Image Credit & Copyright: NASA of Expedition 24 crew member Tracy Caldwell reflecting upon the Earth from the Cupola window onboard the ISS.
I was having a conversation with someone a few weeks back and we were discussing the fragility of Earth and he was curious as to my opinion of whether or not I believe humans actually disturb the Earth enough to where we can and are changing the environment. In short I said yes I not only believe we can, I believe we are and the topic in a way parallels evolution where it seems that the less people know about a topic, the more they actually think they know about it than they do. Whereas the more you learn about said topics, the more you realize and understand how much more you need to learn. It’s also important to remember that you are heavily biased whether you realize it or not.
So when researching climate change, evolution etc. it takes years of constant study and you need to read and study the data and press releases from the actual scientists and organizations that are doing the research and not those who formulate counter opinions based on no actual research done themselves, but instead offer political and or emotionally driven points. These subjects aren’t something you can read up on for a few weeks and know much about. There’s too much detailed information that needs to be understood before you can even claim to have an understanding. I’d be willing to claim that 90% of the U.S. population thinks they know who’s correct on climate change when they themselves know little to nothing about how the nature machine works at all. When you do the research no matter how long it takes, it’s always more valuable than listening to talking heads in the media. That’s pretty much true for everything hah.
So back to my conversation. As we wrapped up, he left with a few new points to consider (I’m no expert believe me) but I also left him with a few small nuggets of information to highlight the point that in my opinion it’s better to make the hard right choices and air toward the side of caution than continue on the path we’re on and find out we’re wrong and we’ve created our own extinction in spite of ourselves.
EARTH AS A HAVEN FOR LIFE:
Roughly 99% of all species that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct and we’re working hard on that last 1%.
If you were dropped off on about 90% of the Earth’s surface with only the clothes on your back you would be dead within minutes to a few hours.
The Earth is 7,918 mi. (12,742 km) in diameter yet we can’t survive above 26,000 ft. (8,000 m) or as its known, “The Death Zone” for long and to do so you must first be acclimated, you can’t just go there. In fact, no permanent human habitation can be sustained above around 18,000 ft. (5,500 m).
What about underground; humans can’t remain far below sea level (few hundred ft.) for very long before many life threatening situations like the Bends begin to set in. Miners, like divers, have to acclimate going below sea level just as mountain climbers have to do so in order to climb higher and then again to come back down. The same force of gravity and pressure exists in Earth’s crust just as it does under the ocean. In fact it’s not the ocean that creates the pressure; it’s actually your elevation on the Earth, plain and simple.
The deepest mine in the world is Tau Tona and its only 2.4 mi (3.8 km) deep and even that is unsurvivable if you stay too long. Temperatures at that depth are on average 131 degrees F and you have to pressurize and depressurize in stages, you can’t just go there. The deepest hole ever dug (not the longest which is the Sakhalin bore hole, but the deepest) was the Kola Super Deep Borehole and it went to a depth of almost 8 mi. (12.2 km) or 40,230 ft. (12,262 m) and they had to stop because temps reached 356 degrees F (180 degrees C) with massive pressures drilling was deemed unfeasible. Had they reached their goal of 49,000 ft. (15,000 m) they predicted temperatures would have been about 570 F (300 C) and equipment wouldn’t be able to operate.
In short, 99% of all species are extinct. Humans can only survive on about 10% of the entire surface of the Earth without adequate life support and infrastructure. Even though the Earth is almost 8000 miles in diameter, humans can only survive roughly within a 5 mile wide sliver of that at any point. We walk on moving land gliding on thousands of miles of liquid rock and metal powered by a fission (splitting atoms) reactor at Earth’s core. We stand under a paper thin atmosphere and count on it to protect us from lethal doses of solar radiation, the hundreds of degree below zero vacuum of space, asteroids and to allow us to literally survive by holding the oxygen that were now poisoning here for us to breathe. Whether you’re a believer or not, I believe it’s in everyone’s best interests to protect spaceship Earth because we’re lucky to be surviving on it to begin with.