[T]he brilliant American bacteriologist Lynn Margulis has proposed that every kosmos, from the microcosmic organism on up to our macrocosmic planet, has evolved through a very long game of symbiosis, "the coming together that leads to physical interdependence and the permanent sharing of cells and bodies." Two billion years ago, free-floating bacteria combined to form what Margulis calls "bacterial confederacies." These confederacies gradually formed a thin membrane that held them together. Then some of the bacteria turned into the oxygen-using mitochondria, and a command center, the nucleus, took shape. The cell was born, or rather, self-made through what some scientists today call autopoiesis. Then cells took up residence inside larger organisms that in turn developed into their own protective membranes. And they are still with us. "The descendants of the bacteria that swam in primeval seas breathing oxygen three billion years ago exist now in our bodies as mitochondria," writes Margulis...The larger flora and fauna in turn formed communities within forests and other ecosystems that also acted as even larger, self-regulating organisms. And all of these biomes are finally protected by an even larger membrane, the atmosphere. Margulis refers to her theory, her scientific creation story, as symbiogenesis.--from an american gospel: on family, history, and the kingdom of god by erik reece
despite all that's been done to it--and earth and the cosmos have done more to it than puny mortal creatures like us can do to it (although that's not to say we can't make it uninhabitable for ourselves or other creatures)--the earth and existence has carried on. and even despite what we do to ourselves, we continue in more or less the same shape. that gives me hope on both a species and an individual level.