Two rather depressing news items burst onto our screens recently. Initially, neither one appeared to bear any relationship to the other.
The first concerned two man-made satellites in earth orbit that collided, spreading space debris over a a wide area.
Even that doesn’t seem too great a disaster. No lives were lost; one satellite (Russian) is believed to have been defunct, the other (US), is part of a group of sixty-six operated by Iridium Satellite LLC, a communications company.
This is the first collision between two intact satellites, but it’s unlikely to be the last:
To date, around 17,000 man-made objects are orbiting the Earth, but more are joining them, in ever increasing numbers.
This is Lonesome George:
Lonesome George is so-called because he is the last remaining Giant Tortoise of his sub-species. He lives on the Galapagos Islands, is around eighty years old, and when he dies there will never again be any Pinta tortoises of the sub-species Geochelone abigdoni – anywhere.
George and his fellow Pintas were specific to Galapagos, like so many of the various species of animal and bird life still to be found there, but human intervention has done for the Pintas, and other species are following suit at an alarming rate.
Take a moment to consider these two news stories, and study the accompanying images. Hopefully, it won’t take too long before you recognize there is a relationship between them – and the one factor that irrefutably links them together.
 “Sat collision highlights growing threat” BBC, February 12th 2009
 “Meet the world’s rarest tortoise” BBC, February 10th 2009
Filed under: What the hell are we doing?