Environmentalism: A Space Ethos
Some two centuries in the future, humankind most likely will have established a firm foothold in space. For such a leap forth to succeed, we will need to have acquired a spirit of environmentalism. Such an ethos must permeate the lives of both those who go forth and those who remain on Terran soil. Without such an ethos we will fail as a civilization.
Environmentalism is not normally viewed as a philosophy related to space exploration. Nevertheless, without this ethos human existence in space and on other planetary bodies would be a recipe for disaster. If survival and eventual prosperity are desired, the reality of life beyond earth's protective atmosphere requires close attention to environmental consequences.
From an earthly angle, exploration of space can provide crucial tools for protecting earth's environment. Such a mutual affinity of interests can occur through:
- determining the extent and character of environmental threats,
- showing us what might occur when we ignore environmental factors
- finding and exploiting alternative resources that reduce pressures on earth's natural resources and wilderness regions
- developing products that equally protect earth's environment and enable man's movement into the cosmos