OUR FRAGILE PLANET.
Flying recently on a long flight, I looked out the plane window and saw amazingly beautiful views of the land below. It also looked extremely fragile and small. High up in the air, we don’t see any conflicts, there are no terrorist acts, no wars, no destruction. We can’t see any people from this height. If we imagine even aliens descending on Earth, let alone huge masses of humans migrating to and from countries, we still cannot see any racial or religious differences. All we can see from such an altitude are pretty little towns, rivers, forests and mountains, all through a haze of clouds. Then, as the plane climbs higher, they are all lost under the white blanket and we are all alone in the air steadily moving to our destination, whatever that may be. I remember from history that back in the 1970’s, there were so many weapons of destruction accumulated by many countries that, our teachers told us, the whole planet could be exploded a hundred times in succession.
I always thought that once was enough.
What can save our fragile planet and humanity from self-destruction? There is a saying, Beauty will save the world. Alas, today it doesn’t look like beauty is enough. Education and science, mutual understanding, tolerance, cooperation may do the trick. We talked a little with a flight attendant while I was stretching my legs. She asked me what we were doing, and I told her we were scientists – researchers. Then I asked her if she believed in science and its power to establish relative order and to assure progress. She smiled and said, “We are flying, aren’t we? Without science and research, there would be no planes, no flights, no real connections between people and countries. Science is everywhere!” That was a good attitude, a wise outlook and quite a revelation. So it is possible for people not directly engaged in science and research to understand their uses, and to appreciate their great role in the whole history of our planet.