An Essay.

All apologies to Audrey who wrote this essay. She originally wrote it for the blog-a-thon, back in December ’06, and unfortunately it fell through the cracks. Thanks go to Joel, though, for finding a home for the essay here, on Celebrating Sagan.

Ten years ago, the world lost a great man, astronomer, and teacher. Last month, Dr. Carl Sagan would have celebrated his 72nd birthday. I often wonder, if he had lived to see today, what he would think about the state of our world. I can only imagine the look of disappointment in his eyes, upon seeing our flimsy world held up by the hands of reckless politicians who attempt to prop up it up with nuclear weapons – the same politicians who have threatened our existence with their negligence, minimizing or flat out ignoring issues of global warming. Where are the necessary CO2 emission standards? Of course, it is far more convenient for our generation to ignore the issue of global warming due to it’s gradual process (just as the evolutionary process of man is) which will affect future generations. By ignoring the growing problem, we are sentencing our children and grandchildren to a grim fate.

Why is it that most people are only willing to give attention to the acute issues of national and/or global security? Is the American public so short-sighted and selfish that we’ll allow our world to crumble, so long as it doesn’t happen within our lifetimes? For those people who question or ignore such unsettling truths, from where, I wonder, does their skepticism originate? Perhaps, just as many do with organized religion, people find comfort in that which is convenient.

Dr. Carl Sagan, a man who was deeply interested in the nature of all things, fought very hard to convey the urgent message to the public concerning our threatened existence, relating to the increasing number of nuclear weapons being produced, and those countries who have ownership over them – including the U.S. Which raises another question: why do we feel so entitled? Why should we, and only we be able to have nuclear weapons? Are we really so sane and trustworthy?

Carl also stressed the importance of our government’s involvement in regulating the number of CO2 emissions into our atmosphere. Without the United States intervention, as we are the leading contributor in this issue, our temperatures will continue to rise in relation to the number of CO2 particles in our atmosphere, unleashing a global disaster.

More than anything, Carl often spoke of the importance of realizing that all human beings are one – born of the stars; one species, one family, and from the cosmic perspective, undivided by countries, political parties, religion, or race.

If we hope to live to see tomorrow so that we will be able to continue to learn more about ourselves, our world, and the infinite mysteries of the universe, as Carl hoped we would, we must come together and realize that there is a more worthy cause we all should be fighting for: the continuing existence of mankind.

We seem to have a purpose after all, and according to Carl, a spectacular one. We are, after all, “a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

Let’s honor him by listening to his message, and come together to take action.

“Our small planet, at this moment, here we face a critical point in history. What we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants. It is well within our power to destroy our civilization and perhaps our species as well. If we capitulate to superstition or greed or stupidity, we can plunge our world into a darkness deeper than the time between the collapse of classical civilization and the Italian renaissance. But we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. To enhance enormously our understanding of the universe, and to carry us to the stars.”

-Carl Sagan, 1980.
from the series “Cosmos,” (A Journey Through Space and Time.)