Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays, your mid-week nature break to reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature. Take a deep breath and enjoy...

Here on the blog, we've been focusing on the details lately. The blooming flowers, the signs of spring, the lovely sights here in our corner of the world in the great Pacific Northwest. While finding pleasure and delight in the small things is an enriching exercise, it's also good to take a step back and look at the big picture. If the details are that glorious, then how magnificent is the whole which they compose?

Shot from the International Space Station, this week's film by Michael Konig captures the awe-inspiring view of our home planet that only a handful of lucky individuals have been able to witness in person. Take a look at the film below, and enjoy the ride as you skim over the planet in low-earth orbit:



There are so many remarkable things about this film: the flashes of lighting exploding in the clouds; the green ribbons of the aurora snaking and undulating in the atmosphere; the endless blue oceans gleaming in sunlight; the snow-white pillows of clouds; the clusters of light marking out human civilizations, tracing coastlines and forming nerve-like networks across the planet; the thin blue line of atmosphere that is the only thing protecting us from being bombarded with deadly solar radiation.

Among the most remarkable things about this film are the things that you don't see: those minute details that disappear when we zoom out to this level. Somewhere down there on that spinning blue orb are all of the people we know and love; down there are our homes; down there stories of love and hate and beauty and desperation are playing out; down there are the ecosystems growing, recycling nutrients, creating oxygen, filtering air and water; down there is the stage upon which the entirety of human history has unfolded. This was filmed in August through October 2011, so somewhere down there, I was getting married (September 24th). Somewhere down there is a planet that both sustains us, and desperately needs our urgent protection.

The most beautiful thing about films like this is how they can change our perspective of our home planet. All seven billion humans share this planet, along with untold species of plants and wildlife. From this view, Earth is at once immense and powerful, and also very small and fragile. Whether viewed on the level of a blooming flower, or on the level of low-earth orbit, one can clearly see that this place we call home is wondrous in a way that surpasses explanation.

Our planet and the places we love are threatened by climate change. See my Earth Day Musings post for more.

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