That picture is probably one of my favorites, in terms of demonstrating just how wondrous, yet fragile, the Earth is. It was taken by Voyager in 1990, and it’s been called “The Pale Blue Dot.” Voyager 1 had completed its mission and was leaving the solar system when it was commanded by NASA to turn around and take a picture of Earth surrounded by the vast darkness of space, as requested by Carl Sagan. That little pop of color is us. Our home. I can’t say it better than Carl Sagan said it, so I’ll merely quote him here.
We succeeded in taking that picture, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there – on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
[…] To my mind, 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 and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
We only get one home. There aren’t any other planets anywhere we can move to. This is it. How about we do more to take care of it? It’s not up to one person or one country or one people alone to do it, we have to work together. As one.