WHY SPACESHIP EARTH ?


 

Inspired by photos of our planet - like a beautiful jewel in the inky blackness of space - taken by Apollo astronauts during their trips to the Moon, the concept of Spaceship Earth has been around for some time. Just like any spaceship, Earth too has limited resources, vulnerable life-support systems and a finite carrying capacity.

I remember the drama when in 1970 an explosion aboard Apollo 13, on its way to the Moon, seriously damaged that spaceship's life-support systems and threatened the survival of its crew. Our situation aboard Spaceship Earth is very similar, although because of the vast difference in scale, what took just a few seconds to become apparent to Commander James Lovell and his crew, is taking decades on Spaceship Earth. The signs by now, however, should be clear (and alarming!) enough. 

If anything, our situation is even more perilous, since, unlike the Apollo astronauts, we have nowhere to get back to. If we seriously damage or disrupt our planet's life-supporting ecosystems or climate - which we are already well on the way to doing -  we (or our children) will be in deadly serious trouble.

The immortal words of Apollo Commander, James Lovell, "Houston, we have a problem." apply equally well to Spaceship Earth. Only we have to solve the problem (creating a sustainable, non-growth-dependent, far less materialistic economy and ways of life for 7 - 10 billion people) on board ship. Either that or we will perish.

Although there has been much talk of the need for sustainability, we have yet to face up to what achieving it will actually entail. The reason is that we (not just as individuals, but as a society and economy) are quite literally addicted to a growth-dependent economy and the grossly materialistic lifestyles (and lifestyle aspirations) it engenders and depends upon, but, like many addicts, are still largely in a state of denial about. The Kyoto protocol, being far too little far too late, barely scratches the surface of the problem, because what is required are radical changes, not just to our economy and way of life, but to many of the values, attitudes and aspirations which underlie them.

In view of what Charles Darwin taught us about human origins, it should hardly surprise us to learn that these are deeply rooted in our animal nature, but it is not just Christian fundamentalists who have difficulty facing up to this. 

If we want our children and coming generations to survive and prosper, we have to replace the existing, inherently unsustainable socio-economic order with one that is rooted in our more enlightened, human nature, and not be too slow about it. It's the biggest challenge that any generation has ever faced, and one that our own children and future generations depend on us facing up to.

This website is mainly about my vision of an alternative, just, humane and sustainable socio-economic order, based on our more enlightened, human nature, and of how to get there before it is too late.