The Greater Earth Manifesto
Concepts for a New Humanistic Vision of Our Planet
Issue 3, Rev. 3 - 30 May 1998
[Revised and updated by Arthur Woods: 11 June 2016]
This Greater Earth Manifesto was the result of an extended online group discussion among space enthusiasts held in 1997-1998 with contributions by:
- Stephen Ashworth - Vice-President of Space Age Associates (United Kingdom)
- Adriano Autino - President of Technologies of Frontier (Italy)
- Marco Bernasconi - MCB Consultants (Switzerland)
- Daniel Christlein - German Representative of Space Age Associates (Germany)
- Michael Martin-Smith - President of Space Age Associates (United Kingdom)
- Arthur Woods - President of the OURS Foundation (Switzerland)
"Astronautical Humanism is based on a scientific view of the Universe, and naturally arrives to a system-oriented, evolutionary approach."
"In order the time could exist, the matter had to exist, then the shape, the change and, finally, the intelligent life, to appreciate the evolution, and to perpetuate it over its apparent natural (planetary) limits."
"As it is now feasible for Life on Earth to leave its home planet and to propagate in the cosmos and, as humanity has evolved in such a way to make that possible, the overriding argument may be: Does humanity have the moral right "not" to assist the spread of Life beyond Earth?"
"Man belongs wherever a keen eye, quick wits, and a strong right arm can take Him!"
"Stardust we are; to the stars we shall return."
Stephen Ashworth ...
(From a concept expressed by Carl Sagan)....
"Our future will be either A Space Age or a Stone Age."
"Of all investments into the future, the conquest of space demands the greatest efforts and the longest-term commitment - but it also offers the greatest reward: none less than a universe."
"The lifespan of a liberal technological civilization is inversely proportional to the cost of access to Space!"
"Nothing makes sense, without the People."...
- Space Power Systems on Moon or in Orbit - by Michael Martin-Smith
- A short story to Define Human Economy and Basic Ethics - by Adriano Autino
- A Preamble to the Greater Earth's Manifesto - by Arthur Woods
- About the name Greater Earth - by Arthur Woods
- We advocate and defend humanity's expansion into space as the most ethical task of the immediate future, as an enterprise both natural and urgently necessary to enable the continuity of (terrestrial) life and (modern) civilization confronted with the apparent limits of their (growth) success.
- By the term 'Greater Earth' we mean a spherical region of space, centered on the Earth, where the gravitational influence of our home planet dominates the motions of any object. This region has a radius of approximately 1.5 million km. extending up to the L1 or L2 Lagrange points, marking the outer border of Greater Earth. We regard this region as the true extension of planet Earth.
- We acknowledge that life strives to penetrate, occupy and utilize all localities within its reach to further its survival and expansion. We defend the right, for humanity, to accede to a greater ecological niche.
- We assert the high ethical value for humanity to expand its activities for its procreation and survival throughout the entire Solar System and in all the territory within the range of its cultural, technological and philosophical means.
- We defend humanity and its further development as a cultural and sentient species against any against any restrictive programs. We are dedicated to the survival and continuation of the development of humanity in all aspects.
- We recognize that the human species, above all a terrestrial species, has demonstrated its success by exerting conscious control and direction of its own evolution and by becoming able to actively avoid extinction.
- People are resources and not problems. The main problem is bureaucracy, since it is not able to involve and account for human patrimony.
- Against the obsolete and dangerous paradigm of the Closed World (or "Spaceship Earth", according to the Club of Rome definition), we affirm the concept of an Open World, with new horizons of development for all humanity and for all life.
- We recognize the urgent need to meet the basic and anticipated needs of humanity through the utilization of near Earth resources - not for the in-situ support of science or exploration - but rather to apply these resources and/or their products for use on Earth at a conspicuous level by finding new ways to accommodate and to integrate the growing human population into viable ecological and economical systems beyond the atmosphere of Earth.
- We reject any concept that places limits - either voluntary or involuntary - on the rights of human beings to develop their innate potential.
- We are for cultural openness, without discrimination based on skin color, gender, religion or creed except where these are themselves considered to be anti-human. We apply the concept of Open World in all aspects of human activities and relations.
- We place our trust in the human scientific and technological culture as tools that can enable humanity to move beyond over the present crisis of growth. We point out the error of relying on the nature as the presumed repairer of human errors. We support and promote the scientific method, everywhere and at any level.
- We propose a Cosmic Destiny for the human species. Unconscious life expands to occupy all available niches: yet, it's unable to escape extinctions imposed by the natural cycles of the parent planet. Thanks to technology, only intelligent life can now prevail taking beyond the home planet by extending its civilization and its culture to the otherwise empty and barren spaces.
- We consider humanity master of its home planet and of the Solar System as the only self-conscious species and the only one with the means to exercise its responsibility over the rest of nature.
- We perceive the present ecological issues as being soluble only on a human and cosmic scale and not on a natural and terrestrial one.
- We praise human thought as the maximum expression of life on this planet and declare its varied creativity of supreme essence. We defend all achievements of human thought be they cultural, scientific, moral, technological or civil.
