A letter to the Guardian sent by one Dinah Hall from Devon a couple of years ago, reads as follows;
“There’s nothing like teenage diaries for putting momentous historical events in perspective. This is my entry for 20 July 1969. “I went to arts centre (by myself!) in yellow cords and blouse. Ian was there but he didn’t speak to me. Got rhyme put in my handbag from someone who’s apparently got a crush on me. It’s Nicholas I think. UGH. Man landed on moon.”
Listening to some of this summer’s headlines, I wonder if we’ll look back at 2015 in the same way.
Expenses scandal emerges.
Leadership race continues.
Scientists ‘excited’ by finding Earth 2.0
The discovery that a haul of planets discovered by Nasa’s Kepler telescope includes a “world sharing many characteristics with Earth”, is astonishing.
It reminds me of that line by the late Arthur C Clarke;
“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
Consider this; it is perfectly possible that, right now, a spaceship is on its way to Earth. Our first intergalactic visitors.
Are they nervous? When might they arrive? And what will they make of our planet when they get here?
Given the length of the journey, they may have been, to quote The Carpenters, “observing our Earth” over the course of some time. In which case, they will surely notice what we have done to the place. I doubt they will be impressed.
How do we explain the forests, swamps, plains and lakes which have disappeared? The 23% of mammal species now described as threatened? Or that the planet is warming faster than at any point in the past 10,000 years, contributing to the potential mass extinction of wild animals?
All of this, before we have even started discussing the way we “get on” as a species.
How fanciful! An exercise in imagining… the arrival of visitors from an unknown place.
Here’s the thing…
They are coming.
Of this I am completely and utterly certain.
Today they may be hidden. One day they will be with us.
So what is this? A bizarre prediction of an alien invasion?
No. Simply another way of looking at the world.
Our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will, one day, arrive on Earth.
In time, they will see what we have done.
They will ask questions. And we’ll have to answer them.
As we are drawn into the excitement of today, are we thinking about the world in a thousand years? In ten thousand ? In a million?
We read about the top regrets of the dying.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
How powerful to be able to read these lessons while there is still time to change our lives.
What if time was running out to save our planet?
To ask ourselves the bigger questions, we need to put ourselves in the shoes not of our peers or our ancestors, but of our descendants.
An alien concept? Perhaps.
But whether through small step or giant leaps, this is what we must do.