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      And for those anti-science hippy¹ types who like to say "we shouldn't colonize the Moon, Mars, etc., until we've learned to take care of our own planet"

I'm neither a hippy type nor anti-science. Yet I think it is the misuse of science that has gotten us in the mess that we are in. (Please note the word "misuse" there)

Science has been trying to tell us for years (long before Mr Gore got on the bandwagon) that we are drowning in our own garbage. Yet the various policy makers not to mention people in general make bad decisions with regard to the issues that affect the environment we live in.

So when I make the statement we gotta learn to keep our own environment clean I make the analogy to raising children a bit differently than you do. I teach my offspring that when you travel through "nature", for lack of better way of putting it, you leave nothing behind other than your footsteps. Likewise good ecology starts at home. My offspring have been taught that leaving garbage in their rooms is a bad idea and that garbage needs to be dealt with appropriately.

When I was growing up and visited my cousins in Maine we used to go to springs that were all over the place in the woods to drink from when we were thirsty. In recent years I'm hearing you can't do that any more because the groundwater has become so contaminated by industrial pollutants that travel for many miles airborne and end up in Maine. That saddens me.

My kids think I'm nuts (at 28 and 17 I'm having trouble calling them kids any more) but we have compost heaps behind our house out in the woods. The don't think I'm so nuts when I use that compost to enrich the soil of our flower beds (sometimes used to grow tomatoes and peppers instead) in the spring before I plant.

I was horrified to see a news report a few weeks ago about the cleanup that has to be done on the Long Island Expressway constantly because folks just throw their coffee cups, McDonald's bags, etc. out their car windows as they drive to work. I thought we as a society outgrew that but I can see I was deceiving myself. Then I started noticing they do the same thing on the highways near where I live.

I say all that to say this: At least here in the USA people tend to be slobs. I'd hate to export that to some pristine environment out in space. Instead of living on one planet where the water is fouled, the air is fouled and we don't know how to manage our waste products we'd have two or more. That thought bothers me.

In my mind there are plenty of warning signs out there that we are screwing this planet up bad. From the fact that there are more cancers being seen to the fact that every other child I know of seems to have issues with allergies. Not to mention the fact that you can't go outside anymore without breathing in pollutants. (I sneeze uncontrollably when I first step off the train in NYC on every visit!)

Peter L. Berghold -- Unix Professional
Peter -at- Berghold -dot- Net; AOL IM redcowdawg Yahoo IM: blue_cowdawg

In reply to Re^2: The most important near-term goal of a space program: by blue_cowdawg
in thread The most important near-term goal of a space program: by Petruchio

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