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Carl Sagan on the importance of the Paris Climate agreement

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[Note: portions of this article were posted earlier on the author’s Facebook page.]

Earth, the blueish-white dot about halfway up the brown band, seen from 6 billion km away. Taken by NASA’s Voyager 1 on June 6, 1990.

The Paris climate agreement is not perfect, but it is probably, as President Obama said“the best chance we have to save the one planet that we’ve got.”  I wish those leaders negotiating this deal and who are tasked with the hard work ahead, would pay more attention to Carl Sagan. 

Sagan may be the greatest science writer of all time. He is as much a poet as a scientist. There is one particular passage from his book Pale Blue Dot that is one of the most beautiful in all of literature.

Anything from the bible pales next to Sagan expounding on our place in the cosmos. Especially the biblical nonsense–fill the earth and subdue it”that climate-deniers occasionally use to justify their claim that, “[t]his world is not my home. I’m just a passin’ through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.”

This passage has a particular poignancy when discussing the need to address global climate change:

There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

The video below is the full passage to music and pictures. It’s quite beautiful. Watch it reflect on the tenuous nature of our place in the universe; it’s important that we protect our pale blue dot.


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