The Martian| Andy Weir

On The Ethics Of Space Pollution.

I learnt a neat fact the other day that basically space (and Antarctica) belong to “mankind.” And that got me thinking while I was reading away at The Martian. That premise – the ‘space belongs to mankind’ one – only works if other life does not.

Part of the reason that animals are “animals” or at least a factor in their whole “animal” nature is that they don’t have a concept of belonging. While animals far outnumber humans on this planet, animals don’t have the concept that they own the Earth the way that humans do. They live on it sure, but it is not a debated fact that animals do not own it. It is not theirs.

Now, according to space laws humans own everything. Mars belongs to humans. (Tough luck Martians) So Humans have the right to leave anything inconvenient to take back with them on Mars. Of course, I understand their logic, it costs a lot of money to transport all of this stuff there, it would be better to not have to spend so much on the return journey. Even if there isn’t life on other planets, we have the huge flawed sense of ownership over the entire universe. We live on the Earth, it belongs to itself. Not to us. We don’t own the Earth, we don’t own the universe, and it’s this flawed sense of ownership that’s screwing up the world as it is. We own the Earth and we’re ruining it. Greenhouse gasses are screwing with the world all because of some stupid idea that Humans get to do whatever they want.

Now, I promise you, not every post will be a “save the planet” speech (I’ll leave that for another time) but at the moment this is the only planet habitable to humans and we’re not doing a very good job at looking after it.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

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