A couple days ago, on a camping trip in the Alabama Hills, we all sat in silence in the pitch-black and looked at the stars. Seeing the hundreds of shining dots of light scattered in the sky was breathtaking; yet, some part of me felt a morsel of sadness. In order to see these stars, it was a four-hour drive from the small town I live in and a seven-hour drive from the nearest large city. In Las Vegas, LA, or even just in my backyard, I can look up and see no stars and no moon, just black.
There are 40 billion stars in the Triangular Galaxy, 100 billion stars in the Whirlpool Galaxy, 250 billion stars in the Milky Way, and 1 trillion starts in the Andromeda galaxy. In the universe, there is an estimated 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars; yet, due to human-caused factors, such as light pollution, only 5,000 stars are visible to the human eye across the world.
The average star is 109.1 times larger than Earth and the largest star is 32,730 times larger than the planet we live on. It’s also ten million times brighter than our sun.
These stars are so much larger than our earth; yet, in America alone, over 80% of the population is unable to see them.
You may wonder, so what? Why does this matter?
Here’s why it matters to me:
Every star I see reminds me of how small I am, how small you are, and how small the human population is. Nowadays, so many people view themselves as giant. Humans kill other animals, destroy the wilderness, and essentially destroy our elves with how we treat our planet (climate change, over population, the list goes on).
I should stop saying how we treat our planet; it’s how we treat the planet. Humans don’t own it; it is not something that we can claim as ours or threaten until it gives in. No, Earth is a powerful force of nature being affected by the billions of small, ant-like creatures called humans who live on it. It is not ours; it is not ours to destroy. So, humanity, please stop fucking acting like it is.
Humans are not the biggest force to be reckoned with; we aren’t gods. Our current superiority does not give us the right to kill everything in our path. One day, a meteor will hit; a black hole will swallow the earth; countries will fire nuclear bombs and wipe out all life; the global warming we caused will result in an atmosphere unsustainable for all life; or, just like the dinosaurs, an astroid will hit. Even if all life on Earth just magically disappeared, the planets would keep spinning, the suns would keep burning, and the stars would keep shining.
Whenever you can, look at the sky and stars. Remember we are small, but, even though we are small, we have the power to protect this planet we call Earth.
One thought on “Stargazing”
Love this. The lessons of “Ishmael” come to mind. Thank you for the reminder.