Happy Earth Day
Like most humans, I love recognizing patterns. The universe is full of them. If you consider our lovely home, Earth, as a living organism then the parallels to a human organism are strikingly similar! So this Earth day I would like to consider how the Earth is like a living organism.
Biology Online says, “Living things are those that display the following characteristics:”
- Requires energy to survive or sustain existence
Compare the Earth to Mars and you will see two very different versions of rocky planets. If Mars, at least from what we see on the surface, can be considered a “dead” planet then that makes the Earth a living one. The Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field protects it from many of the harmful cosmic rays and debris. But sunlight pours through. Sun light is the energy that the planet sustains itself with! Sunlight radiates down to the Earth’s surface and the Earth absorbs that energy then radiates it back into space. This heats our planet (the radiation back to space helps maintain the average temperature) and is the driving force behind weather and climate. If the Sun were to suddenly “go out” life on the planet goes out too and the Earth, over time, would eventually look a lot like Mars.
- Ability to reproduce
Reproduction means that the Earth would be able to produce a copy of itself. Well, if you consider the potential that all life on the planet is a natural byproduct of this type of planet you can then say that the planet grew us (and everything else). In doing so it has created the potential that we can spread out through the solar system (hello Mars and various moons of Saturn) and universe (hello other rocky planets of similar size and distance from host stars) bringing with us the organisms that make the Earth so very special. Picture many centuries from now taking a space cruise to the hottest tourist trap this side of the horse nebula… welcome to Earth 2! You pull into port and see a beautiful planet of blue oceans and lush green forests sustaining many of the same forms of life found on Earth. Could we not then say that the planet has succeed in replicating itself?
- Ability to grow
If a blank sterile planet like mars is considered “dead” and the Earth “living” then the ability to grow is apparent as the Earth has grown a wonderful beard of life and wears it proudly. So for this analogy we can consider all of the life on the planet as its growth. We wear our guts on the inside (living heart cells, lung cells, blood cells, etc. all working together in harmony and individually); well maybe the planet wears its guts on the living organisms all over its surface and outer most layers are its versions of liver cells, kidney cells, and so forth…. For this analogy please consider growth of life of life on this planet when looked at over hundreds of millions of years
- Ability to metabolize
Metabolizing means the ability to change food into a form that can be used by the body. If sunlight is the food, then there are many mechanisms apparent on the planet to turn that energy that the living planet can make use of to sustain life.; leaves undergoing photosynthesis being the most obvious.
- Ability to respond to stimuli
Can the planet get out of the way of a meteor or fight off a spreading cancer of hyper-polluting species? No. But, if we consider the collection of life on the surface as an extension of the planet, it certainly can and does.
- Ability to adapt to the environment
Spanning the last 500-600 million years I think the evidence is pretty clear for the way our planet (through its various life form extensions) have slowly, over generations, adapted to the environment of Space and the planets own dynamics. Furthermore the surface of the planet over time has become what it needs to be depending on the environmental pressures.
- Ability to move
Everything on this planet is in movement. The continents themselves are moving at an average pace of 2cm per year. (Google Pangaea!) Furthermore, he collection of living organisms that make up the Earth all move in our own way. Depending on what level of taxonomy you want to focus on you can classify the movements many different ways from the larger collections down to individual movements. But there is no doubt that the planet Earth has movements that the planet Mars does not, including continental drift.
- Ability to respire
The Earth breathes! There are cycles of carbon where you can see the planet inhaling and exhaling over the seasons.
- An organized structure, being made up of a cell or cells
All of the living organisms on the planet are the various cells, humans included, making up the larger organism of the Earth. Maybe the cell functions aren’t as clearly defined as they are in other living organisms where we can see the purpose of each component. But then again purpose is a human concept and maybe the purpose of all the organisms of the Earth is simply beyond our current understanding.
If you have to apply a role then surely humans are the brains. And like any brain, we are capable of helping or hurting ourselves. Consciousness is a heck of a thing but it does not guarantee anything as far as being used only for good. As such it is important to review what we are thinking about and how we talk to ourselves and so forth. By including the Earth in our thoughts as if we are one and the same with it, how would that change the way we interact with Mother Earth? Would we treat her any differently? Would we be more courteous to the planet? What rights would we extend to the planet and what would change?
Positivity means getting better. Are we capable of achieving our every increasing energy goals and sustenance needs while at the same time leaving this planet better than we found it? I wholeheartedly believe the answer is YES!
The first sutra of the Aquarian Age states, “recognize that the other person is me”… This Earth Day Let us recognize that the Earth is We!