Final Silence

[I am working on an idea for a book. The idea has been hanging in my mind for years now. What is below is a Forward I have written for possible use. I thought I would share it in case the book does not get written.]

Astronomers tell us there are a billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. They tell us there are a billion galaxies. These are numbers beyond human comprehension. We cannot conceive of where the ends and the beginnings are or if they are.

Yet, here we are on what astronauts have shown us to be a beautiful, blue water planet floating in the infinity of space and orbiting around our Sun somewhere near the edge of our galaxy. We have no idea whether life, as we know it, exists anywhere else in infinity. We only guess. As far as we now know, there is no place else for our species to go. We, and the millions of other species that live with us and beside us, call Earth our home.

If we believe in God, then we must believe our home is a sacred place and a blessed gift from the Divine. It really does not matter whether we believe the Universe and Earth were created in seven days or in billions of years. Here we are. Here is now.

A curious thought crosses my mind. This is there is no sound in space. The gigantic explosions and nebulae we see with our visual or radio telescopes are silent. On Earth, we know the beauty of sound in rustling leaves blown by the breezes, in the call of birds on wing, the rolling of waves on the beach, and the crunching of dried leaves under our feet in the autumn, the sound of a water fall, of music, of voices and even of whales in the ocean. I wonder whether this will always be or whether Earth will at some time become a part of the Final Silence.

The gift of Earth to us is precious, yet we go about our daily lives behaving as if it were indestructible and limitless of resources, wildlife, fertile lands for crops, and infinite space for concrete and asphalt. Our human mantra is “growth and development” at any cost. It is expansion and domination and control. Rachael Carson poignantly pointed out in “Silent Spring” that mankind is a part of the biosphere which is beyond our control. She talked about being in balance with Nature. Dr. Durward Allen, wildlife ecologist, taught conservation of all natural resources, living and non-living, for the greatest good for the most people for the longest time. John Muir and Henry David Thoreau and countless others described the wonder of it all.

It is our sacred duty to protect and defend planet Earth from harm whether it be from within or without. Our lives and the lives of those that follow depend upon this.

According to some, the Earth has nurtured our kind for over 2 million years. She has given water, shelter, and food to countless generations like a mother to her children. Now she grieves. In the race for technology and with burgeoning numbers, we have lost connection to the Earth in consciousness and spirit. We take and take and take. We create poisons and wastes we spread on the land and water and in air. We even now tamper with the very core of life in the race for more and more. We pass to the next generation a nature that is less than we inherited. For many species, we have already created the final silence. The pace quickens.

Man has come a long way since the beginning of existence to the present. But, we are at a time now of unprecedented population growth and resource consumption, both of which continue their upward paths toward a point where Earth resources cannot forever sustain life, particularly human life, at such levels. If overshoot is great enough and the Earth’s life support systems are fatally damaged, we will inevitably ourselves reach the Final Silence.

Scientists believe there is still time for the way back. It is through leaders willing to put planet over personal gain. It is through the few who now hear voices from the past with the message that all of Creation is sacred. It is for warriors who will not be intimidated, defeated, or silenced. If we do not listen……..

To Albert Schweitzer who said…..

Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the Earth” (a quote used in Silent Spring)

And Albert Einstein who said…….

“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man.”

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About Kent Blacklidge Ph.D.

As part of a newspaper family who owned a 34,000 daily newspaper in the heart of the Midwest, I have a passion for a strong “Fourth Estate”, the press. Without a diligent and assertive free press, the power would be taken from the people. People have the absolute right to know. After earning a degree in Industrial Management from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue, I spent over 20 years in newspaper management with several as publisher. I am also holder of three graduate science degrees including a Ph.D.. I have a passionate interest in science and the environment. I have little tolerance for ignorance and stupidity.
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