Wish Upon a Star

JULIA SERRA | OPINION EDITOR

The universe is no longer what it used to be. At least not from the view of metropolitan balconies and rooftop bars. The stars are being swallowed by lights in a world run wild with electricity. Maybe this is the death of civility. Maybe this is why people are starting to forget where they came from; how they’re connected to the people around them. As the birds, who follow the disappearing cosmos in their nocturnal migrations, are mislead by artificial light, perhaps we humans are similarly mislead on our migration towards social justice.

I want to look at night sky and let it be the reason for the guns in the streets and the hate behind the presidential podium. I want Donald Trump to revel in starlight, realize the hate in his rhetoric, give his fortunes to charity, and move to a retirement community outside of Phoenix. I want light pollution to be the reason that children are starving and people are forced to flee their war-torn countries. I want to believe that the entire world could turn off the lights and look at the stars so that the water pouring off of our hands wouldn’t be red anymore.

If all of this were true,  darkness on earth and gaseous fairy dust would become the simplest solution to the pain in a crazy planet. We could watch the cosmos extend into every shadowed corner and hate-heavy soul and heal the wounds in the earth. Not only would the sky explode with the glories of the universe, but our own hearts would become magnificent with compassion and understanding.

I apologize for letting my head slip into the clouds. My articles are laden with idealism and abstract solutions to concrete problems. I would like the solutions I compose to be sufficient, but in the dark we will only get mugged. In a world run wild with electricity, I can’t imagine that flicking light switches could produce any sort of social change.   I don’t mean to undermine the power of realizing our interconnectivity, but humanity has dug itself into hole and the stars aren’t going to fix that. Know the stars are there, but campaign for social justice. If you’re thinking about social justice, forget light pollution; there are more important issues in the world. Maybe if the earliest strains of humanity had spent more time pondering the stars, letting them shine compassion into their wrath, culture would not be so muddled with hate. But it is too late for simple solutions. It’s time to invest ourselves. Flash spotlights on the actual solutions to the issues that will take forever to solve. Mourn the loss of the sky. I know that  I’m guilty of believing too wholeheartedly in the abstract and, while there’s a time and place for that, speculations are a poor substitute for taking action.

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