In Biology, our teacher explained cellular respiration, a process integral for survival because it generates energy. “All organisms perform the process of glycolysis, the first step of respiration, in the same exact way, whether it’s a plant, animal, bacteria—anything. What do you think is a conclusion we can make from this?”
“We were all plants in our past lives!” one student posed.
“Well...not exactly. It actually suggests that all organisms may share a common ancestor, that we all come from the same, original organisms.”
This inspired a few incredulous looks in the class. No one asked and the lesson moved on but many of us wondered: How could a human share origins with an ant, elephants with algae, salmon with parakeets?
But outside of this, there are various features that all organisms share: the presence of DNA, cells enclosed in a membrane filled with cytoplasm. Ultimately, as humans, we share a multitude of features with all types of organisms.
Yet, we treat different things in different ways. Dogs are adorable creatures that we weep over after they die while we murder spiders with hardly a bat of an eye. Rhinos we hope and try to protect only after so many are gone but chicken we heartily eat for dinner.
But to Earth, who provided us with the means to live on this just right, Goldilocks planet, we’ve done probably the worst. Different species rapidly die off in her eyes, dinosaurs there one year and replaced with humans the next. She endures the changes by maintaining her role. She holds our breath, our food, our bodies as best as she can until changes to the world are too disgruntling for her to handle any more.
Then when she changes, we wonder why.