Earth.  Our one and only home.  Forget about going boldly where no one has gone before, this is it.  Even if we were to find another suitable planet for our existence, history suggests we would strip it of its resources and fight over who gets to claim ownership.

Many civilizations have proven it’s possible to live within the means of the local environment, but our modern society has created demands which leave tremendous scars on our planet.  Forest clearcutting and strip mining would be major examples of this.  Copper, a material we have made essential to our way of living, does not exist in large, solid masses, so can only be extracted through the process of strip mining.

For this week’s challenge, I could have chosen one of many images which I feel portray the special qualities and beauty of this planet. I kept coming back to this one, however.  Earth has this magical quality of rejuvenation, and after we have vanished, will reclaim itself.

This is my hands-down favorite image ever taken from an airplane.  On an early morning flight into Salt Lake City, we passed the Kennecott open pit mine.  After copper is exposed, the oxidation process turns it into a complexity of colors.  This should have been a blight on the land, but all I can see is beauty in this shot.

Need a frame of reference?  Along the line extending to the upper right corner, you will see four dots.  Each of those is a truck capable of moving hundreds of tons of dirt, and having tires that are taller than a semi-trailer.