The stage lit up as we ended our panel discussion at the 2019 Development Dialogue hosted by Deshpande Foundation at Hubballi. We were facing bright lights and hence I could not see the audience. I tried to locate the man who raised the first question. I asked, “Where are you?” He replied, “I am here.” But that did not help. “I am here” meant nothing as I could not place him across the rows and aisles of the large auditorium. Here, could be anywhere. I surrendered and answered the question.
I marvel at the blue dot introduced by Google. It gives meaning to “I am here”. Before the blue dot, I had to place myself on a big AAA paper map, find the destination, review the route and then start. Now, I open Google Maps on my phone. It locates me on Earth and pins me as a blue dot. Then the world unfolds around this blue dot. I can declare, “I am here”. Anyone can. We are now a blue dot on this pale blue dot.
On 14 Feb 1990, Voyager 1 took a picture of the Earth, our pale blue dot, from 4 billion miles away. It said, “We are here”. I hope this helps me learn why caring for the Earth is important. I am here and everything has a meaning because of that. I have often been advised, “Meet people where they are”. But how do I find them? Where are they? What is their location on landscapes of healthcare, education, justice or equity? Can I connect with their blue dot? Maybe I could navigate better with that.