Yesterday, Time magazine had a little item tucked into its pages saying Stephen Hawking believes we have about 100 years to find a new planet to call home before global warming makes Earth uninhabitable. Such a little piece, such a big story. Well, unless you don’t believe in global warming. (I do.) Or you don’t believe in science. (I do.) Or you don’t think Stephen Hawking is all that smart. (He’s a genius, one of a handful of the most brilliant minds in the world.)
This little fact about global warming chills me. 100 years isn’t that long. And our new president doesn’t believe in global warming or spending money or resources on trying to stop rapid climate change. He’s already overturned, or is in the process of overturning, just about all the safeguards Obama put in place to clean up Earth and reverse climate change.
100 years. I have a new grand baby coming next month. She’ll be my third, the first girl in our family in generations. My mom was the only girl, I was her only girl, and I had two sons, no girls. Then my sons (or rather their wives!) each had babies, both boys. So we’ve been waiting awhile for this little lady. In her lifetime, with all the health and medical advances, she may expect to live to age 100 and beyond. But will she be able to afford the ticket to Mars or wherever humanity will go once our own planet is uninhabitable? I’m thinking of my grandsons, too. They’re still toddlers. Will they be the last generation of children born on Earth?
This world can be a terrible place to live. Famine, genocide, war. But it is also beautiful: meadows, sea, sky. Skyscrapers, medical miracles, love. You. Me. Everybody else. And obviously it’s the only planet we’ve got. For about a hundred years, if Hawking got the science right. I have great faith in science and scientific genius, so I feel that the chances are good when Hawking says 100 years, he’s not kidding.
I’m disturbed and upset, but part of me wonders if his warning will change anything. Is there hope for us if we start to clean up our act right now? Because as far as I know, nobody’s really looking seriously at moving the entire population of this planet to Mars. And I’m betting if we do find somewhere to go, the price of a ticket will be beyond the means of most people. I see the rich people packing their diamonds and furs, but what about everybody else?