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  April 27, 2017

Former Astronaut: Can't Hide Climate Data


Leland Melvin says we must use science to ensure our children's future
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Former Astronaut: Can't Hide Climate DataWOMAN: So, I must say... I am so proud to march with all of you today. Thank you.

CROWD: (cheering)

MAN: What do we want?

CROWD: Science!

MAN: How do we want it?

CROWD: Peer review!

LELAND MARVIN: I'm here because science has helped me get to space, and see the planet from the vantage point that cognitively shifted my brain to say, all of these systems are nothing but data and science, that we must ensure that we continue to study, so that we'll have a civilization in the next one hundred years.

KATHLEEN MAITLAND-CARTER: They say that people who have been in space and seen the planet, there has been a shift in consciousness, where they see the planet as a whole, and they don't see the divisions so much, between countries and people. Was that the case for you?

LELAND MARVIN: It was. It's called the orbital shift. It was this cognitive thing that happens when you're going around the planet every 90 minutes, seeing a sunrise and a sunset every 45 minutes. And when I had dinner with Peggy Whitson, who's up there now, the first female commander, Russians and Germans, who are people we used to fight against, it just breaks down all those barriers. And you see togetherness, you are going off to Afghanistan and Iraq and these places, and it's beautiful. And there are no boundaries, or borders, and it makes you want to work together better when you come home.

KATHLEEN MAITLAND-CARTER: And do you think we need to work together on this crisis called climate change?

LELAND MARVIN: Well, we need to pull together on every crisis that's going on, but especially climate change. I mean, I saw deforestation, I saw the Amazon burning, I saw all these things going on up there, that have to do with not ignoring the data, and we've got to look at the science. We look at glaciers that are calving, the size of Manhattan, and there has to be systems that are going on that are causing this, and I believe it's climate change.

KATHLEEN MAITLAND-CARTER: Human-caused climate change.

LELAND MARVIN: Yes. Definitely human-caused climate change.

KATHLEEN MAITLAND-CARTER: And then what would you say then to those, like the government, or people rolling back regulations, and also cutting research, and data collection on science?

LELAND MARVIN: Well, what was so disheartening, is when the new administration came in, and the data and the websites for the EPA and for... these organizations that have this repository of information, that's showing all these trends, were deleted. Were, you know, were closed. And I think once we start hiding things, and once we start putting our head in the sand, acting like things aren't happening, it will be the demise of our civilization.

KATHLEEN MAITLAND-CARTER: So, they're talking about increasing NASA's funding for space exploration. But, of course, decreasing funding to other areas, like planetary science and anything related to climate change. What do you think about that?

LELAND MARVIN: Well, you know, we've built satellites at NASA that have looked at the oceans, and looked at the temperatures of the oceans, and looked at CO2 emissions, looked at all these different things, and that's our Earth Science budget. And when that Earth Science budget was zeroed out, that's saying that these... they're saying that our planet is not important, because these are all things that monitor the health and well being of this spaceship Earth.

And so, once you do that, we're finding that you're not going to be able to tell what the trends are, or what the temperature changes are, or what's affecting these different systems on our planet. And you have to... you can't hide the data.

In 1968, Apollo 8 was going around the moon, and saw this earthrise picture, and they took a picture of it, and that picture helped fuel the Environmental Protection Agency. It fuelled the environmental movement. And so, we're coming up on 2018, which is the 50th anniversary of earthrise. What's going to happen in 2068, one hundred years from that iconic picture?

Are we going to have fish that we can eat out of the ocean? Are we going to be able to swim in the ocean? What is going to be there? So, we need to course correct now, to make sure that we get the data, so we know what's happening, so my grandchildren's grandchildren's grandchildren's grandchildren, who are born in 2068, can have a planet to safely thrive on.

MAN: What do we want?

CROWD: Science!

MAN: How do we want it?

CROWD: Peer review!

MAN: What do we want?

CROWD: Science!

MAN: How do we want it?

CROWD: Peer review!

MAN: What do we want?

CROWD: Science!

MAN: How do we want it?

CROWD: Peer review!

MAN: What do we want?

CROWD: Science!

MAN: How do we want it?

-------------------------

END



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