By Lucy Diamond
As with my last AYWW blog, “Cosmic Hypocrites,” I’m overwhelmed by humanity’s inability to connect some glaring cosmic dots. We, as a species, are playing Russian Roulette with Mother Nature. You can not cheat Mother Nature.
How many of you were utterly “Wowed!!” by this past February 15th’s cosmic near-miss events?Asteroid 2012 DH 14, half the size of a football field, flew within 18,000 miles of our dear little planet, Earth. The asteroid was inside our satellite shell traveling at 17,000 mph. But then, on the very same day, came the surprise meteor over Russia. The Russian meteor, estimated at 7,000 pounds, traveling at least 40,000 mph exploded 12+ miles above the Earth and injured over 1,000 people while causing extensive damage. Competing for world headlines at the same time as these cosmic catastrophic near misses, a bomb, hidden in a water tank in a market in Quetta, Pakistan, killed at least 81 and injured more than 180, mostly women and children.
Those killed in this bombing were primarily Hazaras, Shiite Moslems, who are considered heretics and non-Muslims by other Pakistani Moslems. Lashker-e-Jhangvi, a Pakistani Sunni extremist group that has targeted Pakistani Shiites in the past, claimed responsibility for this most recent market bombing. A previous attack on January 10 of this year killed 86 mostly Hazaras, Shiite Moslems in Quetta. With this cosmic brew in mind and these bombings, I pictured a dysfunctional couple with one spouse battering the other while both are oblivious to a monster tornado approaching in the background.
One, last, dysfunctional contribution to this most recent cosmic near miss moment for our species. After the Russian meteor did its damage, Mr. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a Russian nationalist leader, blamed the U.S. saying, “It is not a meteor falling. It is the test of a new weapon by the Americans.” Conspiracy theories are so easy and soothing with their power and orderliness while relieving one of having to mess with the complexity of evidence and reality.
So, let us recall that approximately 65 million years ago, a blink in geological time, Earth experienced a mass extinction due to a hit by a cosmic object estimated to be the size of Mount Everest. That ended the entire Mesozoic Era. That extinction, however, may have aided mammal evolution. Many of us have visited or seen photos of the Meteor Crater in Arizona. That meteor and our recent fly-by 2012 DH 14 are estimated to be about the same size. If 2012 DH 14 hits the Earth, as it is on track to do in the “distant” future, “… it will likely explode in our atmosphere, with 1000x the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb,” according to Prof Neil deGrasse Tyson.
For those keeping track of this lethal, cosmic brew there is a distinction drawn between objects large enough to destroy human civilization, but allowing for a possible rebuilding – Can you imagine a rebuilding of civilization? Aren’t we talking millennia?- and those collisions capable of bringing extinction to our species. Again, according to Prof. Tyson, “One twentieth of one percent is the fraction of NASA's budget allocated to locating killer asteroids.” The U.S. plays a leading role in locating these killer asteroids but locating is not dealing with. Humanity presently has no viable means of dealing with these objects. Lot’s of talk and suggestions but nowhere is there any serious, actual program being built, let alone tested, to protect our species.
Instead, our fellow human beings on this vulnerable little planet are blowing each other up for heresy or oil or power or weird conspiracy theories or let’s just say, “booty.” At approximately $9 trillion dollars a year on global military expenditures, what might humanity do globally with an investment to avoid losing civilization or going extinct? Aren’t humans weird? We could prevent going extinct but we instead have heresy to deal with. It’s just amazing that humanity has lasted this long. We must come together, connect the cosmic dots, and for a start simply end war. How about for one year? How about the year 2020? How about supporting 2020 A Year Without War?
Ever bold and challenging, Mother Nature is going to catch our vulnerable little species unprepared, if we do not come together and treat her with respect. There is hope. Take the Russian leadership’s reaction to the meteor near hit. President Vladimir Putin remarked concerning the damage and injures, “We need to think how to help the people and do it immediately.” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, giving a speech at an economics conference in another area of Siberia stated, “This meteor could be a reminder that not only the global economy is vulnerable but the whole planet.” I concur for once with Misters Putin and Medvedev.
Humanity must move beyond its trivial intolerances, xenophobia, rigid ideologies, fear-mongering conspiracy theories and find a soft, safe place for its lunatics. So, let’s retool our military-industrial complex, let’s focus upon the thriving of our species with its inevitable, mutually beneficial, cultural diversity and stop maiming and killing each other. First step, stop war for one year. JOIN, RECRUIT, EDUCATE -A Year Without War.
p.s. Thanks AYWW crew for all you’ve built and accomplished. While my work keeps me traveling constantly through much of the western hemisphere, I always look forward to checking up on you and writing this little blog. I heard my Cosmic Hypocrites article went a bit viral in South Carolina. KEEP GOING! WE can do this!