Sunday, December 20, 2009

Climate Change, Global Warming, and the Overview Effect

If ever there was a situation that needed "overview thinking," it's the current debate over climate change and global warming. The recent meeting in Copenhagen was a positive step in that many of the world's leaders came together to talk about one aspect of "planetary management." It was a step backward, however, in the way the process unfolded and was reported.

As I watched and listened, I couldn't help but wonder how the various heads of state would be approaching the topic if they were meeting in orbit, rather than in Denmark. I imagined that they might be gathering at a future version of the Overview Institute, where the setting would encourage them to think about the whole (Earth) rather than the parts (their own nations).

I hoped that they would be more inclined to think broadly about all aspects of planetary mangement, dealing with climate change as a subset of that larger endeavor. I also hoped that they would be more inclined to develop solutions that would be equitable for all the people and other living creatures on the Earth.

In the end, would the results have been different? I don't know, but I believe that this is the direction we must take as we begin to realize that the Overview Effect points us quite clearly to a new way of thinking about humanity's future.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another Big Decision

President Obama was criticized for taking so long to make a decision about Afghanistan. However, there is another decision on his "to do" list that is much more important, and that is the future of American space policy. As I understand it, the president wants to adopt most of what the Augustine Commission has proposed, which includes much more reliance on commercial space development and international partnerships. In my opinion, that's the right direction to take. However, Congress is apparently fighting him on this, because it would mean stopping development on Ares and Constellation, a resulting loss of jobs.

When we look back at the 1960's, there is no question that the war in Vietnam holds a major place in our history, as it should. However, space exploration, especially the Apollo moon program, looms much larger in terms of its impact on human history. It was during this time that we not only put the first human being in space but it was also the first time we experienced the Overview Effect. If President Kennedy had not committed us to exploration of the universe, even though he had to contend with war on Earth, we would find ourselves in a much different situation today. Similarly, while President Obama must cope with Afghanistan, his decision about our future in space will be far more critical do our descendants in 2050.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Overview Effect for Everyone

Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic is scheduled today to unveil the spacecraft that will carry thousands of people into orbit, starting in a few years.

While this may seem like "a very small step for humankind," it is really huge. So far, only about 500 people have left the planet and directly experienced the Overview Effect. Soon,  that number will expand dramatically. What took 40 years to achieve will be accomplished in a year or so. As people bring their new consciousness back to the Earth, a quantitative change will become qualitative.

What will the change look like? We can't say for sure, but the Overview Institute is dedicated to finding out and sharing our insights with the world.

Look for more on this blog in the future.