One of the wonderful parts about my foray into this world of science is the unending knowledge that is at our fingertips now. Sure, people are fascinated with cat videos and Facebook –Ok, maybe I am a little bit, too– but within a moment we can stumble across something that will take us on a weeklong journey of discovery. Some people binge watch Netflix. Others jump on websites like Khan Academy or one of the other many learning sites out there and teach themselves new skills. My most recent wonderful discovery is the world of the Orbital Perspective, as written by Ron Garan, but to be shared with the world. Here’s a quick introduction to him.
Funny part is, I just kept running into this guy! I signed up for
Spaceship Earth Grants earlier this year, which he was a part of creating. I’d seen the preview for a documentary he’d been in, called Planetary, that had sparked my interest. I’d caught his Big Think series that I posted above. And while amassing a great reading list this year, Orbital Perspective was at the top of that list. What can I say about the OP? Just this: for the first time I sat down with a book from my list and knocked it out in one day. From Neil deGrasse Tyson to Buzz Aldrin, I’d read some incredibly charismatic authors, but nothing had grabbed me quite like this book. After consuming the inspiring narrative, I jumped around on the many websites that Mr. Garan and his Crewmates have put together online. I tweeted to him a few times. Added all the Facebook pages. I even rediscovered the Planetary documentary. I had to postpone my viewing of the movie, as I’d decided on impromptu trip to Houston to visit Nasa (again!) with some wonderful friends of mine. Before I continue, here’s a preview of the documentary.
That right there. That’s what I’m talking about! Real quick, I wanna go on a bit of a tangent and share a bit of my story. (If you came here from Facebook, Hello!) During one of many amazing conversations I had recently, I was asked “why are you so happy?” A few minutes into this movie, I was able to finally write my answer. So I wanna tie this all together here. Forgive my meandering for a moment. There’s a point, I promise!!
Most know that a year ago I started my gig in Dallas, thanks to my great friends Mark Wagner , James Ritter , and Dean Reardon. (Thanks, brothers.) Dallas has been an awesome ride and a place I call home. During that time, I was able to figure out much of myself. Much, but not all. I’m not perfect and I have messed up a few times, especially while I figure out how to understand a world without my mom in it. BUT it’s been such a drastic improvement that I only have to apologize occasionally, instead of daily. More often than not, it’s been a wonderful journey of intense growth. Why am I so happy? Part of it is because of all of you. I can be on a plane to nearly anywhere in the country tomorrow and within minutes of walking out to passenger pickup, I’ll have a smiling face and a hug waiting for me. I’m friendly because I have been so blessed with people that have taught me how. The people I’m surrounded by make part one.
Part two is that I’ve evolved as I’ve learned about existence…no pun intended. A deep understanding of how the universe was formed, how the stars, planets and moons coalesced, how sentient life appeared on our planet, knowing that we’re all a part of this giant system working together, well all of that completely changed the course of my life. “Once I was blind, but now I see!” Learning about all of this in depth (science! physics!) has allowed me to give up many of my fears in this world. I understand where we all came from and I understand we’re all different pages in the same book of life. Which leads me to the last part…
I no longer try to distance myself from nature! I was always so worried about every damn thing in my younger years. I didn’t drive. I hated to fly. There was no way you were going to get me to hike or do anything else outside. Science? “Couldn’t care less. Let’s party!” But those days are gone and I’m so very mad at myself for being ignorant for so long. Now I revel in the truth of things, sometimes to the chagrin of my friends. I’m a little more forthcoming now with my thoughts on matters that are important to me and I’m definitely a champion of making better decisions for our world. I understand climate change, I understand how humanity is accelerating it. I also understand how we can and WILL fix it. And I’m consistently working on ways to be better at that. Example: one of my good friends, Bryan Parker, was referring to the fact I was still flying on planes and so forth and how they weren’t that great for the environment. He made a good point, so I decided to find the most eco-friendly company (Delta!) and I use them almost exclusively now. There’s always ways we can be better!
What do you get when you add all this together? I didn’t really have a name for it. Until today. Ron Garan calls this train of thought, along with many other principles, the Orbital Perspective. He talks about leaving the planet, and all of the baggage we heap onto it, behind when he went to space. And how he saw the Earth as a collective whole. “The Fragile Oasis”, he says. When you can see the ice breaking off the glaciers, the storms lighting up the sky like fireworks, the days change to nights as the Earth’s cities light up at dusk, you can’t help but see it any other way. When you read (or hear) these words, you’ll feel like he’s sitting in the room with you. The documentary “Planetary” just continues this journey, as Ron is joined by many wonderful physicists, philosophers and environmentalists from around the world to share their stories of understanding the planet and most importantly, how we can change ourselves to save it.
Now is our time to become a part of a great story. There’s a whole other world being created around us that will make it better. Flying cars are coming. Hoverboards, too. VR is out this summer. Great strides are coming in other ways, too! Exo-suits are coming that will allow people to walk. Surgeries are coming that will allow the blind to see and the deaf to hear…some procedures are out there already. We’re finding unique ways that we will be able to cure cancer and AIDs. We’re finding more creative ways to educate our children and ourselves. And we’re figuring out ways to change our world and be a better type of people to each other and our planet. This is something I’m trying to be a part of through Upportunity and through my social media outlets. It seems more and more people are coming on board with that. And it freaking rocks.
So I implore you to check out this documentary, check out the plethora of websites below, and join this worldwide effort to make a change. It’s not gonna happen without all of us together!!
Social Media Pages
The Orbital Perspective – Facebook
Fragile Oasis – Facebook
Ron Garan – Facebook
Fragile Oasis – Twitter
Planetary Collective – Twitter
Ron Garan – Twitter