Scott Kelley on the View from Space: New Passion for Earth

March 6, 2016

This Headline recalled for me one of my favorite posts of any year, and the brilliant, moving video above..
A reminder of the paradigm shifting power that a larger view of our common home has on the minds of those privileged to behold Her from orbit.

Mashable:

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who returned Wednesday from a record-setting 340-straight days on the International Space Station, said looking down on planet Earth for so long made him a far more committed environmentalist.

“The Earth is a beautiful planet. It’s practically everything to us. It’s very important to our survival, and the Space Station is a great vantage point to observe it, and to share our planet in pictures,” Kelly said during a press conference in Houston on Friday.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who returned Wednesday from a record-setting 340-straight days on the International Space Station, said looking down on planet Earth for so long made him a far more committed environmentalist.

“The Earth is a beautiful planet. It’s practically everything to us. It’s very important to our survival, and the Space Station is a great vantage point to observe it, and to share our planet in pictures,” Kelly said during a press conference in Houston on Friday.

For now, though, Kelly has come back to his home planet with a keener eye for humanity’s collective impact on the land, sea and air.

“We’ve got to take care of the environment,” he said. “I do believe we have an impact on that [the health of the environment], and we do have the ability to change it if we make the decision to.”

In my previous life as a cartoonist, I chose this as a takeoff point for a character who was an ex-astronaut turned potato farmer.

space1

More below, plus the older post from  2013:

space2

“I think you start out with this idea of what it’s going to be like…and then when you do finally look at the Earth for the first time…you’re overwhelmed by how much more beautiful it really is, when you see it for real.

It’s just like its this dynamic, alive place, ..that you see glowing all the time..”

-Nicole Stott, Shuttle, ISS Astronaut

“When we look down on the Earth from space, we see this amazing, indescribably beautiful planet, ..it looks like a living, breathing organism..”

– Ron Garan, Suttle, ISS Astronaut

Stewart Brand

About 40 years ago I wore a button that said, “Why haven’t we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?” Then we finally saw the pictures. What did it do for us?

The shift that has happened in 40 years which mainly has to do with climate change. Forty years ago, I could say in the Whole Earth Catalog, “we are as gods, we might as well get good at it”. Photographs of earth from space had that god-like perspective.

The most widely reproduced photograph of all time.

What I’m saying now is we are as gods and have to get good at it. Necessity comes from climate change, potentially disastrous for civilization. The planet will be okay, life will be okay. We will lose vast quantities of species, probably lose the rain forests if the climate keeps heating up. So it’s a global issue, a global phenomenon. It doesn’t happen in just one area. The planetary perspective now is not just aesthetic. It’s not just perspective. It’s actually a world-sized problem that will take world sized solutions that involves forms of governance we don’t have yet. It involves technologies we are just glimpsing. It involves what ecologists call ecosystem engineering. Beavers do it, earthworms do it. They don’t usually do it at a planetary scale. We have to do it at a planetary scale. A lot of sentiments and aesthetics of the environmental movement stand in the way of that.

Seems like a long way to go to come around to what indigenous people have known for a very long time. But, if that’s what it takes, I’m for it. We need to get our global leaders up there as a group, and begin the discussion of what it will take to make a sustainable planet – with the luminous blue ball shining thru the cupola.

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5 Responses to “Scott Kelley on the View from Space: New Passion for Earth”

    • Sir Charles Says:

      “Cut the beat.” “I’m not sorry. This future, I do not accept it. Because an error does not become a mistake, until you refuse to correct it.”

  1. Lionel Smith Says:

    Perhaps they should send Apollo 17 astronaut and Heartland speaker Harrison Schmitt up for another trip.

    The book ‘Moon Dust’ by Andrew Smith (no relation) has some interesting insights into the Apollo astronauts including ‘Jack’ Schmitt.


  2. So many things here. I think Crocodile Dundee said it best “It’s like two fleas arguing about who owns the dog.” Or in the classic movie “The Day The Earth Stood Still”, when the stupid politicians asked the alien “Why have you come to our planet?” and it replies “What makes you think it’s yours?”


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