The astronaut who became an environmentalist

Most of us think that climbing to the top of a mountain, or gazing out the window of a commercial aeroplane is a pretty great view. It can be awe-inspiring, and a reminder of just how incredible our planet is.

That in mind, it's easy to see why NASA astronaut Scott Kelly was struck by the beauty of Earth while on his 340-day stint at the International Space Station. In fact, Kelly says that the experience of viewing Earth from the outside has made him more committed to caring for it: "It makes you more of an environmentalist after spending so much time looking down at our planet".

"The Earth is a beautiful planet. It's practically everything to us. It's very important to our survival”
- Scott Kelly

Kelly stressed the importance of caring for the environment in a press conference from the ISS: "There are definitely areas where the earth is covered with pollution almost all the time. And it's not good for any of us. There are weather systems that I've seen while I was up here that were places that were unexpected. Storms bigger than we've seen in the past. And this is a human effect. You can tell that that is not a naturally occurring phenomenon."

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Kelly also had a planet-strong lifestyle while in space, which included using recycled urine for drinking water. John Charles, chief scientist of NASA's Human Research Program, says that this is "a way of converting yesterday's coffee into tomorrow's coffee."

While not everyone can have the opportunity to be struck by the Earth's fragility from space, stories such as Kelly's are an important reminder that this planet is our home, and as such it is our collective responsibility to care for it.

Don't know where to get started? Check out these awesome articles on where to begin your journey as a climate activist!

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Images: Scott Kelly, Facebook

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