Science and Exploration

The Overview Effect, A Catalyst For Systems Change (Part II)

By Keith Cowing
June 21, 2022
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The Overview Effect, A Catalyst For Systems Change (Part II)
The Overview Effect
Christine Tan

As beautifully coined by Frank White, one of the most influential space philosophers of our time, the Overview Effect is described as a cognitive shift in awareness that occurs when one views the Earth from space.
This experience has often been marked by descriptions of a profound understanding of the beauty, wholeness, and interconnectedness of our home planet and a consequent shift in identity or worldview that embraces this reality. Many astronauts return with a renewed sense of responsibility, love, and deep care for our spaceship Earth and all others they share the planet with.

How does working to amplify the Overview Effect relate to systems change? In Part Two and Three of this series, I invite you to consider the Overview Effect as a tool for systems change not just because of how it transforms paradigms but also because of the class of paradigms it moves us towards. The paradigms that emerge from the Overview Effect can not only help us more effectively solve our planetary problems but also become the foundation for a more compassionate, sustainable, and resilient future.

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SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.