Blue Origin Trip: People, Earth, Space and Environment

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and Blue Origin, the richest man on the planet and a lot many adjectives that are used for him – finally and quite successfully monetized space travel in the eyes of the Earthlings.

Jeff Bezos launches to space aboard New Shepard rocket ship - BBC News
Commercial Astronaut Bezos in his maiden space voyage.

To begin with, he thanked and congratulated all earthlings for this success. He added that it was we, the people and all the employees of Amazon who had paid for it. Well, he isn’t exactly lying. And we could be thankful to him too, for he has successfully monetized space travel – something we all wanted to hear as kids – well maybe not the monetization part. But it will be this monetization that will fuel more companies to enter into the market. Elon Musk has already worked a lot on reusable space crafts, not to forget that many space agencies – the most prominent being ISRO in India are working to create cheaper means of launching cargo and satellites into space and there are many private space-based start-ups opening up too. Maybe in a decade, space travel will be accessible to at least the upper middle class across the planet.

But should we really thank Jeff Bezos? Opening space for travel opens space for greater amount of debris and maybe a push for institutions all around the world to find out ways to tackle an already existing problem. To add to that, Space travel and Musks’s goal of colonising Mars are but only more incentives to reduce budget on the environment in the long run. Sounds like a dystopian Science Fiction but history points out to the facts that when man was not bound by citizenship laws, forests and agrarian lands have gone barren only because they had options. It is this history that has pushed us towards all the environmental litigations we know of. Will we be as enthusiastic about them if Mars colonies were a reality? As Musk has himself repeatedly stressed that Earth might no longer be livable. Well, scientifically, it is livable upto another 4.5 billion years. But we, the people and the way in which we living beings influence the climate might not allow the planet to see more than 500 years from now. And we are not to be shamed about it. Our education, our governments and our media is more accountable than we are. These are the institutions that tell us what and how the world is. And unfortunately, we believe that is the way the world is.

So, should we or should we not support a scientific and technological advancement?

The answers don’t really lie with anyone. While Bezos travelled to space and Musk revolutionised reusability of the crafts, we still saw public demonstrations in South America against the change in fishing litigations, India against the allegedly anti-environment and corporate-friendly revisions in Environment Impact Assessment Law draft and in Brazil against the government’s decision to not do a lot about the Amazon fires. Humanity still loves this Earth and while in a distant future, capitalism can shame people for doing so, it is increasingly unsuccessful right now. And let us not only keep it that way, but also create ways to add to that love.