“This Fragile Earth”

I was on the Greenpeace website recently, and came across an expression that is likely familiar to all of you – “this fragile Earth”. Within this familiar idiom lie a number of misconceptions about our planet. Let’s discuss a few of them.

Myth 1: The Earth is vulnerable.
The Earth you walk on has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, and will continue to go on, for hundreds of thousands of years, after you die. The Earth is not an egg one accidentally cracks. Instead, it is like a giant wall: you don’t make the wall fall over if you kick it, but if you hit this wall repeatedly with a sledgehammer, that might change things. This is a far more accurate representation, in fact, since even one guy hitting a wall with a sledgehammer for a while isn’t going to do that much, but a thousand guys hitting even the Great Wall of China over the course of a few generations will eventually break it down. And dude, that thing is visible from SPACE.

Myth 2: The Earth’s ecosystem is delicate.
This concept is so widely accepted it blows my frikking mind. What people mean is that the smaller ecosystems on the planet are fragile. The Earth itself is a robust organism, much like a human being, and calling it delicate is a great disservice to it. When healthy, it resists disease like a motherfucker (and corrects balance very adequately, too boot). It is a veritable colossus of staying power. To accept this myth is to delude yourself into thinking that what we, as a species, are doing to this planet is a mere poke, a slight shove. (As in, “oops, I slightly overcooked this pot roast.”) Herein lies the very seductiveness of our lifestyle, in fact: every individual that thinks, “so what if I don’t recycle this?” should start visualizing SIX BILLION PEOPLE throwing away their goddamned Krispy Kreme box. Their apartment filled with Krispy Kreme boxes. Every day.

Myth 3: The Earth needs you.
This is the most wrong out of all of these. Guess what: You care about the Earth (or should) because you need it to live. It does not need you to live. When we all die, the Earth will be like “finally! Now I can kick my feet up and watch football,” because there won’t be six billion nuisances crawling all over the place, dropping their precious Krispy Kreme boxes all over the place. In fact, if all of us die because of the way we treat “this fragile Earth,” it isn’t “this fragile Earth” that’s going to be dead – it’s us. The whole concept that environmentalism needs to be a selfless act does a terrible disservice to environmentalists, who should instead be saying “Do you realize you are going to CHOKE, you fucking idiots!?!?” The most selfish out of all of us should be the most concerned, because he will lose what he loves most: himself and his loved ones.

Conclusion: The Earth does not need you to care for it. It is fine and will move on after it has systematically wiped out every single bothersome human on the surface of the planet, which it will do if it feels the necessity to. Following that, it will continue to float through space, probably inhabited by cockroaches. And all those cockroaches will be laughing, and they will be laughing at us because we were too stupid to get our acts together. Cockroaches. Think about it.

People, do not recycle because the Earth is a teary doe-eyed creature that needs your protection – though some of the species that are on it might be (and they are disappearing at an astonishing rate). Instead, recycle because it will reduce the chances of your children perishing, young, grey-skinned and unfulfilled, in a carbon-monoxide rich wasteland of a world. Participate because the upcoming war over water is not going to be pretty, or because it will leave you without your precious Minute Maid orange juice, for all I care. But take control of your lives, or you will lose it. Assess your priorities.





11 responses to ““This Fragile Earth””

  1. Moses Avatar

    Cockroaches indeed.

    The “great” British geneticist J. B. S. Haldane was asked, “Tell me, Mr. Haldane, knowing what you do about nature, what can you tell me about God?”
    Haldane replied, “He has an inordinate fondness for beetles.”

    I was nodding with the points you made about the myths of the environmental movement, but your point about the professed nobility of environmentalism really lit a bulb over my head. The budding marketing consultant in me piped up: “If only they could be honest and appeal to the baser, selfish instincts of their audience, they’d get more support.”

  2. xaintes Avatar

    Hear! Hear!

  3. RB Avatar

    The Wall of China is not visible from space. A widely-believed myth, but a myth nonetheless.

  4. jason Avatar

    the earth is fine, it has another billion years to get over the pollution we’ve dumped on her

    it’s ability to sustain our human ingrate asses is what’s diminishing by the second

    let’s get real

  5. […] Billets/Posts: Entrevue avec Philippe Martin This Fragile Earth Wants and Needs […]

  6. brad Avatar

    “fragile earth” is hyperbole. duh. but we’re still screwing her over.

  7. Wildbird Avatar

    THE FRAGILE EARTH and the DELICATE BALANCE OF NATURE are the biggist lies ever perpatiated on anyone and next time you see some wackos with those dumb THE EARTH IS YOUR MOTHER bumper stickers just roll-down your car window spit on the ground and tell them HEY IM SPITTING ON YOUR MOTHER YOU TREE HUGGING GRANOLA MUNCHING GREEN NUTS

  8. Blork Avatar

    “American Scholar” magazine (hey, I read ’em all, folks) had a good story about this in their summer 2010 issue. (Cover story: “The Earth Doesn’t Care if You Drive a Hybrid”) The jist of it is that the earth is not delicate. It’s been around for a few billion years and has survived much worse than human habitation. That doesn’t mean pollution and global warming are not a problem; it means it is a problem FOR US HUMANS, but not for the planet itself.

  9. […] long time ago I talked about how the myth of the fragile Earth is doing nothing but hurting the environmental movement. They think “ZOMG, what will the […]

  10. Michael Avatar

    this is a incredibly good article, thank you, so much, the earth is incredibly strong, science channel make it sound weak, thats stupid…

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