Peace in the Pale Blue Dot
I cannot stop feeling heartbroken by the horrible situation in Ukraine. My thoughts are with the Ukrainian people and any other people or persons who are currently suffering the horror of war, abuse, or oppression by any country, entity or individual.
It has been hard to focus on anything else during these past days, when the war is at full speed; killing, devastating, and displacing thousands and with no near end in the horizon. In addition, the United Nations (UN) just released yet another report about the climate emergency that reconfirms that with any further delay in action to curb the planet’s warming, we will miss a brief and rapid closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.
Feelings of outrage, sadness, and frustration for us humans– fighting wars that are not the correct ones, with much at stake in a world that is rapidly warming up– give room for a sentiment of nostalgia.
Nostalgia not for the past, but for a future that I dream we could enjoy and could leave to our children and grandchildren, and to all other inhabitants of our beloved Earth. A future where compassion and empathy are our true compasses, where communities could live in peace, without suffering the horrors of war; where renewable energy and sustainable technologies were the norm, and where fossil fuels - which is now at the center of so much tragedy, brought on by power struggles - and the global warming effect were a thing of the past. A future where we eat less, and what we do eat is more plant-based; where massive livestock slaughterhouses were also a thing of the sad past, and where we do not consume plastics, our oceans and lands becoming healthier ecosystems. A beautiful future where humans realize, in this compassion, that the planet is not a machine at our expense, for us to use and abuse without limits, that we are not the privileged species that can take and take without giving, but rather, is a place that we share with so many other species… Then, we would show that our intelligence has really been put to good use, in the interest of not only a few greedy humans but every living thing, every human regardless of the color of our skin, credentials or conditions, any plant or animal or ecosystem that shares a place in our home, planet Earth, the “Pale Blue Dot”.
Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth, taken in 1990, by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Voyager 1 space probe, from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles). The photograph was taken at the request of astronomer and author Carl Sagan – whom I much admired and listened to in my youth – as the Voyager 1 had completed its mission and was leaving the Solar System. It shows our planet appearing as a tiny dot against the vastness of space. The phrase "Pale Blue Dot" was coined by Sagan in his reflections on the photograph's significance, documented in his 1994 book of the same name. For a famous book quote that describes the greater significance of the photograph, watch here.
Today, more than ever, we need to listen to Sagan’s words and his call to action to care for our unique and magnificent home. As he beautifully put it, we need “to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”
Image: “Peace (We still have time…)”, acrylic, water-soluble crayons, and acrylic and ink pen on cardboard, 8 x 6 inches, available. If you have questions or comments about this artwork or others on my website or Instagram, please contact me here.