This is what it's all about.
The concept of sustainability is widely acknowledged as a political guideline. The economic, ecological, social and cultural aspects of sustainability are already under discussion. The pressing problem of space debris and current space mining efforts demand that the discussion becomes a broader one about «planetary sustainability», including the space surrounding Earth.
To date, planetary sustainability has mainly been used only with reference to Earth, but here it will be extended, elaborating on a similar NASA initiative. NASA envisions:
A world in which all people have access to abundant water, food, and energy, as well as protection from severe storms and climate change impacts,
Healthy and sustainable worldwide economic growth from renewable products and resources, and finally,
A multi-planetary society, where the resources of the solar system are available to the people of Earth.
While all of these dimensions are essential, the project will especially examine and ethically evaluate how realistic and meaningful the rarely-researched third point is. Ethical guidelines are necessary in space, and which ethical tradition shall be applied in this intercultural environment? How far is the principle of sustainability a guideline itself?
This includes questions such as: Who is allowed to travel into space, is this only about money? There are more and more satellites, what do we do with their junk after they break? Should we cooperate on the moon with companies to build a telescope on its other side, hidden from Earth? Finally, who may keep what has been extracted through asteroid mining? To whom does the asteroid belong? Are we allowed to exploit Mars just like that?
HINT: Project donations run through the University of Bern, so in Switzerland it is tax-deductable. Make use of this unique opportunity!
My project is special because ...
The application of the idea of sustainability on space is a hot topic. The project may appear futuristic, but why should ethics not keep up with the developments for once? An encompassing as well as practical ethics for the intercultural domain of our space environment nobody has tried before. A basically positive evaluation of our technique is – surprise – also quite new. At the UN level, specialists know about the problems, but a Sustainable Development Goal «Space Environment» is yet to be devloped. #SDG18 #globalgoals
This is what I need backing for.
For the project to run as smoothly as possible, I need to keep my world-class assistant Emanuel, who is worth every investment. I also need money for travel, e.g. to propose the 18. SDG at the UN space conference this summer (you are more likely to be accepted if you have your own money). Also, translations are important (we are talking about the whole planet here), to have a say within different research traditions, which costs money a well. Finally, I would like to extend my own (68%) position at least by a month.
Thereafter, hopefully a foundation will help again, because I think, planetary sustainability is a big thing.