Earth Science - Other

Can Science Save the Planet

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"Can Science Save the Planet"
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I'm not a scientist, but I do pride myself for having a lust for knowledge when it comes to science and how it can play a role in our lives.
I'm full of my own theories about many things that pose a grand question, and it's almost like there is someone mysteriously providing answers for the many questions out there that seem to puzzle even the greatest scientists.

Call it a gift, call it just a natural ability to figure things out, but what ever it is, I've been blessed with the ability to provide answers to a lot of questions, and I really can't take credit for any of it, it is just there. Almost thirty years ago I had the idea that if we can take the healthy cells from a person afflicted with cancer, and somehow duplicate them so that we can produce mass quantities of those cells that fight the disease, we then can inject them back into the body close to where the cancer is, and hopefully those cells would win the battle.

My thinking is that under normal circumstances, the cancer wins because there isn't enough healthy cells to do the job. So here we are today, and we have something called stem cell research. Go figure. I think we all have the ability to provide the answer to something or another, but for some reason, we miss the boat and watch our ideas be capitalized on by someone else who ran with the idea.

This doesn't have much to do with science saving the planet, but rather an attempt to provide some sensible answer based on my own rational. Now when it comes to the question of science saving the planet, I have to wonder how naive we are to think that it can be possible for anything other than the conditions we have created ourselves.

We can blast small asteroids out of the sky way before they collide with the earth is the thought that many share, but these are only small by comparison to what can cause a cataclysmic event if a huge asteroid such as what has caused the demise of the dinosaurs were to hit the earth. No amount of science can make a difference in that case.

Science can only help if we can reverse what we cause, and the reason is that what we do to harm the planet is minimal by comparison to a natural disaster of epidemic proportions. Science may be able to help save lives by giving us advance warning about impending disasters, but can do nothing to prevent Yellowstone from erupting, thereby destroying the very life support system that keeps us alive.

Where would we move to, where could we go to be safe? Science couldn't prevent a tsunami of 500 to a 1000 feet or more that can happen at any time as it has in the past, and fortunately it wouldn't be the end of the planet, but it could take millions of lives. Science can provide ample warning of such an event, or at least we hope it could.

The planet as all should know, has a very delicate balance that sustains our lives, and anything is possible that may happen whereas no amount of science can make a difference. We know there are events way beyond our control, and we must be ready for such an event if the human race is to continue, even if it means only a handful will survive. It's a dark thought, but the fact is, we live on a tiny speck in the universe which is highly hostile, and because of a perfect balance and events that caused that perfect balance, we have a planet that sustains life.

How the earth formed, and how it eventually will end up is not something we as mere humans can do much about, so the only thing we can focus on is how science can save the planet from us, and I've always said that we are the "cancer" of this world. We take and never put back, we pollute, ravage, destroy and basically change the very environment that is so vital for our survival. What would it take to reverse that trend would be a very high price tag for us to bear, for we are so spoiled by what technology provides us, it would almost be impossible to reverse our dependency for all the things that have a play in destroying our eco system.

Science can indeed save the planet from us, but we are helpless when it comes to what normally can happen that can destroy the planet. Even so, when the time comes whereas the planet is completely destroyed and void of all life, time and only time will bring it back to life, and we are talking a time scale that covers millions and millions of years. After all said and done, we have to wonder how many times in the past that life ended on this planet, and then what kind of new life will form when we are gone.

More about this author: Richard Serra

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