Monday, November 22, 2010

Seeing with new eyes thanks to the space station and twitter

The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying the world — we've actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other. --- Joanna Macy

I'm as likely as the next mother to tell my kids to get off the computer and go outside, but I have to admit that one source of hope for me is the way that new developments in global communications seem poised to bring the people of our planet closer together than ever before.
I notice this in my work all the time. Tomorrow, for example,  I'll be offering a 'webinar' briefing on a climate study that will have me, in my home office in Vermont, connected to people not only in the US, but Europe, Asia, and South America. For 30 minutes, aided by GoToMeeting technology and the internet I'll be able to share important results about the implications of the Copenhagen Accord with concerned, knowledgeable people from around the world, people who will be able to do something with the information. And none of us will have spent a dollar on a plane ticket or burned any jet fuel to come together.
I've also recently begun to follow the 'tweets' of Astro_Wheels, an astronaut on the international space station who has been taking photos of the Earth from his vantage point and sharing them via "twitpic" (Did you know there is internet access on the space station, somehow?)
The photographs are breathtaking, but even more moving to me are the mixture of languages (and alphabets!) in the dozens  of comments beneath each picture. Seeing our shared home seems to elicit the same expressions of wonder and appreciation across cultures, nations, and languages.
Here are few of the comments in response to the photo above, of Japan at night:
wow coooooooooooll! im on this planet.
Thank you! Astro_Wheels! キャ~!!待ってましたよ。日本!綺麗ですね。海岸線が光のラインではっきりわかります。私の住んでる名古屋も輝いてます☆
que bella foto! gracias! increible saber que estoy en Güemes,Salta,Argentina y poder disfrutar
うわー!北海道から山陽山陰四国まで見えますね!I live 2cm point from the top of this photo!!ThanQ so much♡♡♡
huau muy buenas fotos¡¡¡ espero alguna de argentina
wow!!! very pretty!
maravilloso y sin igual esta imagen te deja sin palabras ....gracias
"It's my home country! I'm glad! I am hoping for safety of your voyage! Thank you! :-)"…From:One of these light."

These responses show who we are as a species, just as much as the needless wars, the painfully slow march to a global climate treaty, the unacceptable gap between rich and poor.

So yes, cooooool!! amazing, gracias,  Astro_Wheels. Keep the glimpses of our wholeness coming.

--from another one of these lights.

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