This may not be the best time to contact you, but waiting may only make things worse. Since we’re your first neighbors in the galaxy to make contact, we hope you’ll consider us a...
This may not be the best time to contact you, but waiting may only make things worse. Since we’re your first neighbors in the galaxy to make contact, we hope you’ll consider us a welcoming committee with a warning. We’ve hacked into all your major channels of communication to transmit our message in every human language. We do not want to go through “official channels” or speak only with your corrupt rulers. We want our words to reach everyone.
We come from a remote handful of living planets and moons scattered across this galaxy. We are a network of galactic gardeners who nurture life by sharing our stories, experiences, knowledge, and ideas. We offer each other encouragement, constructive criticism, advice, and hard-won wisdom. But unfortunately, the vast distance between our worlds deprives us of the joy of actually meeting face-to-face. We’ve decided to contact you because we cherish life everywhere we find it – and life on your planet is in grave danger.
You inhabit an astounding planet. It supports a living tapestry of great vibrancy and splendor. We’ve witnessed Earth-life evolve for eons. Because you are such a young, impetuous species, we’ve refrained from contacting you. We did not know how making contact would affect you, since your awareness remains fractured by conflicts between the powerful rich and the powerless poor; as well as between nations, races, and religions. But we felt compelled to act because your carbon-addicted way of life has made you a threat to yourself and the magnificent biosphere that made you.
Your consciousness has yet to reach the level of holistic awareness and life-preserving empathy so essential for you to become a vital part of your biosphere’s immune system. We hoped this was the path you were on since your ecological sciences and some of your spiritual beliefs extol the need for all humans to care for each other and your “Mother Earth.”
Unfortunately, your addiction to fossil fuels has thrown you way off course. It has transformed you from potential healers into malignant parasites. Earth is being ravaged by your self-destructive addiction to hydrocarbons. We fear that if you don’t recover soon, you may not recover at all.
The members of our galactic forum have been around much longer than human beings. Our common quest is to learn all we can about the life whose astounding variation is lightly sprinkled across our largely lifeless galaxy. Some of us have helped revive our biospheres after geophysical catastrophes devastated them. We see ourselves as gardeners, first responders, and trouble-shooters – an integral part of our biosphere’s immune system. The commonwealth of knowledge we’ve gathered to keep our homelands habitable and healthy has deepened our friendships over time.
We’ve watched Earth-life rebound slowly after five major extinction episodes. Asteroid collisions and abrupt geophysical fluctuations in Earth’s life-support systems caused those unavoidable calamities. But this time things are different. A sixth extinction episode now threatens Earth-life and this time we can speak with its cause – you. We have never tried to do this before. So we are not sure if contacting you can help avert ecocide and alter your self-destructive trajectory. But, after some debate, we’ve decided that it probably can’t hurt to try.
When your ancestors discovered how to make use of Earth’s subterranean hydrocarbon deposits we weren’t sure what to think. The optimists among us were not alarmed. They argued that, whether you realized it or not, your combustion of fossil fuels could benefit Earth’s biosphere. We knew Earth’s complex, uneven orbit was entering a cooling phase that would eventually bring about another ice age. Our optimists hoped that humans would unconsciously counteract this planetary temperature drop by burning fossil fuels; thus sending some of the carbon sequestered under the Earth back into the atmosphere. Some predicted that, as you used your scientific method and carbon-powered technologies to study Earth, your rudimentary biospheric awareness would improve dramatically.
However, the pessimists among us feared you were “playing with fire” because your consciousness was still so tribalized and consumed by conflicts over wealth and power. Also, you did not yet realize the vital role carbon-based greenhouse gases play in regulating Earth’s climate. Consequently, they worried you were unwittingly unleashing an enormous source of power that you weren’t prepared to use wisely. Some predicted you’d behave like “kids in a candy store” and the pace of fossil fuel combustion would become so fast and furious it would drive Earth’s temperature abruptly in the opposite direction.
Unfortunately, they were right. Even though you’ve gained enough knowledge to realize that fossil fuels can damage Earth’s biosphere and jeopardize your survival, you continue to burn more every year. You’ve become chronically dependent on doing something very harmful to yourself and other Earthlings – in short, you have become addicted. In the last 40 years, you’ve mainlined more fossil energy and resources than in your entire previous existence. Your reckless hydrocarbon addiction is causing climate chaos and collapsing biodiversity.
Abrupt greenhouse gas oscillations were instrumental in all of Earth’s previous extinction episodes, yet they never flooded the atmosphere at this pace. Earth’s atmosphere contains 32 percent more CO2 now than it did before you became industrial users. As carbon-fueled machines plunder the planet to feed your addiction, the rest of life is perishing at an alarming rate. You invade, poison, and decimate the habitats of other Earth dwellers to replace them with mega-cities, suburbs, highways, parking lots, industrial farms, feedlots, and factories. While your population soars, other creatures are driven to extinction. Ninety percent of all the remaining terrestrial vertebrates are the animals you breed in unnatural abundance to slaughter for food.
Your carbon addiction has left the Earth’s oceans in critical condition. Petro-chemical water pollution from industrial agriculture generates vast oceanic dead zones so anoxic no life can survive. Plastic wastes clog Earth’s oceans and soon will outweigh all marine life. Worse yet, hydrocarbon combustion is raising sea levels, temperatures, and acidity. Earth’s oceans have absorbed 90 percent of the excess heat and 30 percent of the extra CO2, which becomes carbonic acid in seawater.
Excerpted from: 'Open Letter to the People of Planet Earth'.