Source: Quotes that Inspire, citizenempowermentandtransformation.org
Notes: The original source for that Rusty Schweikart quote can be difficult to find. The Schwikart quote is frequently used citizen organizer by Sam Daley-Harris, founder of RESULTS and the author of Reclaiming Our Democracy: Healing the Break Between People and Government.
The success of RESULTS in reducing global poverty over the past 35 years inspired the creation of Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL) around 8 years ago. CCL's sole purpose to create the political will for Congress to pass its carbon fee and dividend proposal. It does this by training and supporting volunteers nationwide how to engage elected officials, the media and the public.
To inspire new volunteers to get involved, CCL Executure Director, Mark Reynolds often shared this story about Rusty Schweikart when leading group start workshops:
'During the Apollo Mission in 1969, astronaut Rusty Schweikert was let out of the capsule on an umbilical cord. Usually NASA keeps the astronauts compulsively busy up there but a peculiar thing happened with Schweikert. Just as he emerged from the capsule, something went wrong inside the capsule; both the remaining astronauts and Mission Control in Houston had to concentrate on the problem and Rusty was left all alone floating around Mother Earth in complete cosmic silence...
Trained as a jet fighter pilot, he was a typical macho man, but a breakthrough of something bigger came washing over him at that moment in space...He was a red, white and blue American who believed what he had always been taught—that the world was divided between the “communist world and the free world.” Yet, while floating around Mother Earth he saw that rivers flow indiscriminately between Russia and Europe; that ocean currents served communist, socialist, and capitalist nations alike; that clouds did not stop at borders to test for political ideology; and that there were no nations.” Nations exist in the mind of the human race alone.
On Returning to NASA, Schweikert wandered around in a state of stupor for six months, asking himself repeatedly, “why did god do this to me?” Finally he concluded that God did this through him, so that others might hear the message. What message? Compassion, interdependence, shared beauty on this shining glistening planet. The holy earth. We must take such care of it, it must take such care of us.'
Earth is our home. We are the crew. May each one of us take full responsibility for its care.
Image Source: nasa.gov