“To operate effectively
at the world level is still
in some way peculiar and unlikely.
The Planet is not yet the centre
of rational loyalty for all humankind.
But it is precisely this shift of loyalty
a profound and deepening sense
of our shared and inter-dependent bio-sphere
can stir to life in us.
That people can experience
such transformations is not in doubt.
From family to clan, from clan to nation,
nation to federation – such enlargements
of allegiance have occurred
without wiping out earlier loves.
Today, in human society,
we can yet hope to survive
in all our prized diversity
provided we can achieve an ultimate loyalty
to our single, beautiful and vulnerable Planet Earth.
Alone in space, alone in its life supporting systems, powered by inconceivable energies,
mediating them to us through the most delicate adjustments, wayward, unlikely, unpredictable,
but nourishing, enlivening and enriching
in the largest degree
is this not a precious home for all of us earthlings?
Is it not worth our love?
Does it not deserve all the inventiveness,
courage, generosity of which we are capable
to preserve it from degradation and destruction
thus to secure our own survival*”
[* NB Salvation, in the theological sense, not salvation, had been the original word used by one consultant in urging the editors that the great perspective be not lost in recording the detailed responses from 167 contributing scientists]
From ‘Only One Earth – The Care and Maintenance of a Small Planet’ Barbara Ward and René Dubois 1972