In this article from Meghan Bartels at Space.com, she is of the opinion that we need to fix Earth before we go anywhere else. Of course, it’s easy to navel-gaze and think this way – it’s lazy, and it keeps some people comfortable.
Why do I say it’s lazy thinking? Well, let’s explore that. If a person is beholden in one way or another in a status quo, something like colonizing somewhere off-world requires work. Physical and mental effort to change is always more taxing than going with the flow. And beyond that, there are some people who want a new status quo to be established, and another effort that disrupts the status quo in some other way usually means more effort is required to either integrate with the other plans, or to be forced to oppose them.
Going off-planet also means ignoring other peoples’ of organizations agendas, at least for the most part. And for some agendas, such disregard is hard to tolerate, and threatens their plans to control.
A big thrust of Bartels’ article is how if we aren’t good stewards of the Earth now, imagine what we’d do to some poor planet we’d next like to victimize. That almost sounds sarcastic, but it isn’t. That’s how they really feel about the matter.
We can’t stay here, isolated as one species on one planet. It invites disaster from without and within. A volcanic event may take us out, or WWIII, or of course an asteroid strike. What is the use of pursuing perfection here if the universe can quite handily and capriciously snuff us out before we reach that perfect state? And for the mentality of our species, exploring is what humans do. It drives innovation, it keeps us sharp. Without it we stagnate and deteriorate.
The thing that really drives me mad about this argument is that, really, exploration brings new technology. Whether I agree with Anthropomorphic Global Climate Change, or figures about extinction events right now, it is so, so wrong to think that exploring other worlds harms our ability to steward our home planet. The attainment of successful off-world colonies demands that we develop better environmental controls, and a bleed over into terrestrial living. If stewardship and progress in fostering a better environment was the goal, the benefits of colonization development would seems a natural desire.
To address the even more nonsensical, I would be willing to bet that I could find some fool who’d claim we were just trying to escape and leave everyone behind to die on Earth. It’s a sick jealously.
Opinions such as expressed in the article in question, well, it’s not a new discussion. But they continue to threaten us, and stifle our progress. It helps nobody.