Chairman, Executive Committee
Inspire, Educate and Motivate!
As an organization dedicated to creating change we often ask ourselves what exactly it is that we need to do to achieve such change. Interestingly space exploration is a subject in which a great many people actually have an interest. The problem though, to borrow a phrase, is that that interest is a mile wide, but only an inch deep. The challenge therefore is to increase the depth of that knowledge, and two of our primary tools in that effort are education and advocacy.
To move forward with the kind of progress that we wish to see happen in space we must first raise the level of knowledge about space across many facets of society. To promote change in government programs, policies and legislation, there must first be an understanding of what is possible, and what options and opportunities are available. To be able to raise funds for commercial space projects financiers must be able to understand the business opportunities before they can adequately evaluate them. Even more fundamentally, there are markets for space products and services that will only emerge when more people have sufficient understanding of what can be done in space. All of these basic needs can be satisfied through greater education of the general public, which in its larger sense encompasses all the aforementioned groups.
Beyond the basic role of education is a more focused level of influence that comes through advocacy. It is one thing to raise the general level of awareness, but another to actually encourage people to adopt views and attitudes that support a specific stance designed to achieve NSSs goals. Again this advocacy needs to be exercised across a wide cross section of the community from politicians and bureaucrats through to the business and scientific sectors. Fortunately NSSs diverse membership base puts it in an ideal position to be able to achieve this.
While NSS as an organization carries out education and advocacy, it is in practice the individual members and chapters of NSS that perform this role. In fact our chapters and individual activists are the key means of delivering our message. The more members who take the time to arm themselves with knowledge about space, who educate others on this subject, and who actively advocate our views within their relevant spheres of influence, the faster we will see the spacefaring civilization that we all covet.