Heroes

5 quotes that show why you go into space a scientist and come down an environmentalist.

"If you really love something, you don’t want to lose it."

5 quotes that show why you go into space a scientist and come down an environmentalist.
True
League of Conservation Voters

One of my favorite quotes ever is from astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell.

It's a little rough, but it sure does make a point. He described his experience of seeing the Earth from the moon like so:

"You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, 'Look at that, you son of a b****.'”

I've always loved the image of it — some congressional blowhard stuffed into a spacesuit. I love the message, too, and it's something I think we need to hear more often.


On Dec. 5, 2015, a group of astronauts once again tried to give world leaders everywhere a new perspective.

Planetary Collective presented world leaders at COP21 with with a video. In it, 18 astronauts from around the world asked them to take action against climate change.

And, in typical astronaut fashion, they said it in ways that really just nail it.

All GIFs via PlanetaryCollective/YouTube.

So without further ado, here are five (more) things you realize as an astronaut.

1. Humanity's effect on the planet is undeniable.

"Less than 550 humans have orbited the Earth. Those of us lucky enough to have done so more than once have not only heard about the negative impact that the industrial age has had on our planet, we’ve seen it with our own eyes." — Michael Lopez-Alegria, Space Shuttle, Soyuz, ISS, and U.S. spacewalk record holder

2. You get an eyewitness view on the environment.

The destruction of the Amazon is super clear from above.

"We astronauts have been witnessing the continued shrinking of the Aral Sea; the burning rainforests along the Amazon River and in Indonesia; the polluted air over industrial zones; and the dirty water at the river deltas." — Ernst Messerschmid, Ph.D, Space Shuttle

3. You realize how blessed we are.

"Suppose I can transfer the experience which I have to you, then you would go out and see the Earth. And when you have, let’s say the spirit and the insight, and the attitude of an astronaut, you start to love the Earth. And if you really love something, you don’t want to lose it." — Wubbo Ockels, Ph.D, Space Shuttle and first Dutch citizen in space

4. We are a very small part of a very big picture.

"We are citizens of space and stewards of Earth. We need to take actions to build a global climate alliance in order to protect our environment." — Soichi Noguchi, Space Shuttle, Soyuz, and ISS

5. It's our responsibility to protect the Earth.

"I believe we must do everything we can to minimize the human contribution to climate change and make better choices so we can live in harmony with nature and with each other." — Jerry Carr, Skylab

Because that's what it's really about, at least for me. Responsibility.

We are not children. We don't cower in caves anymore. We are not afraid of the dark. We don't ignore our messes, we don't make excuses, and we certainly don't put things off, hoping someone else will come along and save us.

We are adults. We take responsibility for our actions. That's what adults do.

Sometimes it just takes a little perspective to see that.

See what the other 13 astronauts had to say below:

Ready to reach for the stars? You can help protect the Earth by signing the League of Conservation Voters' petition supporting the EPA's new Clean Power Plan.

True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Sir David Attenborough has one of the most recognized and beloved voices in the world. The British broadcaster and nature historian has spent most of his 94 years on Earth educating humanity about the wonders of the natural world, inspiring multiple generations to care about the planet we all call home.

And now, Attenborough has made a new name for himself. Not only has he joined the cool kids on Instagram, he's broken the record for reaching a million followers in the shortest period. It only took four hours and 44 minutes, which is less time than it took Jennifer Aniston, who held the title before him at 5 hours and 16 minutes.

A day later, Attenborough is sitting at a whopping 3.4 million followers. And he only has two Instagram posts so far, both of them videos. But just watch his first one and you'll see why he's attracted so many fans.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


There are very few people who have had quite as memorable a life as Arnold Schwarzenegger. His adult life has played out in four acts, with each one arguably more consequential than the last.

And now Schwarzenegger wants to play a role in helping America, his adopted home, ensure that our 2020 election is safe, secure and available to everyone willing and able to vote.

Shortly after immigrating to America, Schwarzenegger rose up to become the most famous bodybuilder in history, turning what was largely a sideshow attraction into a legitimate sport. He then pivoted to an acting career, becoming Hollywood's highest paid star in a run that spanned three decades.


Keep Reading Show less

One night in 2018, Sheila and Steve Albers took their two youngest sons out to dinner. Their 17-year-old son, John, was in a crabby mood—not an uncommon occurrence for the teen who struggled with mental health issues—so he stayed home.

A half hour later, Sheila's started getting text messages that John wasn't safe. He had posted messages with suicidal ideations on social media and his friends had called the police to check on him. The Albers immediately raced home.

When they got there, they were met with a surreal scene. Their minivan was in the neighbor's yard across the street. John had been shot in the driver's seat six times by a police officer who had arrived to check on him. The officer had fired two shots as the teen slowly backed the van out of the garage, then 11 more after the van spun around backward. But all the officers told the Albers was that John had "passed" and had been shot. They wouldn't find out until the next day who had shot and killed him.

Keep Reading Show less