Astronomers tell us that they have found a planet very like our own, and only a mere 11 light years away. That’s just next door in astronomical terms.
It’s called “Ross 128 b” — not exactly the name we might have chosen, but no doubt subject to rechristening if we decide to buy. No less a luminary than Stephen Hawking, arguably the most intelligent human alive today, thinks we should be looking at resettlement. In fact, he’s giving us 600 years to pack our bags and vacate the premises.
Planetary resettlement is a bit more complex than moving from a three-family outport to the suburban wasteland of St. John’s, but it’s being given some serious consideration.
From my point of view, we’d be wiser to get busy repairing the planet we’ve got, rather than looking for a new one.
Well, we’ve almost finished trashing planet Earth, and all the advice and the warnings of scientists seems to be falling on deaf ears, so why not have a look around for another planet to vandalize? A recent 25-year update of environmental changes confirms that our current home is degrading quite quickly. Air and water quality are becoming dangerously compromised, farmland is shrinking, and ocean dead-zones are more numerous and more extensive. The fact that the switch from Freon to ammonia for refrigeration seems to be giving our ozone layer a reprieve is the only positive news in the whole update.
I’m quite attached to planet Earth, personally. I’ve no objection to leaving here when I die (I’m not going to “pass,” I’m going to die, if nobody objects). But I’d rather not be herded aboard a galactic transport vehicle and taken 11 light years away to another planet where I can’t download the Guardian cryptic at breakfast time. I’m too old to deal with that.
From my point of view, we’d be wiser to get busy repairing the planet we’ve got, rather than looking for a new one. This one’s the best kind of a planet, and it only needs a bit of common-sense maintenance to keep it going for who knows how long.
If the youngsters want to go planet-shopping, I’ve no objection, bless ’em, just so long as they leave me out of it.
Listening to all the convoluted discussions over abandoning single-use plastic shopping bags, I shudder to imagine the breakfast meetings and the working lunches and the workshops and study groups involved in deciding whether to go with single-use planets or not. I‘m certain we could give planet Earth a nice renovation for a lot less that resettling to Ross 128 b.
The problem is, we need PMs, presidents and other people who lead nations to give the health of the planet priority over posturing and exchanging insults and making millions of dollars, euros, rubles or whatever out of their positions of power.
And we don’t seem to have many politicians of that kind, do we?