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Sunday
Dec152013

What Does Conservation Mean to You?

What exactly does the term conservation evoke? In this day and age of going green we hear many buzzwords such as renewable energy, waste reduction, and so on. All things considered, including the ground beneath our feet, the world’s resources are much more limited than what many of us realize.

Consider that if the Sun’s size was represented by a basketball, the Earth’s size relative to it would be a tiny pellet about 2.2 millimeters in size. (This is about 0.0866142 inches so we’ll stick with metric for the very small.) Using this scale how far would our little pellet be from the basketball relative to the distance from the Earth to the Sun? I don’t have access to NASA’s resources on this but I would say pretty far. Just kidding. I have an idea.

What would you say? If you placed a basketball on the ground and held a little pellet between your fingers how far would you have to walk away to represent the distance of the Earth from the Sun? 5 feet? 10 feet?

This is a loose comparison but on the scale of our Sun down to the size of a basketball, one inch would equal approximately 91,000 miles. This would put the 2.2-millimeter pellet about 86 feet from the basketball. I have heard similar comparisons with the scale of a foot equaling a million miles meaning that similarly sized spheres would be about 93 feet apart given that the Sun is on average (varying in orbit) about 93 million miles away. 

So, if you can imagine taking a basketball or a bowling ball out to a parking lot, pacing out 93 feet from it, and then setting down a little BB pellet on the ground; that would give you some representation of how we are literally just hanging out there.

Regarding how small our world really is, consider that most people presume that the entire Earth is friendly to human existence and that is not true. If you were dropped in a bathing suit, or in your birthday suit as in the case of some new reality shows, haphazardly anywhere on the Earth most of the places that you would land on you would be dead in no time at all. You would likely be frozen, asphyxiated, or drowned in vast amounts of water if hypothermia didn’t get you first. There are only so many places on Earth that are beach weather friendly.

So, what exactly do we do with what livable space we have on our little pellet? For starters we divide up the land with imaginary lines. Then, after we divide everyone up in these boundaries, we divide up those groups by social class, race, and here it comes, what different things we all believe.

I find it ironic that three of our major religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam; all pretty much share the same origins in terms of ancient texts and the same holy land but somehow always seem to be at odds. These ancient religious texts were written by men thousands of years ago who didn’t know anything about the world. In fact, our comparison of the Sun to a basketball is far more than they ever imagined. Yet, we are perfectly willing to hate and kill each other over the ancient tenants that they wrote. The same goes for the fighting over the holy land.

The holy land? What exactly is that? Remember that little pellet between your fingers? That’s it. That’s the holy land because it is all we have. Every inch of our Earth is our home and very precious.

If we are lucky in life, 70 or 80 some odd trips around the basketball riding on the little pellet are all we get. This is out of billions of trips the Earth continually makes around the Sun.  Saying that life is short is not a cliché but a monumental understatement.

Maybe instead of worrying so much about what everyone else believes we should realize that we all share an incredible oneness. Every atom in our bodies and every piece of dust in our living room are composed of elements forged in the furnaces of the universe. None of us comes from a better set of elements than anyone else. Genesis is curiously very scientifically prophetic when it states, “…for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we spent more time helping each other enjoy as many trips around the Sun as possible? That’s what conservation means to me.

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