Call to Earth – A Message from the World’s Astronauts to COP21


The following message was played to World Leaders at the opening of Action Day (Saturday 5 December) during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) Call to Earth – A Message from the World’s Astronauts Greetings from the International Space Station. I’m Station Commander Scott Kelly of NASA,
with my NASA crewmate Kjell Lindgren. It’s an honor for us to be with you today. Your actions during this important meeting
will send a message to the world on how we regard the future of our home planet. 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
the industrial age has had on our planet, we’ve seen it with our own eyes. The view from space is just breathtaking. And at the same time we recognize deforestations and wild fires and so on,
which are related to climate changes. 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. From our vantage point 250 miles above the Earth,
we can see how precious the Earth really is. When you look at our planet from space
it’s beautiful, fragile, and there’s this little thin layer
all the way around: our atmosphere. And that’s the only thing that protects us
from the really bad vacuum in outer space. This little fragile layer, the atmosphere,
is part of our life-support system. We need to be really careful with it. Our atmosphere connects us all:
what happens in Africa affects North America, what happens in North America affects Asia. There is no argument about global climate models. The basic balance of energy says that if we put greenhouse gases
into the atmosphere of a planet it’s going to heat up. This is the biggest problem
the world has to face right now. And we’re really at a point now where
we have to take action and make the changes to try to ward off the worst effects
which might come down the pipe. I think one thing that we all wish though
is that groups like yours could be holding your meeting today in space, with a beautiful horizon-to-horizon view
of our planet as your backdrop. It would be an awe-inspiring distraction for sure, but there would be nothing better
for reinforcing the significance of what you’re doing there together today. 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. Our Earth has cancer. I have cancer too. Wubbo Ockels died
the day after this interview was filmed. We are not on a sustainable path
with our life-support systems. In order for us to ensure the survival of our species,
and all the other species on this planet, we need a positive course correction
and we need it now. In order to make this course correction,
we need to start thinking ‘planetary’ and not just global. The first, but decisive, step is to be made now. Our hopes rely on the decision-makers
representing their countries in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Your role as world leaders
gives you not only the possibility, but the responsibility,
to act to reverse this course. Please give the welfare of our children,
and theirs, the priority it deserves. 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. 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. Start what you can do today. Our cause would be better served if in addition to what this conference seeks to achieve, this world body focuses equally on educating the next generation. so that it grows up with the understanding that sustainable development is impossible if it is accompanied by non-sustainable consumption. To make the changes we need to make,
and to reach a safer future, we will need the resources of everybody here: the scientists, the policy-makers, and the industrialists, all working together towards a common goal. And that goal is a planet
that can continue to support life. I want to urge our leaders,
as well as those worldwide, to have the courage to establish the policies which will limit greenhouse gases and protect our precious home planet Earth. The moment is now. We need to reach a binding agreement in the Climate Conference in Paris 2015. We are hopeful that leaders around the world
will find common ground to address climate change during your meeting. And all of us on the Space Station wish you good luck, and great success. Whether you’re a government, a business, a university,
or an individual, you can make a difference. And so, all the leaders of COP21, you have a tremendous responsibility,
a tremendous opportunity to put us all on a much more positive trajectory. And on behalf of my fellow 7 billion crewmates
on Spaceship Earth I ask that you take action. Do not let this opportunity pass,
because we may not have this opportunity again. So finally I’ll humbly ask, that before you spend any time together
talking about the issues and potential solutions, please make the commitment right up front to put those words into action. To co-operate, to commit, and to commence forward
with the goal of protecting our home planet, as citizens of planet Earth. Thank you. Thank you.

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