Sunday, May 8, 2011

Forget What You Know About Earth

Now imagine Earth is a person 46 years old

The Earth is thought to be around 4,600 million years old,
an almost inconceivable time-span. 

For the moment,
think of it as someone in middle age, 46 years old.

This person is a late developer. 
Nothing at all is known about their first seven years
and only sketchy information exists until about the next 35 years.

It is only at the age of 42 that the Earth began to flower.

Dinosaurs and the great reptiles did not appear until a year ago,
when this planet reached 45.
Mammals arrived only eight months ago.
In the middle of last week,
human-like apes evolved into ape-like humans,
and at the weekend the last ice age enveloped the earth.

Modern humans have been around for four hours.
During the last hour we discovered agriculture.
The industrial revolution began just a minute ago.
During those sixty seconds of biological time,
humans have made a rubbish tip of Paradise.

We have caused the extinction of many hundreds of species of animals,
many of which have been here longer than us,
and ransacked the planet for fuel.
Now we stand, like brutish infants,
gloating over this meteoric rise to ascendancy,
poised on the brink of the final mass extinction
and of effectively destroying this oasis of life in the solar system.

I'm not too keen on the preachy stuff at the end, although I'm sure it's completely true, but I just love the way they describe Earth and really put human existence into perspective.

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