A new multimedia exhibition, “Space for our Planet”, opened Wednesday, 26 October 2022, at the Visitors Centre of United Nations in New York. The exhibition aims to introduce people to the solutions that Space activities can provide for ecological transition and a sustainable future.
Thirty five people from around the world – from fishermen to climate experts, astronauts to students, oceanographers to doctors – have been interviewed to examine how space technologies and applications play their part in the attainment of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were devised to motivate countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They acknowledge our need to create strategies for economic growth that put an end to poverty while responding to a whole range of social needs, especially education, health, social protection and employment, while fighting climate change and protecting the environment.
Space for our Planet explains how Earth observation by satellites provides scientists with essential data about glacial melting, the rise in sea levels, and meteorological events to help them analyse the impact of climate change and prepare to counter it. Communication and geolocalisation satellites connect us to the world’s remotest regions, improving access to health and education and reducing travel requirements.
The exhibition also looks at how astronomy can inspire younger generations and help to reduce inequality, how life on board the International Space Station is enabling us to experiment more sustainable approaches to production and consumption, and how space exploration is offering us different perspectives on our own planet.
Supported by the Group of Friends of UNOOSA, co-chaired by the Permanent Mission of Austria and the Permanent Mission of Zambia this opening event will highlight the benefits of “Space4ourPlanet” and the importance of space for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Introduced by the curators Fiorella Coliolo and Benoit Delplanque, the event saw the participation of Niklas Hedman, Acting Director, UNOOSA, Eduardo Ramos, Chargé D’Affaires a.i. Deputy Permanent Representative of Portugal to UN, Heriberto Saldivar, Head of Foresight, Strategy and Coordination Deartment, ESA, Sveva Iacovoni, President Spokesperson, ASI ; Maria Rosaria D’Antonio, Head of Administration, IAU ; Zainab Azim, GIVE Founder and Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut.
Fiorella Collolo and Benoit Delplanque, at the inauguration, after thanking the United Nations for hosting Space for our Planet, and Unoosa for its support, said: “When we started this project, we wanted to show the faces and listen to the voices of people who are actually benefiting from Space all over the world. We have these tremendous and powerful space technologies applications and sciences, but how do they benefit fishermen, schoolchildren, doctors, firemen, climatologists, and even artists? For the past 2 years, we have interviewed more than 35 witnesses from Niger to Ecuador, from Athens to Islamabad. The ultimate goal was to understand how Space is helping in the achievement of the SDGs. From there space for our Planet was shaped as an exhibition in multiple forms, and as a podcast. And they are constantly growing”.
Thanking the partners that were joining this initiative (ESA, European Commission, ASI, CNES, DLR, IAU, GIVE, Nereus and Portugal Space), the curators added: “We believe that space technologies and applications are sure to build a sustainable world. We strongly believe in a multidisciplinary approach to face global challenges and to inspire young generations. Our wish is to make Space for Our Planet touring around the world and accessible to All!”
Within the framework of the 17 SDGs all countries and stakeholders act in collaborative partnership to implement all goals and targets. The adopted agenda is designed to heal and secure our planet and space technology can contribute to, and initiate, action towards the implementation of the bold and transformative steps which are urgently requested to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path.
The exhibition is produced by TIMKAT, curated by Fiorella Coliolo, Astronomer, and Benoit Delplanque (TIMKAT), under the patronage of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). Founding partners of the exhibition are the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (Directorate General for Industry, Defence and Space – DG DEFIS). Partners include the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES), the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the German Space Agency (DLR), Portugal Space, the network of European space regions (NEREUS), the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the Canadian association GIVE (Global Initiative & Vision for Education).
So far, the exhibit has already been displayed in Paris, Brussels, Dubai, Toulouse, Bonn, Berlin, Trento and Rome. Next stop will be the harbor of Barcelona in November 2022 and Lisbon in 2023.