There’s no place like home: Placing Earth in its astronomical and geological contexts
Recent revolutionary discoveries in astronomy are showing that Earth is one of billions of planets, and that terrestrial, temperate planets are commonplace in our galaxy. Geological records indicate that Earth has been many different worlds over time, and life has shown extraordinary resilience through these planetary changes. If we could go to the stars and point our telescopes back at Earth, what would we see? How does life alter Earth’s astronomical character? We will look at one of Earth’s defining ecosystems: the Amazon rainforest, which is observable from cosmic distances. We will reflect on the impact of various human civilisations. Ultimately, we will draw on these astronomical and geological perspectives to demonstrate that humanity’s flourishing is profoundly tied to maintaining this world, here, that we co-evolved with.