Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Viable Planet

I had this odd thought after reading some Newsweek article about how heart cell death is often sped on its way by the reinfusion of oxygen. I was thinking about the body and its system of cells, and organs, and the individual composed by them. Then by this sense that the body is designed to both burn and produce energy. That energy drives our lives, even at the level of the cell. We are each this complex construction of a network of different energy production systems.

That we live our lives burning the body's energy and creating waste byproducts. Then our bodies die.

The planet, our activities on it, our drive to produce machines and new machines seemed then to mimic the life cycle of the body itself--the body projected, writ large, on the world. There's so much now circulating on blogs, in newspapers, on TV, and other media outlets about reducing carbon footprints, etc. And these are of course worthy and noble ideas.

So much of our energy consumption, the machines that burn the energy, the extraction of the energy base substance from the ground, so much of it is under our control, a part of our own exploration/exploitation of the planet.

I am deeply in favor of slowing down energy consumption, of trying to reduce what we're doing to the planet. But is the planet indefinitely "sustainable"? Or is it like our bodies--fed and mined for its energy, so we might burn it. Is the planet like an extension of our bodies--something that is thrust into motion, and in doing so, sustaining that motion, must burn energy and produce waste products? How do we change the paradigm of the planet? Are we the earth's cellular structure--we reproduce, produce new cells that make up part of what makes this a viable planet? Can we live without the energy resources of this planet? Is this planet dying a slow death, accelerated slightly by our ever increasing needs?

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