this “small blue marble”.  And that is something that we all have never really owned.

This past year we all failed to pass climate change legislation because some of us wanted things different from the others and in the end we could not agree.  So we settled for virtually nothing.

The problem is, that because it is one home for us all, even if many agree to strongly limit CO2 emissions but one decides to go on a crash diet of burning coal, then we are all still screwed.  What struck me this morning is that this is a principle that covers so many more areas that we first may suspect.  And it changes millennial old paradigms that we have enshrined in our religions and our values.

Here are some more examples taken from recent headlines –

  • “The End of Antibiotics” is an article published online by Time Magazine.  In it states that “tens of millions of pounds” [of antibiotics] are used in animal feed stock to allow them to fatten up better and on schedule.  It is the massive over use of these miracle drugs that is causing, no driving the evolution of bacteria to become more immune to this type of treatment.  Europe ban such use some time ago but the USA refused to go along.  Now I suspect that the USA argument is that China, Mexico, Brazil, India also don’t do this and so why should they.  But because of the wholesale use of antibiotics … even when not specifically required … continues this causes the world use of this system to fail.
  • The case for coal vrs nuclear vrs renewable energy has the same structure.  Why should the USA change its habits when we have been suffering for using too much foreign oil and now we are converting to using our own resource – coal – but our use is slowly raising the temperature of the planet every day.  Moreover, the same argument applies to others as well.  China has little petroleum but plenty of coal and they need new energy to come on line steadily.
  • And finally the same thing applies to religion.  Each of the major western religious traditions (and here I will include Islam) have roots in a time when one way to strengthen your cause was to make sure you annihilated your enemies; these traditions teach that adherents are blessed and that outsiders are not.  And in the end this translates to them being less than human.  Not so long ago in terms of human social evolution, say 200 years, our ability to take this stance and inflict damage on those who disagree with us was limited to relatively short ranges.  But today for most groups it is planet wide.

So the simple conclusion of this essay is to ask each of you – How do we all gain some universal respect for one another and how to do we create empowered social structures to help implement world wide safeguards to protect us, our universe and all of the others who share in this gift of life?

Posted in Essays, Green Perspectives, Investing, Singapore Incubator, Spiritual Threads