- We are for the analytical study of nature in order to understand its functioning and to copy its mechanisms as a basis upon which to perpetuate the conditions of a life sustaining environment for our species.
- We promote the New Growth concept, based on a quantitative and ethical analysis of the character of the finite Earth when compared to the Universe, and we reject the anti-libertarian, empty and hopeless plan of sustainability.
- Our first duty and commitment is towards humanity.
- We call ourselves New Humanists, because we add a new vision to the classical Humanism that is determined by the specificity and extreme criticality of our epoch.
- Since we believe that the above duty can only be accomplished by taking the "Road to Space", we also call ourselves Astronautical Humanists.
- Our humanistic vision is not due to an outdated anthropocentric ethic. We see the history and evolution of life as a dynamic process. Our analysis brings us to state that humanity must take care of itself, especially in this current critical phase. This historical passage sees our species at our maximum success and maximum risk of failing the next evolutionary step that, for first time, is strictly dependent on our innate intelligence.
- Our engagement is not only to help the survival of humankind, but also to further the continuation and growth of human culture and civilization. We consider humanity's developing culture and civilization as the highest essence of our human nature. When we speak about survival of the humankind, we mean cultural continuation and growth because the survival of our species as an unconscious animal would be nonsense.
- We reject any abstract concept of humanity. When we speak about humanity we mean the total population of all currently living human beings including their range of hopes and despairs.
- Regarding humanity as the first priority and rejecting any mythicizing of nature, we assert our responsibility to take care of the environment as it is indispensable to human survival. Therefore, we accept this responsibility toward the other terrestrial forms of life as a duty of our intelligence.
- Human growth cannot continue on this planet beyond a certain limit, since the resources of our home planet are not infinite.
- Even if current science cannot yet precisely determine what the above mentioned limit is, we are dramatically aware of the danger represented by uncontrolled human growth within a closed environment. A lack of resources accompanied by environmental and geopolitical problems are urgent warnings to humanity to find and provide possible solutions.
- While we are aware of the danger represented by too large a population, we also point out the danger to humanity represented by a possible decline in the societal structure due to the misguided politics of demographic inversion and policies to reduce development.
- We observe that the largest numerical growth of the human species took place in the 20th century (from less than one billion to seven billion) and that this process was accompanied by unprecedented technological and cultural growth.
- The present age is possibly the most critical era that humanity has ever faced. We have an enormous patrimony - seven billion intelligent human beings - but this patrimony could quickly become our ruin if we fail to turn it into viable projects of real development.
- We also observe that the human economy and progress are positive developments coinciding with the continual growth of markets, technology and culture.
- We proclaim that the human population in total represents Earth's greatest resource and is the ultimate source of its creativity, dynamism, and hope.
- In general terms, a growing trend is very important for different factors, namely: to have fresh and increasing intelligent beings to keep the spirit of human enterprise high and to keep the economy growing. The above factors are all necessary for a humanity to become a spacefaring species.
- In order to continue its growth, humanity must provide long term solutions. Among such solutions, to realize that the development of outer space is a sine qua non condition, a real imperative, without which, all the other solutions will lead to less positive results.
- It has also been also observed that when living standards increase and women attain higher social positions, the birth rate decreases naturally. We think that an increased standard of living for all humanity is the best birth control and we trust that a new space economy can positively help this process.
- We remark that the anthropological behaviors of advanced societies are also present some negative factors, such as: fear of the future, unwillingness to bear children into an imperfect world, a personal sense of guilt for consuming too many resources. These factors often cause the most sensitive personalities to exclude themselves from the continuation of the species. We believe that the expansion of human civilization into the region of Greater Earth will bring with it the promise of hope and confidence in the future for advanced and developing societies alike.
- We are for a strategy of controlled growth in order to keep growth positive, and to avoid any collision with available resources and the environment. At the same time we declare that we are, and will be, against any coercion - be it physical or psychological - of the human right to procreate and to continue the individual genetic lines of each human being.
- As we clearly indicate, as our main priority, the building of new life sustaining environment for a growing humanity. If the human family increases, the solution is - not to eliminate some of its members - but to involve them all in building a larger home.
- In the remaining years of this century human population and survival will be determined by the sustainable limits of the terrestrial ecosystem of Earth alone. Our concept of sustainability encompasses the entire territory and energy and mineral resources contained in the area of Greater Earth.
- We assert the human right to use all forms of nonhuman life, both animal and vegetable, for food, survival and the development of scientific knowledge. At the same time we oppose any form of avoidable cruelty against the animal and vegetable forms of life.
- We assert that the human domination over the rest of the nature sharing our planet within our range of action must be gentle and respectful to all forms of life.
- While terrestrial science has reached a certain capability to classify the animal vegetable species on our home planet, the analytic behavior must be multiplied several times with the approach to extraterrestrial environments, because non-terrestrial life could present itself in very unfamiliar forms.
- We are aware that by expanding into extraterrestrial environments, humanity will reconfigure the territory to support terrestrial life. We consider this step unavoidable for its survival and cultural continuity, as well as the continued use of animal and vegetable forms of life for nourishment.
