• Diana McLaren

Do we really have the right to go to another planet?

Do we really have the right to go to another planet? Space travel seems imminent. And living on another planet, inevitable. But do we have the right? When Avatar came out in 2009 we all got really excited about the animation. But it was quickly pointed out that the story was the same as Pocahontas. Or Fern Gully or Dances with Wolves or a whole collection of others. It's the story of us as humans having little to no respect for the natural environment and native people of the land.

Seeing that we still feel the need to repeat this story and no ones claiming that it's far fetched; I can't help but conclude we don't have much faith in ourselves. As we look to the history of the world we see it time and time again. Entering a new environment we assume that we are the 'advanced' 'better' society that can help the 'poor natives'. We don't respect their culture or way of life but barrel in and enslave, degrade and destroy the people and cultures present. So knowing that no one in art or history has a story of our discovery of new land and new people that ends well for that new land and new people, is it not a little scary to think we might be in that position again soon? As long as we are still polluting our planet, fighting amongst ourselves and descriminating against others because we have a 'heirarchy of differences' ... should we go to another planet? The fact is; we probably need to. Soon we will be overpopulated, run out of resources and have polluted our planet beyond habitation. But because we need to and even if we can, should we? Often the fact that we can do something, and the excitement of that knowledge gets in the way of us really considering whether or not we should. For instance space travel; we wanted to and we could, so we did! It was our most recent 'new frontier'. And funnily enough the first thing we did in space was pollute it! We have a serious 'space junk' problem because it never occurred to us to clean up after ourselves. Knowing that this is not some distant past mistake, but something that has occurred within this generation makes me think we really just don't have enough respect for the world (and possibly worlds) around us. So I repeat, should we head to a new world? I'm not here with a definitive answer. I just think we all need to take a moment to consider what we can learn from the past. And from the stories we tell. And give serious thought to how we manage this possible change. If we go to another planet: How we will show respect to the traditional custodians of the land? How will we make sure to have as little environmental impact as possible? And how can we utilise this chance in a new environment to create truly meaningful social change? And don't forget there's still a good chance we don't get to leave so let's see what we can do about saving this planet. And implementing changes in the world we have to make it a better place. It seems popular lately to claim that our economy is a reason not to try and save our world. This is a flawed argument for many reasons, but mainly;

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