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When I was outside on my first space walk, I was on the dark side of the world over the
Indian Ocean and I shut off all the lights in my suit to let my eyes adjust.
And as I came south of Australia in the darkness, we drove through the southern lights and they
were like pouring underneath my feet and you could see all the colors of it and, I mean,
I had seen aurora from on the surface of the earth, but to be amongst them, to actually
directly be part of that interaction between the sun and the atmosphere and the magnetic
field all right there visually like a prism or a rainbow or something, that was a real
reality check of how it is all related and how the energy of the sun and the protection
of the atmosphere and the focus of the magnetic field all work together.
It really showed me that this is a system.
This is a planetary system.
This goes on all the time.
Most of the time, though, we just don’t see it, but this is going on constantly, all
the time, how all those things work together.
From orbit you get that type or perspective.
You see the fact that this is a complicated system that is subject to a lot of influences,
that is going on all the time.
One of the influences that is affecting earth itself, of course, is the beings that are
living on it.
Volcanoes erupting, but also the plant life and the animal life.
And over the last 100 years, I mean, gosh, our numbers have rocketed until seven billion
of us are ell simultaneously exhaling and eating and turning on our lights in our house
and starting up the engines in our cars.
Obviously that has an effect on the planet in amongst all those other things happening.
You can see some of those effects from space.
You can see with your naked eye.
If you come across Mexico City or Beijing, the pollution is visible from space.
It is like a grey, ugly smear on the surface of the world.
That this man made local climate change.
If you come across Asia...
On my very first flight there was a big inland sea, the Aral Sea.
It was still a relatively healthy body of water back in the early 90s.
But over the last 20 years, because of agricultural policies and irrigation policies, the Aral
Sea has gone from being the fourth biggest sea on earth, to being virtually non-existent.
It is dried up.
And we did it on purpose as a species.
We made a conscious decision to allow the fourth biggest sea in the world to turn into
a little stinking puddle.
What used to be a shore line is now empty sand and the remains of the fertilizer that
were drained into that sea for decades.
We are obviously changing the climate at a global level.
The key is: Who is going to be the person that is going to decide to change something?
We can’t wait for some other person to change it.
They don’t have the imperative to do it, especially if they are someone that we elected.
If we elected, they are just our representative and the real motivation comes to each of us
individually.
That is who has to make the change.
You can’t say they or him or her or it.
It is us or me or I that has to make the change.
And it is not going to be perfect and it is going to have to get a little bit critical
before people are truly going to feel enough pain or enough compunction to actually change
what they are doing.
And things are going to get worse before they get better.
But I am confident this isn’t the end of the world.
This is just a problem that we are facing that is going to change things, but we are
going to have to figure out a way to deal with it.
>> I am just...
>> Got enough light?
>> Yeah, I am wondering if the sun is setting on us there.
>> We can turn...
>> I...
>> The sun is not only setting on us.