It’s time to take a look at the state of affairs of our Inventory of the Universe. What is humankind’s impact on our planet Earth and beyond?
If you have followed our travelers from Inventory of the Universe, Volume I of The Explanation, you are no doubt ready for a brief relaxing pause before embarking on the journey of the state of affairs of our surroundings in the pages that follow.
(Audit of the Universe, Preface)
To begin our interlude, as I chat with Galacti: The other night, I happened on a TV program about migrating birds and a must-stop on their South to North flight, in Eilat, Israel. There, Good Samaritans are trying to provide a haven for the birds) after a 1500 to 3000 km journey across a foodless, waterless, harsh, searing and unforgiving Sahara Desert.
Majestic eagles waiting for the sun to allow the desert heat to create thermal updrafts, then circling effortlessly as the warm air helps them ascend so high they can’t be seen by the naked eye, then gliding for miles and miles until they zero in on another thermal which again whisks them aloft into the altitudes. Powerful birds barely batting their wings, saving energy, using nature, covering some 300 km per day.
The peregrine falcon, sometimes called the duck hawk, uses convection currents to rise into the gulf stream air passage and travel at over 300km per hour! Structurally the bird has to have wings, muscles, lungs, and metabolism, down to the last detail, all engineered for this dangerous mission.
The same program pointed out how bird watching has soared to new heights through emitters attached harmlessly to these flying wonders. Equipped with GPS, movement measurement, memory, and sophisticated transmission, the devices make it possible to know where the birds are and what they’re doing every ten minutes. Reams of data for tracking purposes useful, amongst other things, during concentrated migration periods, as birds can be a substantial threat to aviation.
Galacti nods in agreement as I talk about the wonder of nature and technology, the natural world and human know-how, the clash or concord of Earth’s environment, and human-made equipment.
Ponder the pride of majestic lions that sleep 20 hours a day and siafu ants traveling in colonies of 20 million with jaws so strong that in emergency medical circumstances, they have been used to replace stitches to close a wound; these are instinctive killers. Yet, they only stake out the territory they need; they’ve never taken over a neighborhood, let alone a country. In the natural habitat, there’s always equilibrium.
Not so, when we introduce the Human equation.
Today, as never before, with a world population expanding exponentially, wherever humankind steps, it leaves its trace, even managing to turn majestic Mount Everest into a garbage dump. What is our planetary environmental state of affairs?
In Inventory of the Universe, we turned over all the pieces of the puzzle, from A (atmosphere) to Z (zoology), from the most massive most impenetrable galaxies in the universe to the minutest now confirmed Higgs Boson particle revealed by the LHC particle accelerator in Switzerland. From the inorganic minerals to flora and fauna life, down to Humankind’s body and mind. We opened our eyes to survey our incredible inventory.
Together on our odyssey, we travelers have completed the inventory, and although it’s a hostile place outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, we agree that it’s spectacular and enticing. That for us humans, the air we breathe and the water we drink are just right for our needs. Earth is a very hospitable place to live, providing us with all the greenery and animals we could ever need for our sustenance, development, enjoyment, and wonderment.
Yes, we have all the pieces to do with our universe; we know what we’re working with. It’s time to see the interplay between these pieces. The impact of one on the other, with a particular emphasis on humankind’s role, after all, by whatever design, it is the main instigator on this planet. We have to take a look at our effect on our environment. But we need to go further. How does humankind function? How is humankind organized? How does humanity interact?
Galacti wants to know: What is the state of affairs?
Some readers may be wondering: how do we decide? What are our criteria? Fair warning: yes, this is going to be subjective. We have only so much space so that we can include only so many examples; I have to make a choice. On the other hand, that’s also the reason I’ve decided to self-publish this work, allowing for ongoing edits and additions as well as using the power and unlimited memory of the internet to be able to include reader contributions.
As people are more and more mobile and information shoots around the globe, it accumulates and is shaped, interpreted, and edited on websites and apps (Facebook, Twitter). In essence, we will, of course, talk about this event when we talk about the institutions of the world, of which the internet is one.
Likewise, the state of affairs of our planet is anything but immobile; it evolves each day all around the world.
Therefore The Explanation welcomes creative, constructive contributions or articles and references to other works to enhance comprehension of all the pieces of the puzzle. A combined input of reliable information from various sources brings us a better awareness of what is.
In browsing the social media and in talking to people in my travels, I find everybody believes there are both wondrous and awful events going on simultaneously around us; that the proverbial glass is both half full and half empty. The squabbling is over the tendency: is it getting fuller or emptier? Are we getting better-off or worse-off? In this argument, we can and do use statistics, observations, examples to push home our feelings; this is where subjectivity enters the scene.
And where there’s subjectivity, there’s divergence and discord, “your ideas are as good as mine.” And the deceptive adage “there’s no right or wrong.” Enter conflict, controversy, and tension, which can lead to ill feelings, outright hostility, and rigid extremism.
But, on the other hand, can anyone stay neutral? My feeling is that there’s some good, some bad. Some would say it’s always been that way, and we’re going to continue like that ad infinitum. That is a way of looking at it, but it’s a cop-out; after all, you know whether you’re drinking from or pouring your favorite beverage into the glass.
Likewise, in Volume 2, Audit of the Universe, we’ll see the tendency of the glass, getting fuller or emptier. Likewise with Volume 3, Audit of Humankind. Some readers will agree, others will disagree, so what I’d like to say here is this, that starting with Volume 4, Origin of the Universe, I’ll explain WHY the glass has the tendency it does and what humankind’s role in this tendency is. The purpose of The Explanation is to put the whole puzzle together.
Volume 2 is Audit of the Universe. Evaluating where we are at the beginning of the 21st century is just that, an assessment, a measurement of where Earth and its inhabitants are. It does not yet explain how Earth got that way, why it is that way, or where Earth and humankind are going from there. It is merely a spot check. But, to give The Explanation of the how, why, and where, we must first assess the state of affairs of our inventory.
Let’s begin our audit of the universe.
This post is an excerpt from the Preface of the book Audit of the Universe.
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