Our New Perspective

We have just celebrated the remarkable and heroic journey of the astronauts who landed on the moon fifty years ago. Just a few months before that, Apollo 8 had taken the first humans out of Earth orbit and around the moon. As they re-emerged from the far side of the moon, after the agonizing moments when communication with Earth was impossible, they saw, for the first time, the amazing phenomenon of ‘Earth Rise’. Our small, exquisitely beautiful globe of green, blue and white, rising above the surface of the moon. No wonder the astronauts read the first verses of Genesis to an awe-struck Earth on that Christmas Eve orbiting the moon!

This was the image that gave us the chance to see the world and ourselves from a new and powerful perspective: small, delicate, self-contained, in balance with the universe.

Sailing around the world, I felt a similar perspective: that however vast and frightening the oceans sometimes seemed, the world is actually very small; and however powerful and dangerous the winds and waves, our climate is very delicately balanced. 

It is also full of abundant, natural, clean energy. Sailing towards the Fastnet Rock this summer in a Force 7 gale, I am sure I had all the power at my fingertips on the helm of a F1 racing driver! It was thrilling!

Yet for all these perspectives, we are still treating our world as if it were an infinite sewer. We pour toxins and CO2 into the air, as if the atmosphere can dispose of them freely on our behalf, and we pour plastics and pollutants into our rivers and oceans as if they are infinitely able to neutralize them without nature being harmed.

Some how we have not made the link between our behaviours, consumption and lifestyles and the consequences these have on our small and delicate planetary vessel. It is time to connect things up. We vote with every purchase we make. Voting to be part of the supply chain that brought us that food, those clothes, that product, that energy, and voting to be part of the chain that recycles, disposes or pollutes after we have used it.

Nothing goes away. The only things that have ever left our planet are some amazing Voyager space craft and the LEM modules still sitting on the moon. Everything else is still with us; with consequences, if not for us, then for our children and grandchildren.

Earthrise taken by William Anders Apollo 8