Sometime in the next few months, scientists will announce the discovery of a second Earth. Our planet’s twin will be about the same size as Earth, orbiting a sun that’s about as bright as ours, and located in a zone that might support oceans of liquid water.
After years of searching, the new-found world will be the first Earth-like planet out of thousands of identified exoplanets. “But don’t fire up your warp drive just yet,” the reporters will warn. “Until we can confirm a compatible atmosphere, climate, and biosphere, our Earth is still the only known world capable of supporting human life.” That will likely be true for many years to come.
I write a series about human kids venturing out into the galaxy to face off against aliens in a great Galaxy Games tournament. I like to imagine the Milky Way Galaxy brimming over with life-bearing worlds–and maybe it is–but the more we look around, the more unique and special our Earth proves to be. Seen from space, our homeworld is an oasis in the middle of a zillion-mile desert.
Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to show our planet some love. By design or by luck of the draw, we’ve been granted stewardship over this life-giving rock, and frankly we’ve fallen down on the job. Each year we deplete more of Earth’s natural resources, make further changes to its climate, and send countless additional species into permanent extinction. As my mom used to say, this is why we can’t have nice things.
But we can still turn things around. There are a hundred little things that each of us can do and a hundred big things we can demand of our governments. Because if we fail the Earth, it may be a long drive through the desert to reach the next fragile rock with all the comforts of home.
Greg Fishbone is the author and illustrator of humorous science fiction and fantasy books for young readers, including The Penguins of Doom. His newest series, Galaxy Games, is about sports, video games, and alien visitors. Find out more about this clever writer and his funny books at http://gfishbone.com/.