This is Earth, third planet from Sol. Blue and white, heart-breakingly serene. Home to seven billion-plus humans, so far as we currently know, the only sentient beings in the universe. Home, also, to millions of species of plants and animals, insects and microbes, connected in a complex web of inter-related life that our science is only just beginning to fully understand.
This is a familiar image for us now, our planet as seen from space. From orbit, or from further out in the solar system, the problems of the people who inhabit the surface of that beautiful orb seem small, distant. The astronauts who have stared at the Earth from their capsules or from the dusty plains of the moon confirm that political squabbles, economic downturns, even wars between countries seem petty and insignificant in the sight of that big, blue ball spinning in the black night. Home to all of us together.
Here below we are battered and bruised by a long and corrosive political campaign at home; by unceasing war on several fronts overseas; by racial and religious divisions, economic stagnation, environmental assault everywhere. It is nearly impossible to gain perspective in our public discourse, or in our day-to-day interactions with others.
But look again. From out there the view is very different.
I would ask all our newly elected officials, from the U.S. President-elect and members of Congress down to the lowliest dog-catcher in the smallest town in the middle of nowhere, to consider this image of our world. I would ask those given the task of directing the most powerful nation in the world to remember that they lead on behalf of not just the strongest among us, but the weakest, too. That their actions affect not just those that supported them, but those that opposed them, and those that had no say in our elections at all—the rest of the billions of our beautiful, blue planet.
The one that is home to us all.