Moon Landing, Meeting Current Needs, Ensuring Earth Remains Sustainable

Old-Glory
Apollo 11 moon landing. Astronaut Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. poses for a photograph beside the U.S. flag. Photo taken by Neil Armstrong.

We put a man on the moon 45 years ago. Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Six hours later, U.S. Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to step down onto the lunar surface, on July 21. As he stepped down from the space ship onto the surface, Armstrong declared “one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” Astronaut Buzz Aldrin followed and spent slightly less than six hours on the Moon’s surface. Astronaut Michael Collins piloted the command spacecraft alone in lunar orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned to the space ship for the trip back to Earth. They returned to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24. That’s the last time the United States set out to accomplish something really big in the world – something that had never been done before – and it succeeded, with flying colors!

Happy 4th of July to all!

We proclaimed ourselves to be a nation by publishing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….”

THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

We have been citing “The Pledge of Allegiance” since it was formally adopted by our representatives in the U.S. Congress in 1942. It reads as follows: “I pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Julius Bellamy, who wrote it as a young man while traveling in Massachusetts. He submitted it to a patriotic circular he became aware of called “Youth’s Companion”. “The Pledge” was published in the circular on September 8, 1892. Following its publication, Bellamy described his reasons for writing it and for its “careful wording”:

“It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence; with the makings of the Constitution; with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people…”. “The true reason for reciting allegiance to the Flag is … to make it clear that we are “One Nation” – the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches.”

Francis Julius Bellamy was born on May 18, 1855 in Mount Morris, NY. He became a First Baptist Church minister and married Harriet Benton in Newark, NY in 1881, raised two sons, and spent most of the last years of his life living and working in Tampa, FL where he died on August 28, 1931 at the age of 76.

Now, in 2014, few U.S. citizens and others living in the U.S. and abroad seem satisfied with where the United States of America stands in the world on many issues of concern. Wars are still raging on, with or without U.S. involvement it seems everywhere, and U.S. soldiers, foreign civilians, foreign soldiers, and even young children are dying, or being maimed, needlessly.

Billions of people in the world live in poverty, including millions of U.S. citizens and non U.S. citizen and young children living in the U.S.. Yet we hear in the media that there are more millionaires now in the United States than ever before, and that income inequality in the U.S. has reached an all-time high, especially adversely affecting African-American and Latino youth populations in the U.S. the most. Yet it seems clear the majority of our representatives in the U.S. Congress, and the men and women serving in our state Legislature, and Governor Scott Walker, must be content with the deplorable situation this country finds itself in in spite of the above ideals embodied in our country’s broad declarations.

And while this injustice continues to take place in America and in Wisconsin, [“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, dated 16 April 1963], human-caused global warming of our planet’s atmosphere and oceans and the resulting climate catastrophes, [California’s long-standing drought and high wildfire numbers; Hurricane Katrina devastation; Midwest flooding; Hurricane Sandy; Supertyphoon Haiyan …] which many credible scientists have said are linked to a warming climate and oceans, are evidence enough that we ought as society begin to act in major ways to begin significantly reducing our collective greenhouse gas emissions to the urgent degree that what’s happening to our planet now demands. Because the crisis that is emerging worldwide is the result of decades and even centuries of a collectively massive amount of fossil fuels being burned, and therefore equally massive volumes of greenhouse gases being released to the atmosphere from the combustion – combustion of oil, natural gas, diesel fuel, and coal in power plants, jet engines, automobiles, trucks, ships, motorized recreational and work-related equipment, generators, food processing facilities, and other transportation and recreational devises, mostly by those who can afford it, as well as increases in emissions of other potent greenhouse gases (eg. methane releases from natural gas pipes and oil drilling and fracking activities, where they are allowed), and the positive feedback releases resulting from a warming planet even more (thawing rotting permafrost region from warming temperature releases powerful greenhouse gas methane in larger and larger quantities, resulting in even more warming, even more thawing and rotting permafrost, and so on…; it is essential that we act now before it’s too late.

This problem should not be viewed as insolvable. However, the likely impacts should be planned for and ample adaptation measures taken by all. In doing this, we can be guided by the words of President John F. Kennedy spoken on September 12, 1962 before a crowd of 35,000 people in the football stadium at Rice University in Houston, Texas:

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

220px-John_F._Kennedy_speaks_at_Rice_University

As Albert Einstein said: “The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Click on “About this Blog” to read about a socially just approach aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time reducing economic inequality and poverty for people and families in the U.S. who demonstrate they burn significantly fewer fossil fuels over the course of a year than the average American.

This type of program (Conserve, NOW!) is doable and could be funded from reductions in capacity expansion of highways bridges, airports, power plants and major transmission lines, since the need (economic demand) for these costly and environmentally damaging tax-payer financed boondoggle projects would be reduced as a result of decreased use of fossil fuel derived energy by the public in driving cars, jet travel, home heating, electricity use, etc.. If need be, a carbon tax could also be applied to all fossil fuel combustion, no matter the use, to generate additional revenues for offering financial incentives to the everyone in the U.S. to reduce activities they engage in that require fuel burning.

In an April 23, 2013 interview with Space.com contributor Elizabeth Howell, Astronaut Eugene Cernan, who became the last man to walk on the Moon (in December 1972), shared his thoughts on how the Apollo missions achieved such grand success: “When Kennedy challenged us to go to the moon we didn’t know beans about it. “I was just a young lieutenant flying out in the West Pacific off aircraft carriers, and at that time I believed – and I think most other people did too – that they were asking us to do something that was impossible. And then all of a sudden we got involved – all of us. And the rest is history. Don’t tell me I can’t do it: I think that’s the America I grew up in.”

As Cernan prepared to climb up the lunar ladder for the last time on the Apollo 17 mission, the last maned spaceflight mission to the Moon, he paused and spoke these words:

“As I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I’d like to just (say) what I believe history will record. That America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus–Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.”

He and his crewmates returned to Earth on Dec. 19, 1972.

The cost of not proceeding with any major Congressionally approved program to massively conserve on burning fossil fuels, NOW, will surely ultimately be astronomical. The costs will not only skyrocket, ending up in the trillions of dollars, and but the number of human and other animal lives lost will likely end up in the billions, all because we already have and we are continuing to burn unsafe quantity levels of fossil fuels, which is now scientifically linked to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulations, rising surface and ocean temperatures, worldwide, and which is also scientifically linked to ultra-extreme weather climate disasters, such as the one presently being experienced at Okinawa, Japan. What more will it take for our government officials in the U.S. to begin taking appropriate scale actions?
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About Mike Neuman

Environmentalist; Father; Senior Citizen; Husband, School Crossing Guard; Green Bay Packer Fan; Wisconsin Badger Fan; Animal Lover; Humanitarian

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