This planet is not terra firma. It is a delicate flower and it must be cared for. It’s lonely. It’s small. It’s isolated, and there is no resupply. And we are mistreating it. Clearly, the highest loyalty we should have is not to our own country or our own religion or our hometown or even to ourselves. It should be to, number two, the family of man, and number one, the planet at large. This is our home, and this is all we’ve got.
— SCOTT CARPENTER, MECURY 7 ASTRONAUT, SPEECH AT MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY, PENNSLYVANIA. 15 OCTOBER 1992
Godspeed, Scott Carpenter!
To Infinity, and beyond!
I love this quote, but I guess I’m still cynical enough (I’m not proud of it) that I wonder about its provenance (yeah, I see what it says about Millersville Univ.). A Google search (for what that’s worth) doesn’t turn up anything more than a couple years old, including a book called The Maya Book of Life: Understanding the Xultun Tarot.
I understand your cynicism, but have to point out that since the speech was from 1992, using a tool like the internet to verify its provenance may not be easy, or even possible… yet. Still, the quote is pretty popular, and I can’t find anything where he denied saying it. We have to remember that statistically very, very little of our past, even recent past, is on the internet. Hell, the internet hasn’t even “penetrated” to 66% of the world yet according to the latest numbers.
I’m much more inclined to believe the quote is his, since we know he was concerned about the environment as far back as his retirement from the Navy in 1969 when he founded Sea Sciences, Inc., partly to improve the environment. You may want to check out For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey Of A Mercury Astronaut. NAL Trade. pp. 384 pages. ISBN 978-0-451-21105-7, which Scott Carpenter wrote with Kris Stoever, and was published in 2003, where I believe he talks more about the environment.
Thanks, and I didn’t want to totally dismiss it, based on the reasons you just gave. (Really I didn’t want to dismiss it at all…)
No worries! I know we have to remain vigilant. I’m usually one of the first to say “citation needed”.
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