Edgar Mitchell Sc.D., Apollo 14 Astronaut, 6th man to walk on the moon, and founder of The Institute of Noetic Sciences, has joined our Board of Advisors. Read his letter to the Board regarding his insights about the present state of the earth and the importance of sustainability and protecting the environment.
Edgar D. Mitchell, Sc.D.
Visionary Alliance: A Message From Dr. Edgar Mitchell
On January 31, 1971, I embarked in Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon. As magnificent and moving as that historic event was to mankind it was also extremely moving to me as an individual. As I returned to earth, I had a chance to reflect on my experience and our home planet in a way that very few humans have been able to do before. As a result, I was both euphoric and despondent. Euphoric because my view from space convinced me of the amazing accomplishments we have achieved as a species and despondent because of the incredible folly and self centered behaviors exhibited by so many of our citizens on our home planet earth.
Perhaps of most concern to me is the way humankind is treating our fragile planet with its huge but finite reserves of natural resources. Many of my colleagues and I believe that our global civilization is on an economic path that is environmentally unsustainable, one that is leading us toward economic decline and eventual collapse. This grim path is not something that will happen in the distant future, but is something that will likely happen within our lifetime if drastic actions are not initiated soon on a global scale.
Our planet is under incredible pressure with a whole host of global issues. These range from the reduction of biodiversity, shrinking renewable and non-renewable resources, and continued environmental degradation. Perhaps one of the biggest problems confronting us is the unrestrained population growth by the developing and underdeveloped nations. This growth is a problem even for western countries with otherwise declining populations. Our global situation is incredibly challenging today because of the adoption of the western economic model (e.g. materialism, consumerism and throw-away mentality) throughout much of the developed and developing economies of the world.
Resources that have accumulated over eons of geological time are now being consumed in our present lifetime. In 1900 the earth’s entire population was estimated to be approximately 1.5 billion inhabitants. By 2006 it has increased to 6.5 billion and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, a six-fold increase in a short 150-year span. Many studies conducted recently indicate that the ideal population level for the earth is approximately 2 billion to sustain the life style we have today in the west. Humanity is now crossing natural thresholds of which the general public is unaware. These limits are determined by nature and are not politically or economically negotiable.
Our incredible rate of population growth, environmental degradation, and excessive resource consumption is being linked to many types of problems: shrinking forests; eroding soils; falling fresh water supplies; more frequent crop withering heat waves; collapsing fisheries; expanding deserts; increasing pollution; more powerful storms; shrinking resource reserves; and melting glaciers planet wide. The same maladies, belief systems and cultural conditioning that are plaguing us individually are also having a profound negative effect that is greatly impacting our planet.
It is imperative that adults and children are made acutely aware of this situation. Only a global grassroots effort can hope to grab the attention of our political, economic and institutional leaders. We, as a planetary society, need to generate the appropriate attention to these critical problems now through our individual economic and political choices before it is too late. Unfortunately many people are not yet convinced of the need for economic restructuring.
Every adult citizen of the planet and their progeny have a stake in our ability to recognize, confront and initiate the changes that are necessary for our very survival.
Because of these grave issues, I am embarking on a new collaborative mission in cooperation with Visionary Alternatives, Inc. Through our combined efforts, my colleagues and I will help educate our global citizenry by providing the knowledge and tools necessary to affect change both personally and globally.
We recognize that the type of change in thinking and action needed can only come about by initiating a massive global grass roots educational effort since many of our political, business, and institutional leaders have no interest in projects that do not further their economic interests or influence. With your help and as a first step, we plan on producing educational information (videos and collateral materials) and distributing them widely to influential organizations and individuals throughout our global society. This program will help inform as to the steps that must be taken to move our planetary society onto a sustainable path.
In the future we intend to offer many additional programs covering selected areas in more depth such as: overpopulation; global climate change; environmental issues; excessive use of renewal and non renewable resources; pollution; decline of biodiversity; changing belief systems (personal, societal, cultural). For each program, we will include the issues, their impact, implications on society, and recommended actions that can be taken at the grass roots level.
Please join me in supporting this effort. No less than our entire planetary civilization as we know it is at stake! I urge you to share this information with your friends, colleagues, business associates and acquaintances, write to your elected officials, and vote via your purchases. If you would like to do more, please write to us or call my partner organization in this endeavor, Visionary Alternatives, Inc (VAI). VAI is always seeking sponsors, contributors, donors, and volunteers to make this program a reality.
Please for additional information email VAI at Jane@visionaryalternatives.org or visit their web site at www.visionaryalternatives.org.
Thank you in advance for your help and support in these very critical issues.
Sincerely, Edgar Mitchell