If you’re anything like me you get a lot of your information online through various news and social media sources. This is great, as it puts the most up-to-date news in front of you instantly. But sometimes it’s nice to sit down and open up a book – yes, a real live book with pages you turn and non-clickable text (gasp!) – and explore a topic much more intimately than you normally could in a web article.
As a member of the “OP release crew” I recently had the opportunity to do precisely that with a pre-release copy of Ron Garan’s book The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles. A decorated fighter pilot, astronaut, and entrepreneur, Ron has logged 178 days in space and over 71 million miles in orbit (hence the title.) He is the founder of the nonprofit social enterprise incubator Manna Energy Foundation and is also the founder of Fragile Oasis, which uses the orbital perspective to inspire positive social and environmental action. During his time living and working in space over the course of two missions – shuttle mission STS-124 and Expedition 27/28 aboard the ISS – as well as participating in various humanitarian programs on Earth, Ron has developed a sense of acute awareness of the interconnectiveness of humanity, of how we really are “all in this together.” Unfortunately, regardless of how beautiful our planet looks from orbit there’s no denying that living conditions in many places around the world are belied by that beauty. Having seen the world first-hand from both viewpoints, Ron has become aware of the paradox but doesn’t feel that it has to be “just the way things are” – he believes we have the ability to change things on a global scale but only if we work together… only if we can achieve an orbital perspective.