Stewardship.

The responsibilities of parents include a great deal more than being stewards of their children's present and future development, but also includes that of their children's future in the world and of the world itself, a future in which their children, grown into adults, will separate from their parents and eventually live in a world in which their parents are absent. 

In the history of the world the notion of stewardship has had little of the vital attention it urgently requires focussed upon it. There is a vast difference between ownership and stewardship and that difference embraces the exploitation of resources against the husbanding of resources. It is only now, over the late 20th century and into the early 21st century that the necessity of stewardship rather than exploitation is beginning (beginning, mark you) to be addressed. 

The Earth is a closed system and the resources contained therein are finite. No matter how big the Earth may look and feel to us, it has only so much it can give us in terms of natural resources, food and all that is required to sustain life.

We require sustenance in order to survive, in nurturing the lives of ourselves and our children, it is now incumbent upon us to apply those same standards of care planet wide, to the ecosystem we globally call home. 

It is our responsibility as tenants and stewards to address these issues, something that politicians and corporations are singularly reluctant to do, where both are locked into short term gains at the cost of long term sustainability and survival. 

It is a legal principle that ignorance of the law excuses no one. Yet human development has routinely ignored the laws of nature, that we cannot endlessly exploit a closed system. Once the gas and oil, the trees and the oceans are used up how do we intend to sustain ourselves and the future lives of our children? Ignoring the problem and remaining ignorant of it will brook no excuse from our environment, without malice or intent. The decline of our environment will mean our own inevitable decline. As uncomfortable as that idea is, it is inescapable. 

Any idea that the answers to our growing problems might come from space, or in space travel, need to be realistically addressed. In a nutshell, the answers are not out there. The resources required to get into space are too vast for us to consider it a place to visit other than for the privileged few. Even if we could consider sending those few to the stars, we have no way to do it. Although the nearest star (Proxima Centauri) to us is 4.2 light years away, to effectively explore the universe we would need to travel hundreds and thousands of light years.
Proxima Centauri would take 4.2 years to reach traveling at the speed of light (299,792,458 metres per second, approximately 186,282 miles per second). Voyager 1, is traveling at 62,000 kilometers per hour (39,000 mph). Even at that tremendous speed itís painfully slow when interstellar distances are involved. Voyager 1 would take over 17,000 years to get Proxima Centuari. Star travel remains firmly fixed only in the minds of science fiction writers and fantasists and we, the residents of spaceship Earth, must remain with our feet firmly planted here and seek solutions here. 

There is some debate about global warming and whether we have a planetary problem at all. This is something of an intuitive no brainer, it makes no sense not to act as stewards and carers of this place that is every way our home and which will remain so for any identifiable future. To use that famous Star Trek expression, to boldly go where no one has gone before, is to boldly embrace the stewardship of our planet and not gaze wistfully at the stars for answers. 

Reference material.

Welcome to the machine

© 2011 Keith Lindsay-Cameron.