Terra Two: An Ark for Off-World Survival—A York St John University Project on Sustainability, Spirituality and Science Fiction

King, Liesl (2018) Terra Two: An Ark for Off-World Survival—A York St John University Project on Sustainability, Spirituality and Science Fiction. In: Leal Filho, Walter and Consorte-McCrea, Adriana, (eds.) Sustainability and the Humanities. Springer, Cham, pp. 189-203

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In Timothy Morton’s eco-philosophical text Hyperobjects (Morton in Hyperobjects: Philosophy and ecology after the end of the world, University of Minneapolis Press, Minneapolis, 2013), he dramatically announces that ‘the end of the world has already occurred’ (7), going on to suggest that the start of the Anthropocene coincided with the development of James Watt’s blueprints for the steam engine in the eighteenth century, an act which led to the Industrial Revolution, and thus to swift and damaging environmental change on a geophysical scale. This paper introduces Terra Two: An Ark for Off-World Survival, a project which draws on the spiritual wisdom advanced by a range of science fiction novels, films and TV episodes in order to counter and overturn Morton’s gloomy, apocalyptic prediction. Initially a web-based platform, the project invites contributors to distil messages found in sf texts in order to help shape the first off-world community, which NASA is hoping to settle on Mars in 2030. In building up an ark(ive) of material which critically and creatively reflects on topics such as permaculture, artificial intelligence, ethical governance, spiritual diversity, gender, sexual identity and race, and by facilitating community and globally based projects, Terra Two not only aims to influence the first off-world colony, but to impact generatively on planet Earth. The project specifically supports the key aims of Education for Sustainable Development, as it exposes students in the School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy to a range of social and environmental approaches to contemporary science fiction. Students are invited to attend outreach events related to Terra Two, to develop contributions to the magazine, and to attend a series of extra-curricular workshops around science fiction and sustainability. The paper explores key science fictional influences, a working theory of secular spirituality, and early project aims and outcomes.

Keywords: Science fiction Secular spirituality Vision Collaboration Evolution Future

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-95336-6_11
Related URLs:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
School/Department: School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3415

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