Our earth has certain characteristics:
• It arose some 3.5 billion years ago;
• 7.3 billion people, inhabit it;
• 71 percent of its surface is covered with water;
• Its remaining 29 percent is land with mountains, deserts, plains, and plateaus, and over the year because of its axial tilt there is variation of sunlight reaching every part which causes seasonal changes.
John Lubbock (1834–1913), an English banker and philanthropist wrote, “Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can learn from books.” People learn that the future of the earth is tied to the sun. Over billions of years 99 percent of all species that ever lived have become extinct on earth. And today there exist over 200 sovereign states with which America has diplomatic ties and trade. American journalists travel to these countries – some torn by political strife, and they report about them to worldwide audiences via the ubiquitous media networks.
Gift of Earth
There are concerns how long the planet earth will continue to sustain life. Estimates range from 500 million to 2.3 billion years, for earth’s future is closely tied to that of the sun. Evo Morales (b. 1959), president of Bolivia said, “Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.” But entrepreneurs continue to obtain large deposits of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, and natural gasses from the earth’s crust. They are concerned about how long these will last - and while doing so nations’ industries, air-crafts, and other motorized apparatuses are polluting the environment. Scientists make linkages of environmental pollutants with extreme weather – cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, floods, tsunamis, droughts, and wildfires.
Jimmy Dean (1928–2010), a TV host and businessman said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” Are citizens able to adjust their sails to the needs of their 7.3 billion inhabitants increasing geometrically each year? It’s true that wind is a great blessing beginning with our first breath of life, to early civilizations with wind powered sailing ships, and modern air-crafts, windmills as power supply, for dispersing seeds in farming.
Gift of Water
Through evaporation and transpiration there’s precipitation of our lands. Although this water is a great gift, some one billion people still lack access to safe drinking water. More than 2.5 billion people suffer from a lack of adequate sanitation. Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), a Canadian poet, novelist, and environmental activist wrote, “Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. It you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” Undoubtedly scientists must continue to build dams, and construct wells, to bring pure drinking water to the drought-stricken villages of Africa, Asia, and Latin America that lack this vital resource. Many indigenous villagers’ survival depends on such efforts.
Gift of Fire