The exhortation to “Save Earth” is one commonly heard in modern times, as people become more aware of how industrialization and other man-made factors have brought about climate change, widespread pollution, and the endangerment or extinction of numerous species. But with Sunday’s Earth Day celebrations in mind, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson chimed in on why he thinks asking people to “Save Earth” might not be the right thing to say, adding a chilling warning about what might be the inevitable fate of life on Earth as we know it.
As documented by HuffPost, Tyson took to Twitter on Sunday to discuss what he thinks about the phrase “save Earth,” and why such a statement might not be accurate.
“The perennial cry to ‘Save Earth’ is odd. Planet Earth survives massive asteroid strikes — it’ll survive anything we throw at it. But Life on Earth will not,” read Tyson’s tweet.
According to HuffPost, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Earth Day 2018 tweet was followed up by replies from the likes of science communications expert Aaron Huertas, who suggested that “Save the Planet” might be a better call to arms, and climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, who opined that “Save our Earth” is a short, punchy, yet effective slogan that takes into account Earth’s inhabitants, as well as its atmosphere, biosphere, and coastlines. Meanwhile, planetary scientist Carolyn Porco posited that “Save Earth” is still valid, as it could refer to saving all forms of life on the planet, and its surface and ocean environment.
The perennial cry to “Save Earth" is odd. Planet Earth survives massive asteroid strikes — it'll survive anything we throw at it. But Life on Earth will not.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) April 22, 2018
— Brian Baldwin (@bruff73) April 23, 2018
Commenting on Tyson’s statement, Bustle opined that the famed scientist has “got a point,” as Earth has indeed survived several cataclysmic episodes in its 4.5 billion years of existence, including multiple extinction events such as the one that wiped out the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period. As shown in those examples, even dominant species could completely disappear from our planet, which backs up scientists’ predictions that “any and all” life on Earth will go extinct at some point in the distant future.
The Bustle op-ed added that Neil deGrasse Tyson’s comments about “save Earth” being an odd slogan also make sense, because of the circumstances behind the ongoing mass extinction event scientists believe Earth is going through. Unlike the five prior mass extinctions, the current extinction is mostly driven by human activities, as climate change and the destruction of animals’ natural habitats are just two of the factors causing many animal species to disappear, or to become endangered.