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LIVING GLOBES SOCIETY

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

~ Albert Einstein

OVERVIEW

As Einstein unfortunately predicted, the world is being destroyed. Every day brings more news about ruinous wildfires, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, erratic weather with unprecedented blizzards and extreme heatwaves, deadly hurricanes, widescale droughts, and the list goes on and on. In short, planet Earth is in distress.

The Living Globes Society is a start-up Delaware non-profit corporation with IRS tax exempt 501(c)(3) status whose Vision is to foster a deeper connection between humanity and the Earth, and whose Mission is to place affordable spherical displays called “Living Globes” providing real-time satellite images of the Earth in a myriad of homes and public places as one solution for the planet’s distress.

Why is the Earth in such distress? Many people have offered their own reasons, from the unchecked use of fossil fuels to the changes in human activity since the Industrial Revolution. At the Living Globes Society, we would like to offer another, more basic explanation: We have forgotten how to connect with the Earth.

We say “forgotten” because for thousands of years, those who lived close to the earth – which all our ancestors did at some point – felt and knew through experience that the Earth and all of nature is alive and communicating. The Aborigines of Australia, the Maori of New Zealand, and the Native American tribes all knew this and still do. So did the Incas, calling the Earth Pachamama, the Mother Earth Goddess. Today, for the first time in history, the constitution of Ecuador establishes Pachamama as a legal entity. Bolivia also has laws recognizing the rights of Mother Earth as a sacred, dynamic living system. All this was and is not based on superstition or religion; it was based on the experiences of those who lived close to the Earth. So, no one would think of doing anything to the Earth that they would not do to their best friend.

That’s no longer true in the “modern” world, and the results are clear and obvious. If we want to stop the destruction of the Earth – and save ourselves in the process – we must change the relationship between humanity and the Earth, which begins by seeing the Earth in a different light.

Many of the astronauts who saw the Earth from the moon said it changed the way they viewed the Earth. Apollo 15 astronaut Alfred Worden said, “Now I know why I’m here ‒ not for a closer look at the moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth.”

Ron Garan, a highly decorated former NASA astronaut who spent 178 days in space along with 27 hours in four spacewalks, experienced “immense gratitude for the opportunity to see Earth from this vantage, and for the gift of the planet we’ve been given.” He says, “You want people to have that shift in perspective, to think planetary. You want them to come out and solve problems in context of the real world in its entirety, to solve multi-generational problems, not slap band-aids on things.”

Space philosopher and author Frank White called this the “Overview Effect,” and defined it as “a profound reaction to viewing the earth from outside its atmosphere.”[1] This Overview Effect has been described by many astronauts as one of the most meaningful moments of their lives.[2] The most prominent common aspects of personally experiencing the Earth from space are appreciation and perception of beauty, unexpected and even overwhelming emotion, and an increased sense of connection to other people and the Earth as a whole. The Overview Effect can cause changes in the observer’s self-concept and value system and can be transformative.[3]

But we can’t send everyone into space to change the way they relate to the Earth. What we can do, however, is give as many people as possible the opportunity to see the Earth as it really is – in real time – the way the astronauts saw it, using technology that’s already available.

Fortunately, researchers have found, for example, that virtual reality (VR) technology can elicit components of awe-based experiences and can induce minor cognitive shifts in a participants’ world views similar to those of the Overview Effect.[4] Early photos of Earth taken from space have also inspired a mild version of the Overview Effect in earthbound viewers. Those images became prominent symbols of environmental activism and have been credited for raising the public’s consciousness about the fragility of Earth and expanding concern for the long-term survival on a finite planet.[5]

What if millions of homes across the planet had the Earth sitting on their coffee table – or hanging from their ceiling like a chandelier – showing the whole globe as it exists in that moment with real-time images? Would the Earth come alive for them? Would they change their relationship to the Earth and begin treating it differently?

As the English astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle said, “Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from outside, is available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.”

Rather than sit by and watch the Earth be destroyed, the Living Globe Society will take positive steps to deepen the connection of humanity to the Earth by affording the opportunity for as many people as possible to see the Earth as it needs to be seen – by placing “living globes” (at no profit) all over the planet.

EDUCATION PROGRAM

(20% of our time and resources are allocated to this program)

The initial activity for the Living Globes Society will be to encourage the general public to connect more deeply with the Earth and point out the obvious ramifications all around us of having forgotten how as a culture. The educational program will consist of a number of activities including an ongoing podcast featuring various guest speakers and researchers; international conferences and symposiums featuring representatives from those cultures who have always believed the Earth was alive; a social media campaign utilizing Facebook, Instagram, and other internet sites; a TedTalk by Living Globes Society President, Sten Linnander, who is the founder and motivating force behind our company; among other things.

