I don’t think this scientific quest detracts from our appreciation for all the wonderful things we have here on Earth.
You’re right. We need to do both.
However, just why are scientists “so obsessed” with “finding the smallest amount of life on another planet” in the first place, and why are people taking life for granted here on Earth and destroying it?
First, the searching for life in space boils down to an ancient feud between Science and Religion. Galileo (1564-1642), father of modern physics, astronomy, cosmology, mathematics and philosophy, was put on trial by the Catholic Church and convicted. This has never been forgiven.
We spend billions of dollars listening 24/7 for repeating radio waves, sending rovers to drill rocks on Mars, search the nearby stars for signs of “Earth-like” planets, and so on just to have at least some evidence that life has evolved on some other planet in the galaxy or moon in our solar system. It’s such an important endeavor that finding an alien and a UFO from space would delight scientists. If only. Unfortunately, we don’t even have a fossil of a microbe from space. No evidence at all.
We have no proof life exists anywhere in the universe other than Earth. Given a planet with the right conditions, life can spring from matter and eventually evolve into something greater. No God required. It’s the wet dream of science, but still an unproven theory.
Second, people taking life for granted here on Earth and destroying it because – even in our schools – children are being brainwashed to believe the Earth was created 4,000 years ago and not 4.5 billion years ago, and that God created life on Earth and all life and things on Earth are meant for the descendants of Adam and Eve to rule over and enjoy. That mentality drives people not to care about what we do to Earth.