One Astronaut's Wish for the Holidays

More

From orbit, the Earth is so beautiful. But for many who live on our planet, life is a terrible struggle with hunger, thirst, and disease.

800px-BlueMarble-2001-2002.jpg

When we look at the Earth from space we are faced with a sobering contradiction. On the one hand, we see the indescribable beauty of the planet we have been given. On the other hand, we know that millions of people on it do not have access to clean water, go to bed hungry at night, and die from preventable and curable diseases.

It is truly moving to look at the Earth from space. And when we do, we look down from our "orbital perspective" and realize that we are all riding through the universe together on this spaceship we call Earth, that we are all interconnected, that we are all in this together, that we are all family. 

We have the resources and technology to overcome almost all of the challenges we face. For thousands of years people believed that it was impossible to fly to the moon -- because it had never been done before. Human ingenuity and determination proved that it was possible. 

Today many people believe that it is impossible to solve most of the problems of the world including poverty. But our accomplishment of sending humans to the moon and returning them safely should caution us to doubt our beliefs about what is and isn't possible. Eradicating poverty is possible. We are only limited by the size of our imagination and our will to act.

The good news is there are over 20 million organizations around the world working to improve life on our planet. The bad news is these organization are not engaged in a unified, coordinated effort. There is a great deal of duplicated work, lost efficiency, and a reduction in the positive impact that these organizations could otherwise make.

We need an effective mechanism for people and organizations to collaborate in order to solve the challenges facing our world.

Inspired by the collaboration that made the International Space Station possible, we have formed The Collaboration Project to create a mechanism to affect real change. This project is joining with groups ranging from Random Hacks of Kindness to USAID to build a collaborative platform and bring together organizations that are working on problems around the globe. The ultimate goal is to end that sobering contradiction that we see when we look at the Earth from orbit, and make our planet a place that is not only beautiful from above, but a place where life is beautiful for all.


Image: NASA.

This post was adapted from an essay that appeared earlier on open.nasa.gov.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ron Garan is a NASA astronaut. He recently returned from the International Space Station.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Do People Love Times Square?

A filmmaker asks New Yorkers and tourists about the allure of Broadway's iconic plaza


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Do People Love Times Square?

A filmmaker asks New Yorkers and tourists about the allure of Broadway's iconic plaza

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In