Space & Environment Conversation Team
updated 01-16-2009

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“Mother Earth & Father Sky” [code name]
The “Planet Earth & Space” Conference Proposal

From Peter Kokh, Moon Society President
Member, NSS Board of Advisors
An Opportunity

In December 2007, Moon Society Director, Dr. Peter Schubert first identified an opportunity for us to apply for EPA funds for a “broad-based” conference on "Climate Change" remediation measures.  With enthusiastic NSS support and engagement, and input from a handful of others, our ad hoc Moon Society-NSS team put together a specific proposal dubbed the "Planet Earth and Space Conference."

Rising to the Occasion

From the outset, we saw this as a perfect opportunity to start a constructive and productive “conversation” with the environmentalist community. Two of us on the committee, Lorreta Whitesides, wife of NSS Executive Director George Whitesides, and myself are dedicated members of both communities and have insight into why, both groups, equally dedicated to preserving our home world, continue to talk past one another: We come from different cultures.

Lorreta and I separately listed areas in which we thought conversation might be especially fruitful, and with that input, I drafted a key points proposal for a conference which would get such a conversation off on the right foot. Then Peter Schubert drafted the specific proposal which was endorsed by everyone on this ad hoc committee.

We then approached a “bridge group,” the Earth and Space Foundation whose leaders are personal friends of the Whitesides. They enthusiastically cosponsored the proposal. We managed to get the sponsorship of an environmental group also just in time for the January 8, 2008 first (of 3) submission deadlines.

This conference, if approved, and if successful, would bring together two constituencies that while driven by different cultures, are both focused on preserving Earth for future generations. The conference would address individual and local “here & now” approaches as well as long term space-based measures. We would show how development of some technologies needed in space will help here on Earth. If this conference were to go forward, and if it were successful to the point where we would want to do this every other year, that would be a big feather in our cap, promotion wise.

This conference may include workshops focused on potential benefits here and now of predevelopment of some of the technologies listed in the “Moon Society Game Plan”, as well as of biological life support issues and biosphere sustainability technologies. If we can get even some elements of both very stubborn constituencies to start talking to one another, that would be an achievement.

Disappointment: Back to the Drawing Board

Our bid to the Environmental Protection Agency for major funding for a unique Space-Environmental Conference, presented to EPA on January 8, 2008, was not accepted.

On Wed, May 7, Dr. Peter Schubert <> wrote:

Dr. Bernice Smith, the EPA program coordinator for the BAA on climate conferences explained in about 2 minutes why our proposal was not funded.

Of the 26 applications received, 17 passed the programmatic review, including ours.  But due to lower-than-anticipated funding, they were only able to select 2 winners. 

Regarding our approach, she said two things: 
(1) "at first the connection between space and climate was not obvious, but as we read the proposal, it became clear"; and
(2) the review committee, referring to our proposal noted:  "no outstanding concerns."

Because of the dearth of funding, round 2 has been canceled.  The EPA will still consider applications for the Dec 9th deadline.  We told her to expect to hear from us again.


a) Rebidding with a stronger presentation, specifically one cosponsored by more Environmental organizations. Submission date: early January 2009.

b) Putting on such a conference by ourselves (NSS, Moon Society, and environmental and bridge groups already aboard) – without prior funding.  Many an ISDC has been successfully conducted without major funding of any kind. (We personally favor this option) But we will also look for alternative funding.

NOTE: Some important documents were lost with Peter Kokh's laptop stolen from his home on March 23, 2008 (Easter Sunday) including Peter Schubert's final proposal to the EPA (we hope to recover this, and Peter Kokh's initial proposal for a conference structure (less sure that this can be recovered.)

The basic idea of using a bi-sponsored conference to begin a conversation between the "Mother Earth" Environmentalists and the "Father Sky" Environmentalists (space constituency) is valid
and it is very much in the Moon Society's long term interests to be engaged in this effort.



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