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Space Sustainability and Environmentalism

Space environmentalism, as coined by Lawrence, Rawls, Jah, et al. (2022) in a landmark piece, is the name given to the position that Space should be treated as its own environment, with all of the moral and political considerations that entails. 

Stars at Night


The areas of interest to space environmentalism can be divided into three broad categories: (1) low-Earth orbit debris, (2) launch and reentry emission, and (3) scientific, economic, and cultural impact.

My aim as a space environmentalist is to evaluate active and proposed missions in each of these domains, with a specific eye towards whether such missions preserve the moral autonomy and interests of all stakeholders. 



The next decades will see unprecedented expansion into Space. There is a pressing need for new ethical, legal, and social frameworks to guide our work in this new era. Much of my current work is in these domains.  


At the same time, proposals for satellite megaconstellations, launch and reentry emissions (including the choice of fuel propellant), and infrastructure development all have measurable climate impacts. These impacts, particularly as they apply to historically marginalized groups, should be given serious consideration in risk management analyses of current and future missions. 

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