Now, I’m definitely neither omniscient nor an alien; however, let me try to postulate on what an OAE might conclude after a quick tour of this big blue planet we call home:
OAE: “Alright, I’ve just finished my ‘world tour’, as it were, of this planet you call Earth, the third major satellite from the yellow star that you call the Sun. I’ve seen pretty much everything there is to see; however, I understand little of what I’ve observed. In truth, much of what I have witnessed perplexes me.
“The Earth is clearly a beautiful planet. The compound H2O, which you humans call ‘water’, covers over 70% of your planet’s surface, and it gives the Earth a color and appearance unlike any other planet in your galaxy (trust me on this, since I’ve seen most of them already). I’m actually a little surprised that you chose to call your planet ‘Earth’ and not ‘Water’. Anyway, apparently this water is an essential component of Earth life-forms; without it, none of the myriad creatures living there would survive. In fact, if water had never existed on Earth, life would never have existed either! It is truly a wonderful substance!
“Majority of life on Earth can be found living in large accumulations (or as you natives say, ‘bodies’) of water such as oceans, seas, rivers and lakes. This diversity of life-forms is truly astounding; from micron-sized bacteria to whales over a hundred feet long, the proliferation of aquatic life is like nothing I’ve ever seen anywhere else before!
“Of course, the terrestrial life-forms on Earth are just as incredible as any that could be seen underwater. I’ve observed so many strange and wonderful creatures of all shapes and sizes, adapted to living in all types of conditions: some could crawl, some could walk, others flew… and I recall some of the more important land organisms simply grew in one spot and converted the light from your yellow star into fuel that fed all the other living things around it while simultaneously generating molecules of oxygen, which the other Earthlings require for respiration… truly fascinating!
“You reside on a magnificent piece of real estate, as some of you are fond of saying. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, I am perplexed by what I can only conclude is a study in contradictions: I cannot, for the life of me, fathom as to why it is that your planet’s most evolved, most intelligent beings (Homo sapiens), the only native species that can fully comprehend and appreciate the myriad intricacies that the Earth and all its spectacular facets has to offer, is the very same species that is now slowly but surely contributing to its demise.
“Consider, for instance, those organisms that produce oxygen… the ones you call plants. It is quite apparent that without oxygen, most creatures on this planet would cease to exist; thus, it is an element of the utmost importance, and by extension the plants that produce it are just as important. Also, these plants are at the base of the food pyramid, and as such are consumed, either directly or indirectly, by nearly every other living thing on the Earth. So between being a food source and a producer of oxygen, plants appear to be extremely vital to the continued survival of life on Earth.
“So why is it, then, that the members of the species Homo sapiens (otherwise known as humans) are actively contributing to the devastation of regions with high densities of plant life?
“In my travels around this planet, I have observed large denuded areas where the tall plants called trees used to stand; evidence of their presence reduced to the stumps they leave behind. I have watched as humans slashed & burned large swaths of forest that have been around for millennia, to make room for their food crops, only to leave the land after just a decade because it has become barren, and thus beginning the slashing & burning cycle anew. I have also witnessed this process increasing in frequency over time, to the point that I can already envision those areas of the Earth that today appear green with life will all become brown and desolate within the next century.
“The plants in the water are not spared either. Unlike the large plants on land, most of the plants found in the water (especially in the large areas you call ‘oceans’) are small. These phytoplankton (as they are called) are actually microscopic. Yet according to my calculations, these plants are responsible for about 55% of the oxygen on the planet! Amazing, isn’t it? These tiny organisms occur in numbers so great that they can generate over half the oxygen that the other inhabitants of Earth require to survive!
“Unfortunately, it appears that being small somehow became synonymous with being insignificant, since most humans seemingly care little about the affairs of such tiny organisms, no matter how important their contributions to the inhabitants of this planet. I’ve been to several places where I had expected to see beautiful views of your planet’s oceans; instead, I watched as a creeping toxic slick composed of the fossilized goo of long-dead organisms [*note: he means fossil fuels, otherwise known as crude oil] was set loose by the actions of humans, killing an incalculable number of unique and diverse creatures while ensuring that the aquatic ecosystem will remain tainted and noxious for a very long time.
“I’ve also seen how many humans seem to think that the disposing of undesirable waste products into waterways is an acceptable action to take, when in fact the truth is quite the opposite! They sincerely believe that as long as they no longer see the offending material, then it must be gone for good. The truth of the matter is that many of your disposable items – especially those made of that synthetic compound you call plastic – leach harmful chemicals into the water. These chemicals often mimic certain hormones and can cause any number of developmental defects in organisms that ingest them, and humans often consume these organisms; thus, they actually end up poisoning themselves!
“These are just a few examples of the bizarre relationship I have observed humans have with the planet on which they reside. And it truly is bizarre.
“If we were to compare the planet Earth to a residential structure – I believe humans call them ‘houses’ – then would it not make sense for the occupants to want to keep their place of residence clean? And when I say clean, I mean not only for appearances sake, but also for the health and safety of their offspring. What’s happening to this planet, however, can be compared to a human throwing all his refuse into the basement of his home, and expecting it to just stay there and not affect his life in any way afterwards. Yet every sentient being throughout the cosmos knows that that is not what happens; perhaps the odors of rotting food will waft throughout the entire house and make everyone sick, or a young human accidentally enters and falls headfirst into the filthy mess (eww, I say… poor unfortunate small human).
“The reality is, you humans are in a position to effect change on your planet. Whether that change is positive or negative is completely up to you. I, or others of my kind, or even beings of a divine inclination, must not be relied upon to rescue you from your responsibility as the stewards of your home world. However, I will give you some advice:
- First, you must truly desire for what’s best for your planet. The actions you will need to take to restore the Earth to its true beauty will be made clear to you as long as you yearn for it from the deepest recesses of your soul.
- Second, by ‘you’, I don’t mean an individual human, or a family, or even a community of humans. I mean the human species. You must all work together if you are to preserve what you have.
- And third, even after you have achieved your goal and have attained a pristine planet, you are only halfway done, for now you must strive to maintain this condition for the years, decades, centuries and millennia to come. You must ensure that all the succeeding generations of your species will not become negligent in the responsibilities that they inherited along with the planet, and thus you must lead by example, so that one day they may do the same.
“It will be difficult, but then again, doing the right thing has rarely ever been easy. Yet I truly believe the effort will be worth it. I have seen what your planet is, and I can foresee what it could become. And most importantly, I believe in the tenacity and ingenuity of your species. I have seen glimpses of what you all could achieve should you collectively desire to move in a singular direction, and your achievements will be great. But time grows short, and you must make your choice soon.
“So, human, tell me… what will you choose to do?”