- Toward all possible newly discovered non-intelligent forms of life we shall observe the following ethical behavior: (i) assure our survival by isolating us from possible dangers (ii) be gentle and respectful as much as possible, (iii) analyze their biology, (iv) try to understand if such forms of life can be useful in some way for our survival.
- In general terms, we state that no human being should be left alone without the help of his fellow human beings. The astronautical humanists will make every effort to link to real life social structures and instances, in order to collectively build the thoughts and the language of a new humanism.
- No scientific discipline should be developed without the help of the other disciplines of human knowledge. We stand for a much more integrated approach to the subject of science and ethics and we call for a horizontal, global, interdisciplinary cross-fertilization of all scientific research endeavors.
- The scientific community needs the help of the humanists. Humanists, as well as all societal structures, need the help of the scientific community. All co-operations, collaborations and cross fertilization between the humanistic and the scientific communities are highly desirable.
- By modelling our new humanistic vision of a Greater Earth, our main purpose is to nurture and expand human activities beyond Earth's atmosphere, in order to harness the resources that are there available. This is our clear political choice and commitment, as a means to avoid any future conflict for the control of the decreasing terrestrial resources.
- We identify those resources contained or transient within the gravitational sphere of Greater Earth to be natural resources belonging to all humanity, and thus are subject to utilization for its benefit. This includes the energy passing through this sphere as well as the physical resources of the Moon and various asteroids.
- All humanity is strategically interested in the expansion of human activities into Greater Earth and beyond and in the acquisition and use of the available resources existing there in order to fight impoverishment, disenfranchisement, war, oppression, the degradation of the biosphere and the destruction of terrestrial life.
- We recognize the urgency of exploring, acquiring and utilizing the resources within Greater Earth for the survival of all terrestrial life. Furthermore, a failure to utilize the natural territory of Greater Earth may result in the eventual decline and destruction of present human civilization.
- We envision the following strategic goals:
- Space Power Systems on the Moon and/or in orbit;
- Permanent industrial and scientific settlements on the Moon and via artificial orbiting platforms;
- Artificial small ecosystems research settlements on the Moon and/or in orbit;
- Orbital and lunar defenses against potential impacts by other celestial bodies;
- Orbital medical research and hospital centers;
- A shielded astronomical observatory compound at an appropriate location such as L2 or on the far side of the Moon.
- We emphasize the importance of the astrobiological aspects of space research into the development of new ecosystems to sustain life within the boundaries of Greater Earth and to spread life beyond its borders.
- We indicate that the radius of Greater Earth is delimited by the "Point of Liberation", for the spread of life originating on Earth throughout the Cosmos.
- We assert the importance of related space developments as they interface with all other aspects of human endeavors within Greater Earth.
- We believe that all means are to be used, private and governmental, to develop a new economy based on the occupation and exploitation of Greater Earth. All the means that encourage and give rise to human creativity, association, and reaching forward to occupy this new territory should be promoted.
- We maintain that developing the environment of Greater Earth will not only enhance prosperity and well-being of its occupants but will also promote the survival of the species.
- We believe that the economic aspects of the Greater Earth development are quite different from anything before.
- We believe that real wealth is not measured in monetary terms but in human progress and potential human work. Humanity has never had such great wealth before in its history.
- Economy deals with inflation and depression, not only with Return of Investment: the opening of a new economic horizon will generate enthusiasm and stimulate the economy.
- The emergence of a space based economy and culture will rejuvenate the terrestrial economy over the years, giving birth to a shared commonwealth far greater than mere monetary investment.
- Our beliefs are liberal, democratic, libertarian and anti-authoritarian. We act in the interest of all humanity.
- We aim for a new spirit of cooperation among all members of the human family regarding these as our brothers and sisters.
- We trust in the great capability of life to industrialize and express itself in its diversity. Humans, which are the highest expression of life and the dominant species on planet Earth, have the responsibility to promote the survival and well-being of all other forms of life which shares the home planet.
- We praise and promote the diversity of nature in general. On humanity with the matrix of nature, we proclaim the value of all cultures. We fight for the full realization of the human potential.
- We reject the idea that scientific and technological research is the fundamental cause of our environmental and ecological problems and any assumptions which would limit progress in these areas.
- We are against the idea that humanity can resolve the environmental and ecological problems by diminishing scientific and technological research.
- We defend the concept of open scientific and technological research and the universal dissemination of its results.
- We claim that the scientific method belongs to the whole of humanity, and not only to an elite part of it. Even an illiterate farmer, when he experiments with different ways to grow his plants, and takes note of the results in his mind, applies the scientific method.
- We maintain that intelligence can and must be educated and nurtured by all the humans. Humanity’s problems need the help of everyone.
- We propose that the opportunities of Greater Earth should be shared without exclusion.
- We reject and condemn any repressive political practices that prohibit the freedoms of expression and the rights to life, happiness, prosperity and justice.
- We welcome all assistance to promote the vision and the potential of the Greater Earth concept.
- We accept the responsibility to take the discussion and the politics of the Greater Earth concept to the general public.