I’m writing this as the week of the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 comes around. I feel the need to talk about Astronauts and their views and opinions. On life, on the world and above all on what we’re doing with our home right now. We can learn a lot from taking a high level perspective on the world today, try to adopt their elevated viewpoint and take note.
However, we’re not.
You see, I was kind of hoping that as a species we were beginning to get it. We understood that we need to start thinking things through for ourselves and start considering the bigger picture.
And yet again last night, I decided I had to have another cull on my Facebook feed. If you’re one of my FB ‘friends’, you may have only been silenced for 30 days. If you’re posting really dumb shit, we’re unfriended.
Because those dumb fuck infographics are doing the rounds once again. And people who I really thought, yes REALLY thought, had more intelligence about them are just not getting it. Instead, they’re sharing them again….
Graphics about how much money ‘we’ are going to save on leaving the EU. Dumb, unaccountable shit with no substance behind it that says that if we leave the EU, Germany and France will have to pay for everything. Yes everything, And that means the EU will collapse. Yaay….
And that’s supposed to be a GOOD thing?
I have written before about how I voted to remain in the EU, my views remain unchanged. And this from a life long EU sceptic (me) who simply did one thing. I stopped listening to the news channels, the people with agendas and did my own thinking and my own research.
I came to my own conclusions. OK, your views may differ, but I hope you did your research and thinking to arrive at that viewpoint, not simply from the media streams you’re bombarded with and the need for social acceptance in your peer group. I took some time to think it through instead of sucking up all the bias from the news channels and the Mail Online. Please tell me you did too.
And I stopped thinking about just ME and started thinking about the EU as a whole, about all the people who lived there / here. All the people who yes, perhaps they do need UK assistance.
If you help someone across the road because they’re struggling, do you have to have an upside? If I hold a door for someone struggling with a young family, baby buggy, shopping, do I ask them afterwards, “Hey, what’s in it for me?”
There actually is an upside to that. I get to feel good about myself and it cost me nothing at all.
Cue a whole barrage of comments about how that’s a way too simplistic view to take. “The Romanian gypsies are going to murder us all and as for the Germans, well you know what they’re like…. “
Whatever dude. You may think it simplistic. I prefer clarity of thought and the fact that, when it comes down to it, that’s what matters. Not Boris, Farage, May, Corbyn or any other politician in the world.
Sometimes, there’s more to it than just us and sometimes we have to take a bigger view. A bigger view that just the UK, a bigger view than just Europe. And indeed a bigger view than just Europe, North America, South America, Asia.
Back to Astronauts.
Let’s take it as a given that astronauts aren’t stupid. They’re chosen specifically to make the right decisions, at the right, critical times. Decisions that encompass not only the moment they’re in and how they’re going to save their own skins in the next 60 seconds, but also decisions that have an impact a few minutes, hours, days down the line.
So they see the big picture and also the macro all at once.
Whenever I see them talk about their own opinions on the world when they return from space they are all, without exception, moved by what they see and they all say the same thing, regardless of their nationality or employer.
That we’re all in it together, there actually really is only one big blue ball out there called home. And we’d better start taking more care of it.
Commander Chris Hadfield has to be on of the most articulate astronauts when it comes to the issue of the world, our climate and how we will probably have to endure things getting worse before they get better. This interview is a superb example of his human character.
I admire him greatly. Take four minutes to listen to what he says:
And the thing is, it’s not as if we cannot do anything about it. We can. We probably already have the technology and the methods to make some really big changes that will help Earth. As Chris Hadfield says, we just aren’t feeling enough pain yet.
So what does that mean? It means it’s going to be really hard, though not impossible, to do something about the problems we face as a species. we’re all going to have to change.
And that means me too.
So do I stop flying helicopters? Do I stop driving Porsches for magazines? Man that sucks.
What about you? Do you stop going on holiday by Easyjet or Ryanair? Do we all simply stop using modern transport all together and roll everything back to a feudal system from centuries ago?
Of course not. The tech is out there that can help us all live lives that were unimaginable less than 100 years ago.
We can actually have it all. However, there are things we need to do to get there which are pretty fundamental. Here’s a few of the things that need to happen. And none of them are easy.
- We need to make taking care of earth the obvious, common sense thing to do. Taxing people, punishing people, into being responsible won’t work. Matthew Taylor of The RSA gave one of the best talks I have heard on human behaviour. I wrote about is in this blog post on the French riot situation from last year. We simply need to make environmental change for the better the obvious thing to do. Then just like smoking in public, people will buy into it.
- We need to understand the needs of the huge swathe of humanity that aren’t as fortunate as us. Why do so many people feel the desperate need to set out on a journey from their place of birth in somewhere inhospitable or under the ravages of war and oppression, to journey to Europe or cross a border into North America? Sorry, but it’s not because of the NHS. Do we really think that setting out across the Mediterranean in a rubber boat in the dead of night is a commercial decision, or one born from desperation? How desperate would you have to be to undertake something like that? Think about it.
- So we need to create a situation where these people are prosperous enough, safe enough and not under threat of murder or oppression to want to leave their homeland.
- We need to understand what motivates either an individual, a company or a government to sign off the wholesale destruction of huge forests and areas of natural habitat that will take centuries to replace, if they ever will. And we need to make it so that those forests, those endangered species are worth more alive and intact than destroyed.
That means we need to make some fundamental shifts in attitude.
- It needs to be cool trendy, obvious and painless to care for each other and our environment.
- It needs to be profitable, so that banks and governments will be interested. Let’s face it, they will never ever move away from the stance of “So what’s in it for us?” We need to deal with that.
- And finally, we all need to find a way to take the technological revolution we are currently experiencing and apply it to those important issues.
I told you it wasn’t easy.
The alternative, of course is that we just carry on as we are.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”albert einstein
You’re welcome to dismiss these thoughts are being too simplistic. A child-like vision of a perfect world, viewed through rose tinted glasses. You’re welcome to your viewpoint.
I’ll leave you with these quotes from astronauts who have experienced the views from space. Take a moment to read what they say, or head over to National Geographic and read the original article on how the view from space changed them.
Samantha Cristoforetti – Spent 199 days on the ISS in 2015
“You’ve got this planet beneath you, and a lot of what you see, especially during the day, does not necessarily point to a human presence. If you look at it on a geologic timescale, it’s almost like we are this flimsy presence, and we really have to stick together as a human family to make sure we are a permanent presence on this planet and not just this blink of an eye.”
Mike Massimino – Astronaut from the Hubble telescope repair mission
“I thought at one point, if you could be up in heaven, this is how you would see the planet. And then I dwelled on that and said, no, it’s more beautiful than that. This is what heaven must look like. I think of our planet as a paradise. We are very lucky to be here.”
Karen Nyberg – Twice ISS astronaut
“In the future, I would like to be more of an advocate for animal conservation. Every single part of the Earth reacts with every other part. It’s one thing. Every little animal is important in that ecosystem. [Seeing the planet from above] makes you realize that, and makes you want to be a little more proactive in keeping it that way. If I could get every Earthling to do one circle of the Earth, I think things would run a little differently.”
Astronauts aren’t stupid. Are we getting it yet?