Bob Schwartz

Why Space Colonization, Exploitation and Militarization Are Bad Ideas Right Now

Exploration has two faces. One is adventure, seeking the unknown because it is there—and unknown. The other is a search for land and resources. The two are often combined. Then there is the bonus benefit of technological progress. Genuinely dramatic advances. And Tang.

Whether earth-bound exploration has been beneficial depends on who you are, where you are and when you are. Numerous people have gotten to work and live better lives, some of them getting very rich. Other people got to live worse lives, if they lived at all. Nature and natural resources went from coexistence and reasonable use to abuse and unsustainable exploitation. That is on earth.

And now that this planet’s exploration, colonization, exploitation and militarization have left things FUBAR (look it up), we think it would be okay to forget about that for a while and focus on doing the same thing again with other off-earth targets. The moon, Mars, whatever.

History of course repeats itself, because people don’t change that much or that quickly. In the past, nations went into the business of exploration not only for the immediate gains but because other nations were exploring and they didn’t want to be left behind and vulnerable. The same rationale is being used right now for space exploration—and, among other initiatives, militarization (Space Force! Yeah!)

It’s not that we will go to the moon or Mars and subjugate or infect populations of aboriginal moon people or Martians. It’s just that with our track record, we will find a way of screwing things up. We almost always do.

Do You Use Wikipedia? Donate to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Do you visit Wikipedia once in a while? Once a day? Multiple times a day?

Wikipedia is operated by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, which is funded by donations. Astonishingly but maybe not surprising, only 1% of Wikipedia visitors contribute:

Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites in the world.

Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here. Not in Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others.

When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission efficiently.

If everyone reading this donated, our fundraiser would be done within an hour. But not everyone can or will donate. And that’s fine. Each year just enough people decide to give.

This year, please consider making a donation of $5, $20, $50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia.


Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia Founder

All of us—me included—have gotten used to being online freeloaders. The truth is, though, that as we wander through the orchard picking free fruit, somebody planted those trees, watered those trees, tended those trees, and helped them grow.

Please donate to the Wikimedia Foundation today, and tell your friends to donate. The next time you visit Wikipedia (probably within the next hour), you will know that you helped.