A pioneering astronaut's final speech on the sickness (and salvation) of our planet

Last year, The Netherlands lost its pioneer shuttle autronaut Wubbo Ockels. More than a 'regular' space austronaut he considered himself to be an astronaut of spaceship earth, stimulating and promoting sustainability and the use of renewable energy. I had the honor of meeting him several times. He also attended and spoke at two of our solar energy related conferences.

E-W.jpg
Wubbo Ockels speaking at our "The Solar Future: NL '12" event

Wubbo Ockels speaking at our "The Solar Future: NL '12" event

I've gotten to know him as an inspring, open, personally interested, enthusiastic and visionary person, always open to learn about new initiatives focused on improving the future of mankind, while saving our precious planet. While others spend much time on talking, Wubbo rather spent his time on actually doing something. With his head in space and his feet on the ground he knew that saving earth is a top priority and acted from 'inside' the atmosphere to actually develop solutions for our challenges.

On his very last day on spaceship earth, Wubbo recorded a moving speech (which has been made available only recently), which you can view and read below. In an emotional and striking manner he made a final appeal to all of us to do our bit and help save the earth from its sickness. 

To us at Solarplaza, this was a good wake-up call and motivation to kick off the new year. We have a clear mission and will try to do our part in promoting and facilitating clean energy!
If we would all have a tiny part of his visionary spirit and energy, we may yet have a bright future ahead for speaceship earth! 


We need some luck.
Some other spacecraft.
Something.
Because what we have now is going to be finished.

As an astronaut you feel excluded to a particular group of people.
Those are the people which are the majority, they are you.
Unaware of the danger in which we live.

But now suppose I’m going to change all of you.

Suppose I can transfer the experience which I have to you.
Then you would go out and see the earth and YOU would see the blue sky, not the blue sky which you see when you go outside...

In space you see that you’re the only one.
You’re the only planet.
You have no spare.

And so you have to take care, of this one and only planet.

Our earth has cancer. I have cancer too.
And most people with cancer, they die.
Well in fact, everybody will die.
But there are enough people to continuously survive mankind on the earth.

We need to conserve our own planet.
And you, when you have the spirit and the insight and the attitude of an astronaut, you start to love the earth in a way other people can’t. And if you really love something, you don’t want te lose it.

You know, my wife, she doesn’t want to lose me. She wants to do everything so I get to stay alive. That’s the love and attitude which humankind should feel towards the earth.

We do not have fifty percent of our roofs covered with solar.
We do not have more than half of our cars electric.
We certainly do not have a production in which there is a reasonable amount of materials recycled.
We don’t have any of these things.

And then the question comes: “well, what’s wrong?”
What’s wrong with the mindset... I’m sure but I can’t claim it., but when I heard on 18 April 2013 that I had a very bad cancer - damn kidney cancer, that also changed into a sarcomatoide, which means that it slipped through all kinds of things - my beautiful doctor said: “you have a fair amount of time”. And of course each time I asked him: “What does ‘fair’ mean?” And then he was not very accurate, but he said: “well, months, maybe a year.”

I got over a year. And a good year. Because I believe there’s a good future. And I believe you can do things with the power, with the mindpower.

We. We, people. Coming from the same molecules out of one bloody strong star which bursted out.
We, who have developed over billions of years: life.
Life is made by us.
We, humanity are so strong that we can save the earth.
But we also can destroy it.

Even a small thing, does something.
— Wubbo Ockels

Wubbo Ockels

Wubbo Johannes Ockels (March 28, 1946 – May 18, 2014) was a Dutch physicist and an astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA). In 1985 he participated in a flight on a space shuttle (STS-61-A), making him the first Dutch citizen in space. After his astronaut career, Ockels was professor of Aerospace for Sustainable Engineering and Technology at the Delft University of Technology.
— Wikipedia
 

Images: ESA/NASA