Earthlight Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on science and technology. It is based in Austin, TX.
“To carry the light of life to places now dark, the seeds of life to places now dead, and the eyes, hands and minds of humanity to places yet unseen, untouched and unknown.”
EarthLight is an Idea – and a Cause
The beautiful shot of the “little blue marble” from the Apollo 8 missions shifted our perspective of Earth and humanity and enabled us to appreciate our tiny home’s delicacy and fragility. The term “spaceship Earth” is more than a metaphor or analogy to us. Just as our MotherWorld exists in a bubble of life she created, as we begin to launch our smaller “bubbles” out into the cosmos, they offer tiny analogs for most of the lessons we need to learn down here. The spaceships, stations, and communities we will build in space have much to teach us.
For example, in space, if we mistreat our life support systems, we die. If we do not use everything we have carefully, recycle and reuse all we can, we die. If we do not work as one crew, with honor, respect, and trust in each other as if we are one family, we die.
Think of it this way – few people are more aware of the environment than a person floating above a window with the Earth below, re-breathing her own air, and re-drinking her own recycled urine.
Or like this – there is no tighter “family” of people who must utterly trust and respect each other in both calm and crisis, than those locked in a tiny bubble of life in which all depend on one another to survive.
EarthLight supports today’s environmental movement.
In many ways, EarthLight represents the environmental movement of space.
Yet, we go beyond being “pro-environment” as our goal is not just to save the MotherWorld, but to expand her life into the Solar System and Universe.
For example, we endorse the goal of getting the planet to net-zero carbon emissions and generally reducing the toxicity and destruction of many human interactions with our biosphere. We also believe that we can use space not just to study the dangers facing Earth but to help save her.
First, we have to “clean up” our own act. As much as it can teach us, in its early days, the space community and industry have reflected our culture’s general ignorance and disdain for our role as part of Earth’s ecosystem. Just as in society, it has been dominated by a primitive “use it and throw it away” mentality. Worse, it has often been true that the incentives and policies of the governments that have dominated space activities encouraged maximum waste, built-in obsolescence, and rewards for short-term planning and design.
This is the first part of EarthLight’s task. EarthLight is working to change this old conversation and mindset within the space community and industry. Thus, at times, we will highlight and work to change these old space ways of thinking, and programs, projects, and policies that continue ways that need to be left behind.