Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Earth Before Us

I sit on the waterfront as the earth rotates before me. I’m not being metaphoric; the world truly does spin in front of my feet—albeit a granite facsimile of one. The one metre sphere, carefully etched with the seven continents, sits on a bed of pressurized water. It is a gift from Germany celebrating our nations' friendship. The result is a free floating globe that fascinates and provokes people of all ages.

As I watch some boys play on the globe’s granite foundation. They splash and press their fingers upon the polished surface, tracing the coastlines with curiousity and perhaps even some awe. Others press harder with boyish determination. Their goal is to make the world momentarily stop and begin rotating in a new direction upon some other unseen axis. Amazingly it works. It’s a remarkable gift these Germans have given.

I think about the state of the world’s affairs as I watch the playful antics of these children. How often have we witnessed, maybe even been a part of, the altering of the earth’s natural course? We have diverted waterways; blown holes through mountains and dug deep into the earth’s core for minerals. We have polluted our global home with an oil obsession and an addiction to smart phones; corporate farming and a careless use of plastics. From smog to oil spills; plastic wastes to radiation leaks we are succeeding—with no real hardship on our part—to alter our world. Some would say destroy.

The granite globe continues to spin. Its imaginary axis—adjusted by countless of kids imposing their will—pierces through the heart of Russia and Tierra del Fuego. The world would face a very different reality if this were true. Here in Vancouver we’d be experiencing what our northern cousins currently endure: the decay of permafrost and eroding coastlines; the warming of waters and negative impacts to local wildlife. Melting icecaps and rising water levels—island nations dying.

This is what happens when you alter the earth’s natural balance.

More kids have come and gone as I sit in the sun and watch, as they say, the world go by. The earth continues to spin but with erratic consistency. It all depends on who holds the power, you see, whose hands direct the flow. The makers of the granite globe say that when left untouched, the sphere will eventually rotate around the Earth’s natural axis, the one pointed towards the Polar Star. Homeostatis, if you will.

I have yet to see this happen—too many muddling hands on my watch—but I hope it is true. Gives me hope, metaphors aside, for the real planet Earth.

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  1. Wow is just the simple word that may explain that how much I liked it. It was nicely stuffed with the material I was looking for. It is great to be here though by chance.

  2. Thank you, James. I appreciate your comment and your accidental find!