Kjell Lindgren, Eagle Scout, assistant Scoutmaster, outdoor ethics advisor and NASA astronaut, has a unique view — literally — of Earth.
That’s at least in part why he’s so inspired to share with the rest of us the importance of taking care of it.
Last month, Lindgren took some time from his work on the International Space Station to send a video message to the volunteers at the BSA’s National Outdoor Ethics and Conservation Conference.
In it, Lindgren speaks passionately about the importance of conservation, shares how his time in space inspires him to Leave No Trace and thanks all of the conference’s attendees for everything they do to share the lessons of outdoor ethics and conservation with Scouts.
“As we look back at the Earth from this vantage point, we get to experience the vast beauty of our home planet,” he says. “It is indescribably beautiful, but it is also fragile. Our planet feels endless and inexhaustible, but from orbit it is clear that our planet has limits.”
Watch Lindgren’s message in its entirety below, and consider going full screen to best experience the remarkable video footage from space.
A long line of astronauts in Scouting
Lindgren was selected as an astronaut in June 2009 as part of NASA’s 20th astronaut class. He has participated in multiple space walks and more than 100 scientific experiments in space.
He is one of many NASA astronauts who were Scouts in their youth.
His passion for Scouting was clear earlier this year, when he took questions from Scouts live from outer space, and again with his message to the outdoor ethics and conservation conference.
In his video message, Lindgren draws some interesting parallels to his time on a space station to the time that Scouts spend in the outdoors.
“We … have the privilege of serving as stewards of the International Space Station, a vehicle that has survived the harsh environment of space for over 20 years,” he says. “We spend about 30% of our time taking care of this spaceship, conducting repairs and preventative maintenance, because it is profoundly clear that we cannot survive without it.
“The Earth — our spaceship — provides us with fresh air, food and water. The atmosphere protects us from radiation and temperature extremes. … And yet, most of us spend nowhere near 30% of our time caring for our home.”
Conservation is part of all Scouting programs
The Cub Scout, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scout programs all include outdoor stewardship, care for the environment and Leave No Trace as part of their programs.
The National Outdoor Ethics and Conservation conference is hosted by the National Outdoor Ethics and Conservation subcommittee, which provides resources for everyone teaching and promoting outdoor ethics in Scouting.
“So many of us that have the privilege to see the Earth from this vantage point return with a renewed desire to protect our planet — to conduct the maintenance and repairs needed to preserve our spaceship Earth,” Lindgren says. “The time that you have invested in conservation and education will preserve our open spaces, our environment and our beautiful spaceship Earth for Scouts, for our children and for generations to come.”