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Surprising Science

A perfectly stated Tweet from Neil deGrasse Tyson for Earth Day

Earth Day is over for this year, but what it means for our future is still being talked about.
Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ron Howard speak onstage at the 'Nat Geo Further Base Camp' at SXSW 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for National Geographic)

A short, 27-word Tweet from Neil deGrasse Tyson on Earth Day 2018 has perfectly illustrated why we’re all in this together. 

The perennial cry to “Save Earth” is odd. Planet Earth survives massive asteroid strikes — it’ll survive anything we throw at it. But Life on Earth will not.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) April 22, 2018

The point is taken; this planet has survived five mass extinctions, and is in the middle of yet another. 

Of course, the sixth mass extinction that we are now in—without a clear indication of how severely it will affect life on the planet—is caused by humans; National Geographic estimates it's happening at a rate 1,000 times higher precisely because of Homo sapiens.

What can we do?

As individuals, we can recycle, eat less meat, that kind of thing. But as the Carbon Majors Report states, just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of all emissions. Think about that for a minute. 

In fact, more than half of all carbon emissions are from just 25 companies and state-owned entities. Near the top of the list? Exxon, Shell, BP, and Chevron.  

A possible revised slogan was offered by climate scientist Gavin Schmidt:

A better (and almost as pithy) slogan would be "Save our Earth" - the one with the current coastlines, biosphere, atmospheric composition and inhabitants. @aaronhuertas @carolynporco @AdamFrank4

— Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin) April 22, 2018

So yes, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the planet will go on. Humans and other life on Earth, however? Mmm... not so much.


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