What I Really Want (George Drake)

Someone sent me a link to an internet site the other day on which some young kids were, among other things, selling plots of land on Mars. Another good friend recently characterized me as “wanting to go to Mars.”
At first, I didn’t spend a lot of time on the Mars real estate site because it looked like a scam to me. But I realized the sender (to me) was responsible, so I gave it a closer look and now think it might have some promise, for the backers are well-known and respectable. And how do you discount an offer for land on Mars? After all, the King of England had no claim at all to North America when he started divvying it up to the highest bidders. None other than being King and, quite demonstrably, as it turned out, having a good chance of actually making the theft of a continent stick. But it seems much less likely, even where there are no natives to repel potential invaders, that these two kids in the introductory video will ever be positioned to claim ownership of the land they’re asking people to buy. Well, except for the backing of two heavyweights, Google and Virgin. See http://www.google.com/virgle/index.html and let me know what you think.
As for my “wanting to go to Mars,” I was very disappointed at that characterization from someone who knows me full too well to make the mistake. I don’t want to go to Mars. Even if I get what I want, I won’t be involved–ever–in any attempt to physically leave Earth. I’m too old, my friends, and wouldn’t go tomorrow if it were safe. I love it here.
I’d love it if “here” could always be here. What I want is to have this planet remain no more spoiled than it already is. I’ve been one of the most fortunate of my peers, as I’ve spent almost all my life living within walking distance of a National Forest. A forest in the U.S. Plus I’ve never been in a war zone in my life. Peers, schmeers. I’m one of the most fortunate of all the people on Earth. What I’d really like, though, would be to see Earth returned to what it was before man perfected agriculture.
But I’m not going to get either of those two. Earth will never return to the past, nor can it remain even so well as it is today. And, of course, even if my great grandchildren were to see a world in which the degradation were halted, I’d never see it, for it’s going to take more time than I’ve got left. But I would like it. I want it, and I’d love to see it. But it isn’t going to be.
But, no, I don’t want to go to Mars. No way. I want to save Gaia’s life. And the only way I believe that can happen is if some of Us–any of the Gaians–succeed in going to Mars. I don’t want to go there, it’s just that I think that’s the only place We have a chance of getting to before Earth will no longer support Gaia. “We” in the largest of senses–to include any living creature. “Get to” in the sense of “sustainable.” Sustainable forever, without assistance from Earth.
For Gaia will not survive here. She will die if confined much longer on this planet, and we are the trigger, already pulled, on the weapon of Her destruction. “Not survive” in the sense of none of her parts. Like the cells on the corpse of any dead creature everything alive on Gaia will cease to be so.
I want to prevent that. Or, more accurately in view of the impossibility of my ever knowing whether I’ve even begun to mobilize public opinion enough to have that effect, what I want is to get the idea that all this is even possible out there before I die. That way, people might yet be able to see what’s coming in time to get some of Us off.
I hope I’m not just being overly optimistic in thinking that, if I do see movement, maybe we still have a chance. Maybe it’ll at least be close.
But one of the most difficult parts of my “ministry,” as it were, is the prevalent impression that even contemplating the idea that mankind’s activities could result in the death of the entire planet is absurd.

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