This important day goes back 41 years. I celebrated the first one on the National Mall. I grew up in Washington, DC (within the city limits). I rode my bicycle down to the Earth Day event wearing a sign that read “Pedals Don’t Pollute.” (The o was the ecology symbol, a circle with an equator.) Back then, every one was deeply concerned about pollution. There were a little over 3 Billion humans around. Now, we are concerned about pollution all right, but we’ve got Climate Change and almost 7 Billion people on Earth. As a species, we’ve got enormous challenges ahead.
The difficulties before us make space exploration that much more important. We have to understand our world as a planet -- a planet that can be compared with other planets. Although they our closest neighbors, alighting on Mars or Venus would kill you in a few seconds. By understanding winds, weather, and climates on other worlds, we will better understand our own.
Take a moment today and consider that our Earth is precious, barely a grain of sand in the cosmic scheme of things. Yet, everyone you will ever meet came from our small world. Today, let’s all ponder and appreciate our place in space.