Can you hear me, Major Tom? Can you hear me, Major Tom? Can you hear me, Major Tom?

There are no typewriters worth interviewing any more; in 2012 one turns to Twitter, it seems, again and again it seems, which tonight had this rather lovely exchange:

John Hart @farmgeek: ISS [International Space Station] coming up in the Western sky right now - it's beautiful out.

Jackson James Wood @_jjw_: @farmgeek it's pretty amaze, right.

@farmgeek: @_jjw_ I know we have plenty of problems here on earth, but watching humans flying past, in space, fills me with hope every time. :-)

@_jjw_: @farmgeek the amount of international cooperation necessary to make it happen is staggering and heartening.

And that was it.

Your classic half-full glass; because doesn't this same vignette tell us something else, not about hope and heart, but their nemesis. Something about our priorities.* About the choices we make, and the challenges we could confront, co-operating internationally, if we chose, but seemingly, we choose not. About how we like to tell ourselves stories about ourselves, in which we star as the heroes and kings, colonisers, conquerors, masters of the universe - about our starship of self-serving enterprise. About hubris.

#ironic. It was Apollo that first showed us this. If the green movement has an iconic symbol, that would be it.


* (as a species. The priorities of both of the Twits in question are impeccable.)

Comments (2)

by Kublai Khan on July 19, 2012
Kublai Khan

I think there is a lot that the environmental movement can learn from the space movement.

Putting aside the cold war, JFK challenged the US to put a man on the moon. They did it. And, after that, they started working with the Russians. 

A New Zealander, William Hayward Pickering, was instrumental to the development of NASA and the Apollo programme.

43 years later, the ISS is orbiting testament that humanity is capable of grand feats.

We just need to channel its direction better to something within our atmosphere.

The science is there. The evidence is there. The will and energy is there. But there is no call.

I harp on about teaching reality, but it is important. We need leaders, like JFK, who can take us along with them.

Instead what do we get? Ministers who make a joke out of building more roads, a Minister who is whole-heartedly for climate change,  and a Prime Minister who thinks it's okay to sell off New Zealand's most powerful tool to ensuring affordable renewable energy.

It's a very stark reality that we've screwed up the planet. But there is also a potential for us to work together, à la the ISS, to save it (or at least salvage). There is even room for NZ to play a leading role in there.

That's a reality I'd like to see.


by Viv Kerr on July 21, 2012
Viv Kerr

Re: the ‘blue marble’.

I watched a group of high school kids draw the Earth (as seen from space) held in cupped hands, to represent caring for our planet. It was a lovely picture in some ways, but what felt wrong to me was that it showed humans (the hands) separate from the planet.

We are part of this global ecosystem and not separate from it. While the image taken by the Apollo mission has been a powerful one, do you not think it might have made people feel less engaged with the real world we inhabit ?

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