The mission of this educational activity will be to get the public to realize that continuing to ignore the Earth as a living being will virtually guarantee the ultimate destruction of our planet and us as a human species. As this education program continues, we intend to build a virtual Society that not only understands the importance of connecting with the Earth but seeks and supports ways to assist in this cognitive shift for all of humanity, and therefore will be open to and desirous of having a Living Globe in their own home.

FUND RAISING

(15% of our time and resources are allocated to this program)

To accomplish our Vision and our Mission, we are going to need a lot of financial support. Our first target is a rock-solid Business Plan to show potential Grantors and Foundations when asking for their money. The current estimate for the Business Plan and its execution is $250,000 over the next couple of years. Therefore, activity will begin immediately applying for the funds to create this Business Plan.

Next would come the execution of our Education program with a budget of $100,000 (for 2023-24). As our Education program takes hold and we start to build a Society, we could begin crowdfunding as well with GoFundMe, KickStarter, and social media appeals in addition to the grants and foundation support.

Finally, our fundraising efforts will be focused on the creation and distribution of the living globes themselves, looking for corporate sponsors to subsidize the placement of our Living Globes for free in various public places and families in “emerging countries.”

THE LIVING GLOBES PROGRAM

(45% of our time and resources are allocated to this program)

Although we already have a prototype of a living globe, the images are not yet in real time (10 minutes or less), and there are still some major decisions to be made about the final globe design that will be the most efficient and cost-effective.  For example, do we create globes by projecting the images on the surface, which is the technology that has been used so far for existing globes, or do we develop a spherical display technology using micro-LEDs, which would increase the luminosity and the resolution, and would cost much less to mass produce?

Once we make the final design decisions, we can find the best manufacturer and get a delivery schedule. It is at this point that we will go public with the Living Globes as a viable solution to changing the way humanity views the Earth.

This will also make It possible for us, and perhaps others, to write apps which use our Living Globes for educational and other purposes.

IMAGES PROGRAM

(10% of our time and resources are allocated to this program)

The Living Globes will be connected to the Internet via WiFi and Bluetooth to enable the real-time images to be transmitted to the globes and then displayed on the globes’ surface, either by projection or using micro-LED screens. Either way, the process will involve acquiring the real-time images (no more than 10 minutes old) for many parts of the globe, along with other supporting images (no more than 1-hour old) for those areas of the globe for which there are no more up-to-date satellite images available – at the poles, for example. These various images then have to be blended together to produce the whole globe and transmitted to the individual Living Globes for transmission to their surface. This will require developing a blending process, setting up the internet server(s), and establishing the transmission. It is anticipated that there will be a small monthly fee (at cost) for users to connect their individual Living Globes to this service.

At the present time, all the images needed are already available from various sources such as NOAA, NASA, Landsat, MODIS, ASTER, ESA and others. However, contracts and fee structures will need to be worked out with the various suppliers.

MARKETING

(10% of our time and resources are allocated to this program)

When the Living Globes are ready for distribution, we will launch our marketing plan to begin placing these globes in homes and public places in every corner of the planet. Initially the marketing plan will rely on the Society of followers built by the Education program, whom we have surveyed and kept active and involved over time with newsletters, conferences, podcasts, social media, etc.

As grants and foundation support comes in, along with crowdfunding and corporate sponsorship, Living Globes will subsidize the sale of the globes so that the cost is affordable for all, and donate globes as much as possible to other non-profit organizations such as libraries, schools, and museums, especially in low-income countries. The sale of Living Globes to those who can afford to pay full price will enable us to place Living Globes in “lower-income families” and underserved populations.


[1] White, F. (1987). The overview effect: Space exploration and human evolution. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

[2] Psychology in Acton, January 1, 2017, “The Overview Effect”

[3] Yaden, David B.; Iwry, Jonathan; Slack, Kelley J.; Eichstaedt, Johannes C.; Zhao, Yukun; Vaillant, George E.; Newberg, Andrew B. (2016). “The overview effect: Awe and self-transcendent experience in space flight”. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice3 (1): 1–11.

[4] Stepanova, Ekaterina R.; Quesnel, Denise; Riecke, Bernhard E. (May 22, 2019). “Understanding AWE: Can a Virtual Journey, Inspired by the Overview Effect, Lead to an Increased Sense of Interconnectedness?”. Frontiers in Digital Humanities. Frontiers Media.

[5] Sir Fred Hoyle, an English astronomer, 1948 (https://www.azquotes.com/author/6972-Fred_Hoyle)