The Death of the Planet

Bhikkhunī Santacittā

The Death of the Planet

Many believe that thinking or speaking about death will make us depressed or afraid, keeping us from really living. But often it is the fear of death itself that is making us depressed and afraid, keeping us from really living. Once the truth of death is embraced and digested, those difficult emotions will dissolve by themselves.

Just as we don’t like to think about our own death, it’s also distressing to think about the death of the planet as we know it. We might avoid images or thoughts or discussions about climate change, or we might go to the other extreme and fixate upon those images and reports, and talk about them constantly. We either shut down or we panic. We are likely to relate to the death of our planet in much the same way as we relate to the death of our own body. Just as our body was born and must therefore inevitably die, so must our planet.

Whether this happens in a hundred years because of climate change or nuclear destruction, or in a billion years when our sun burns out—the death of our planet is also inevitable. Stars are born, they live, and they die. Our sun is no different, and when it goes, the Earth will go with it. In the distant future, when the sun expands into a red giant during the throes of death, it will vaporize the Earth.

But just as with our own bodies, the debris will reconstellate into new celestial bodies. Our planet is not exempt from that fate. The Earth was born from stardust more than four billion years ago, and therefore she must also die someday.

This reflection by Bhikkhunī Santacittā is from the book, Leaving It All Behind, (pdf) pp. 33-34.