An Open Letter To President Bush And Other Earthlings
(From Charles Tandy, Ph.D.)
Dear President George W. Bush:
President Bush, if you are like a number of previous second-term American presidents: You feel you know what you are doing and you seek to make your mark on history as a great leader; and, Everyone else tends to see you as a so-called "second termer" or "lame duck."
President Kennedy did his "vision thing" with his moon-landing project. President Nixon did his "vision thing" with his cancer-research project. I suggest that despite being a second-termer, it is nevertheless possible to do a "vision thing" if you can successfully inspire enough people.
This means a Bush "vision thing" fit for our times: The Up Project ("UP"). "Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction." (Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars) In the absence of catastrophe, does it not seem likely that in the long run most of our offspring will be living somewhere in the universe other than on planet Earth?
Can catastrophe (doomsday) be prevented -- and if so, how? If the dinosaurs had had a space program like the Up Project ("UP"), they would not be extinct. The fact that Earthlings presently exist together in a single biosphere global village is a rather absurd position to be in if we seek to prevent doomsday. If something catastrophic happens to Earth's biosphere, then something catastrophic happens to all Earthlings. It is not wise to put all of humanity's eggs (futures) into one basket (biosphere).
Multiple biospheres are better than one. Extra-terrestrial Green-habitat Communities ("EGCs") should not be confused with space stations. We are really talking about two very different entities. Yet twentieth century technology was already sufficiently advanced so that Earthlings could have initiated the Up Project ("UP") if they had chosen to do so. (To be sure, most twentieth century Earthlings were unaware of the opportunity to initiate our first steps toward building large comfortable homes and permanent self-sufficient greenhouse cities in space, EGCs.)
A vital capacity of UP to be realized relatively early-on (in a project of many decades) is that of drastically reducing the cost of launching stuff from Earth into space. According to a world famous physicist now serving as President of the Space Studies Institute, Freeman J. Dyson: "The public is well aware that with present-day launch-costs human activity in space must remain a spectator sport. ... It took fifty years to go from the Wright brothers' Flyer One of 1903 to the modern air-transport system with huge numbers of commercial aircraft flying routinely all over the world."
I point out that today's world is a different and speeded-up world -- and that when we explicitly decide to do something (whether build the atomic bomb or land a human on the moon), it tends to meet success comparatively sooner rather than later. Several different approaches to building a public highway system into space have been identified by Dyson as deserving support.
Two different systems, one for people and the other for cargo, may provide two separate kinds of public highways into space. Extra-terrestrial Green-habitat Communities or EGCs can be built from the resources of the moon or the asteroids (either or both). Each EGC would be home for thousands; later EGCs would be even larger (an Extra-terrestrial Green-habitat Community of millions seems feasible).
Rotation of the large and spacious greenhouse habitat provides simulated gravity for the people and plants living on the inner surface. Adjustable mirrors provide energy from the sun and simulation of day and night. (See: Space Settlements by Al Globus.)
Sooner or later, the following seems feasible for EGCs:
Unlimited energy from the sun Control of daily weather and sunlight
Self-sufficient EGCs Expansion of self-sufficient EGCs at a geometric rate
Unlimited free or cheap land via EGCs
The following metaphorical insights have been widely quoted by EGC experts:
"The Earth isn't sick, she's pregnant!"
"The Earth was our cradle, but we will not live in the cradle forever."
"Space habitats [EGCs] are the children of Mother Earth."
Dr. Carol Rosin has argued that achieving an enforceable, permanent ban on space-based weapons is feasible only at this moment in history before actual weapons are placed in space. She proposes a carefully worded World Space Preservation Treaty as an effective and verifiable multilateral agreement to prevent an arms race in outer space. This includes prevention of the weaponization of outer space. (Dr. Carol Rosin's work is presented on the Institute for Cooperation in Space website.)
The 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty has been signed by 116 nations, banning weapons of mass destruction from outer space. The proposed Space Preservation Treaty establishes and funds the Outer Space Peacekeeping Agency that will monitor and enforce the ban. This Treaty would serve as a catalyst or foundation for a cooperative world space economy, security system, and society.
This innovative approach may shift our collective consciousness toward concern for:
World health and education A clean and sustainable environment International security needs through information sharing Research and development of clean energy and stimulation of the world economy Our role in the infinite universe Peace preserved in space as leading to peace on earth
The Treaty can serve to facilitate the building of a world economy fit for the Space Age. This would include a variety of public and private cooperative space ventures not related to space-based weapons. For example, defense activities in space not related to space-based weapons include communications, navigation, surveillance, reconnaissance, early warning, and remote sensing. There is indeed a vital need for such military related activities in space.
With this treaty in place, the solving or management of global problems thus becomes more feasible. By capping the arms race before it escalates into space, we world citizens are transforming the entire weapons mindset and war industry into a cooperative world space industry.
As we begin to work in space (and eventually make EGCs our permanent homes for quality living), we will find it in our economic interest to establish in space:
Factories Hospitals Hotels and resorts Schools and universities
According to Rosin, weapons deployed in space will have the ability to target any point on earth with great accuracy, allowing the nation controlling those weapons to dominate the entire earth with impunity. At present, the war industry thinks it has a mandate to expand into space.
Nevertheless the war industry has the ability to change its mind and transform itself in line with the proposed Treaty. For example, satellites have important functions: to monitor the environment, to early-warn us of human-made or natural disasters, and to verify arms agreements. By living peacefully in space, we will eventually learn to live peacefully on earth. T
his Treaty will not immediately solve all problems, but it is an unusually important necessary step in the right direction. It offers hope for the future, and opportunities to invest in a future worth living in.
Under this Treaty, the military-academic-industrial complex will move into space, but within a framework that enforceably bans space-based weapons and encourages world security and cooperation and the flourishing of multiple biospheres. Once the proposed Treaty is ratified, an Outer Space Peacekeeping Agency will be established.
This agency would not only enforce the proposed Treaty but would enforce the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (for the first time!) as well. The proposed Treaty (including Peacekeeping Agency) will be the international mechanism by which the nations of the world community work together, with effective enforcement, so they can protect themselves against any aggressor nation that might attempt to unilaterally (or with allies) weaponize space.
This monitoring and enforcement applies equally against all nations and parties, whether signatories to the Space Preservation Treaty or not. This Treaty in essence creates a world agency, similar to a United Nations of Space, under a sovereign multilateral treaty establishing a world outer space jurisdictional authority with full enforcement powers.
It is not subject to the terrestrial limitations of the Security Council under the United Nations Charter, a prior Treaty that will have been superceded for purposes of jurisdiction in outer space.
"Ah, you're a Maximalist," said the beadle. "No, I am only a Minimalist, I merely want the Minimum -- that we save our own lives." (Israel Zangwill, Ghetto Comedies) By now surely we are in the process of learning to cherish the humble or positive qualities of uncertainty, reject the arrogant or negative qualities of certainty, constructively rebel against absurdity, and "save our own lives."
As we "Minimalists" implement the Up Project to prevent doomsday, it will have effects some may identify as "Maximalist" -- but with a difference. Indeed, such multiple biospheres (EGCs) will act as catalysts for multicultural flourishing within the context of a world at stable peace.
Given the UP framework, we now have the capacity to move toward a more beautiful personhood and a more advanced community. We can learn how to become a becoming person. We can learn how to become a learning community.
President Bush and all Earthlings: Doomsday is not inevitable!
Becoming person, learning community -- may yet be within our grasp.
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