Charles Cockell, head of the Earth and Space Foundation, presents a idea that I was skeptical at the start of the book: that space exploration and environmentalism are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, he argues that advances in space exploration can bolster sustainability of our society, and vice versa. NASA is at the forefront of this area, both using satellites to observe and study the Earth's surface, and by developing technologies for astronauts to survive in space with limited resources. Conversely, advances in sustainability here on Earth can aid prolonged manned spaceflight missions.
Cockell provides abundant examples of the areas where space exploration and environmentalism intersect. The brilliant part, however, is where he brings their ideologies into sync. He clearly views it as mankind's *responsibility* to build human communities where we make sustainable use of resources available throughout the cosmos - both on Earth and in space - and by the time I was mid-way through the book, I found this conviction to be contagious.
This book is a refreshing and new view on how we could be thinking about building communities in an age when colonizing space is near our grasp.