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Womankind 18: Fruit Fly

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What do humans and fruit flies have in common? Apparently, quite a lot. Our genetic makeup, scientists say, is unusually similar. But is there a common link between every human on the planet and every flower? Or every human on the planet and every mineral? Of course, we’re householders, you could say. We share a home, which is our planet, Earth.

Cultural critic Neil Postman once wrote: “Have you not noticed that you are on the same ship?” Postman liked to think of Earth as a spaceship; one that has been bobbing about in space for billions of years. And housed on this spaceship are millions of species, from sunflowers to fruit flies to people. “The story of Spaceship Earth has the power to bind people,” writes Postman in his book, The End of Education. “It is a story of interdependence and global cooperation, of what is at the core of humanness; a story that depicts waste and indifference as evil, that requires a vision of the future and a commitment to the present.”

Indeed, to accept that we’re stuck on this one big orbiting planet together is powerful enough to transcend race, gender, religion, wealth, and any other category we deploy to divide and conquer. We’re crew members, caretakers of a vulnerable space capsule, and this comes with enormous responsibility. It forces us to forget our points of difference and get on with the job.

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