Saturday, February 24, 2007

Making it Relevant or "Does Anyone Care?"

So a recent email posting on MapCom (basically a mailing discussion group of Alt.Spacers with a large overlapping membership of Advocates in the Space Frontier Foundation) brought to my attention this website:

Stop Global Warming

This website has over 640,000 signups already. Can you think of a single space entity which has garnered this level of popular support in terms of people responding to an actual call to action?

Neither can I.

As I've said before, both in conferences and on various Space Show radio interviews, the Space Community MUST take a lesson from the environmental community and find a way to build a bridge with them, because they are ostensibly our best ally in rallying public support for space development as a solution to many of the long-term environmental problems facing mankind.


Blogger Alfred Differ said...

It's fun to try if you wear your flame proof diapers. Most of them are quick to conclude that we are simply trying to escape the consequences of over-consuming.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 7:53:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

I'm such a noob to this - where can one find the details for MapCom? I'm always loathe to add more stuff to my inbox but if it's interesting enough ..

But yes, you're right about linking to the environmental movement. How do you figure to bell that cat?

Saturday, February 24, 2007 9:08:00 PM  
Blogger Shubber Ali said...

Most of them are quick to conclude...

Al, you are guilty of the same gross generalisations that some others (note, I didn't say "many") in the community are. How do you know that MOST of them, vs. MANY or SOME or just A FEW of "them" are quick to conclude anything about the space development community?

Saturday, February 24, 2007 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Building an alliance with the environmentalists is something that had been talked about for decades. Unfortunately it is based on the false premise that the environmentalists are rational. Mention space development to an evironmentalist and one will get into an argument as surely as night follows day about strip mining the Moon.

Sunday, February 25, 2007 8:45:00 AM  
Blogger Monte Davis said...

Gee, Mark, it must be nice to have all the rationality on your side.

Sorry: I've heard too much reflexive "tree-hugger" bashing from spacers -- including some of your own writing -- to take this seriously.

That environmentalism was gaining a high public profile in the same years that Apollo spending was winding down does not mean the former caused the latter -- yet that's an article of faith for a substantial wing of the space community, which apparently got its education in political science from Lucifer's Hammer.

Sunday, February 25, 2007 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

There are a lot of areas where the 2 movements, or groups within the 2 movements at least, can agree and help each other.

Space Daily


and the Spring 2007 NSS ad Astra report on a book "Space on Earth" (which I have not read so can't comment on) that reportedly has this theme.

The Space Review has a recent article "Communicating with multiple audiences in space advocacy" that discusses communicating with environmentalists:

The X PRIZE Foundation is planning to start a prize for an efficient car:

They are planning to have a big star-filled fundraising event at Google. They would like to have energy and space-related prizes, too.

Success with a space-related prize can only help the X PRIZE Foundation with any environmental prizes, and vice versa.

Virgin Galactic's Sir Richard Branson has set up a $25M environmtal prize for carbon sequestration. Elon Musk has companies for space access and environment-friendly cars. Google's Page and Brin have bought into Google Earth, which is obviously related to space and the environment. Obviously some of the main space entrepreneurs also think there is money to be made, or philanthropy that should be done, in environmentalism.

Obviously anything that reduces the cost, or increases the capability, of Earth-monitoring remote sensing missions benefits both space and environmental movements. Practically any Earth science has a major focus on satellite data products (eg: see American Geophysical Union meetings). Presumably some of the professors, students, and professionals in Earth sciences that are accustomed to and appreciative of satellite products will be an important part of the environmental movement.

ie there is plenty of room for cooperation between people with the 2 points of view. So when is an NSS ISDC (just picking an example) going to have a "space environmental" track that gets some of those millions of environmentalists into the space world?

Sunday, February 25, 2007 7:01:00 PM  
Blogger Alfred Differ said...


Nah. I'm just guilty of not being verbose. Obviously I can only speak about my own personal experiences working with environmentally aware people. I consider myself one and try very hard to avoid stereotyping.

I've not had much luck in the past convincing the people I've worked with of our ability to help them out of the jam. Most of them hold to the 'There can be only one' notion for how things must be solved, so opening the frontier is often seen as competition for an underlying social agenda.

I'm all for you and others giving it a lot of work, though. It would seriously help both groups if we worked together. My access to talented, motivated people would expand a great deal. However, I'm not sure why YOU would think we can help them. What good would their public support do for us, really?

I've temporarily halted my efforts to involve more of them and focused instead on my own short-comings. If I learn enough to cover most of my flaws and adopt friends to cover the rest and still fail to help open the frontier, then I might come around to being a cynic or at least trying a different solution. 8)

Sunday, February 25, 2007 11:04:00 PM  

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