We’ve finally done it. We’ve crossed barren landscapes, plodded craters and stepped on the moon. We’ve walked on meteors, seen the sun rise on the other side and touched the stars. We've traveled past the lithosphere, across the ionosphere and left the Earth's atmosphere at gaping speeds.
And now, now we’re going to colonize. We’re going to take people to Mars. We’re taking pioneers, explorers and anyone who just can’t stand to be on Earth for one more day.
We’re going to begin anew, start fresh and give ourselves another shot, another planet. We will be space people, aliens, citizens of Mars. We will learn to live on the craters and the dust, with new sunrises and sunsets.
Yet amidst all the excitement and adventure, I must ask, why are we trying to start a new planet when we can’t even figure out our own?
Why are we going to inhabit another world, another chance at life, when we don’t know how to take care of this one? When did it become okay to destroy one planet then jump to the next? Why do we think we have the right to go to Mars when we don’t even know how to live on Earth?
We’ve not only destroyed the landscape of our mother planet, but killed our people, starved our children and murdered the innocent. We’ve enslaved our brothers and raped our sisters.
We’ve dropped bombs, mass produced guns and tortured our prisoners. But beyond the sheer destruction and killing, we’ve forgotten how to take care of our planet and one another on it.
We have 3 billion people living in poverty and nearly 1 billion people don’t know how to read. Over 1 billion people don’t have access to water and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation; 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized, while 3.34 million are living with HIV/AIDS.
Meanwhile, the wealthiest 20 percent of the world account for 76.6 percent of total private consumption, and the poorest fifth, just 1.5 percent.
One of every two children lives in poverty and 640 million live without adequate shelter. There are 270 million people who live without access to health services and 121 million without education.
Half of the world’s wealthiest bodies are corporations and 1 percent of the revenue from weapon sales around the world could educate every child on Earth, yet we still have millions without access to education.
This doesn’t even scrape the surface of what we do to our own Earth, the terrain that shelters us and nourishes us. We’ve dumped oil and waste into our oceans, cut down billions of our trees every year and have filled the ground with our trash.
We’ve suffocated animals with our plastic bags and cut them with metal cans. We’ve put smog in the air and filth in our oceans, melted the glaciers and pumped the beaches with chemicals. We’ve wasted, polluted and destroyed the world that was given to us and now we want to do it to another one?
I understand that if this Earth is no longer inhabitable, we should try and find another place to live; however, before we do that, we must atone for our actions.
We must prove to ourselves, and one another, that we are worthy of trying again, that we’ve learned from our mistakes and understand how to begin anew, the right way.
Right now, I don’t think we’re there yet. I think we have a lot to learn before we can say that we’re ready for a second chance.
We have to figure out gun laws, prostitution, rape, murder and poverty. We must solve illiteracy and find a cure for AIDS. We have to figure out how to get water to people on Earth before somewhere as complicated and unknown as Mars.
We have to learn how to control overpopulation and crowding and understand the causes for Alzheimer’s and cancer. We need to stop the bullying and the misogyny, the hate and the racism. We need to learn to live together as brother and sister, man and woman, citizen and citizen before we can ever live together, alien to alien.