Our cosmic bubble is a nurturing oasis, yet so fragile and vulnerable. The Earth is home to us all, the only known refuge for life across the universe. Past its thin atmosphere, we find life growing abundantly. From the oxygen rich atmosphere, to the shielding magnetic field; the Earth seems to be almost perfectly adjusted for life. As if the planet was made with humanity in mind. As if this place we call home was predestined for life. So much had to have gone right for the earth to be so hospitable.
However, this third rock from the sun has not always been so inviting. For most of its 4 billion year history mankind would have not found it suitable at all. In the first billion years of its infancy it was a violent place, covered in magma and constantly bombarded by asteroids. Volcanoes leaked toxic gasses into the atmosphere that would be fatal to humans.
It was not until the proliferation of photosynthetic species that the oxygen rich atmosphere was formed at around 2 billion years into the Earth’s life. And after this, aerobic life found the Earth full of opportunity. It diversified and multiplied. But this period was also full of ice ages, astrological bombardment, and mass extinctions. Over 99% of all species that have existed have also gone extinct. In fact, this period of time might speak more to life’s perseverance rather than the earths hospitality. But then again, this only adds the the unlikeliness of mans existence. Made evident every time we call out into the expanse of space without answer.
But to truly understand ourselves and our home planet, we must take a step back to see our existence from a different perspective. We must be careful to not only see the snapshot of now. Because we are as much our past as our present. And to say that our planet is made for us, is to forget that life has spent the past 3 billion years conforming to this planet. We have co-evolved. Our environment has shaped us, while we have also shaped our environment. Hardened by our violent beginnings and now comforted by our global reach. Humanity should then not be so surprised by the Earth’s overwhelming hospitality because we would remember that we worked for so long to make it so.
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