Helios, Ra, whatever they called it since Antiquity, the Sun has been our source of life. Worthy of worship and pagan festivals, our perfect dance with this celestial furnace has sustained our planet and our life on it.
To burn the Earth as fuel is the ultimate blasphemy in light of this Gift. Not only is light the perfect, free and boundless energy source but it’s use in fibre optics for data transmission is unsurpassed, not to mention the many useful applications of lasers. We are still living in the Age of the Dinosaur and will travel the same path if we do not react quickly to the threat of climate change by eliminating our burning of the Earth, not just from fossil fuel usage but also from land clearing and forest fires.
Apart from being a vital ingredient of the marine food chain, algae such as plankton provide over half of the world’s oxygen. They also harness sunlight to do this but are being destroyed by the acidification of the oceans from carbon dioxide.
Florence Nightingale was also known as the Lady of the Lamp for bringing relief to wounded soldiers during the night. We are on the verge of harnessing solar power in outer space and beaming it back to Earth, giving us round the clock access. Our reprised Lady will be a collector dish twenty thousand kilometres away.
Necessity may once have been the mother of invention but invention is fast becoming maternal protection in our hour of need. We may well need every trick in the book to mitigate the inevitable effects of global warming which we are already witnessing.
In just over 100 years we moved from being earthbound to enabling aircraft to fly, weighing hundreds of tons. This was made possible by the discovery of the Bernoulli effect, which by making the air above the wing travel faster than below it, created a pressure differential or lift.
The same principle applied to space-time may enable us to travel at close to light speeds, perhaps that barrier may be exceeded in the same way that the sound barrier was overcome.
Apparently the three things that give us the edge in survival are 20/20 vision, having an opposable thumb and using language. That was up until now, as we have largely become the source of our own undoing.
Let’s hope we see the Light before then.