NASA/ESA/Hubble

我们的宇宙环境

纽约——我们生活的星球一向不断变化,但今天与人类行为息息相关的许多气候及生态变化速度尤其可观。考虑到由此产生的后果,唯一合理的对策是确保变化速度逐渐减缓。但我们还需要仔细斟酌对策,不然就可能冒着重复短视行为的风险。出人意料的是,在宇宙其他地方搜寻生命的努力或许能让我们从全新的重要视角审视我们的星球。

令人惊叹的工具和值得注意的问题在拥有先进技术的人类文明中随处可见,所有这一切都起源于宇宙行星史。以油、气、煤为例。这些物质蕴含着纷繁芜杂的碳化学,源起于远离我们时代却有着深刻变异和进化节奏的生物学和地球物理。我们用来制作巧妙装置延展身心的矿物质和稀土元素也是这种节奏的组成部分,产生于从行星起源到板块构造及小行星影响等一系列独特环境。

人类物种轨迹与拥有四十亿年历史的生物地球化学系统紧密相连,上述系统反复影响着从细菌、城市规划、大气含氧量到造纸厂在内的星球环境。我们每个人除自身基因外还携带着数十万亿微生物。这些微生物携带着将会永久传承的代谢过程密码——恰恰是这些过程决定了我们这个世界的环境。这不啻为生命在任何地方成功生存的可靠蓝图,即使不同地方的生化细节或许会有所不同。

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