Ørsted is partnering with Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut in space, in a bid to encourage people to take action on climate change. Space Safari, a 360° VR project launching today, blasts the user into space and gives them a unique view over planet Earth from hundreds of kilometres away.
The project aims to enable more people to experience the 'overview effect', a powerful phenomenon commonly described by astronauts when they see the Earth from afar. They report a strengthened perspective of the Earth as a fragile system, and a renewed sense of responsibility to preserve and maintain our shared home.
The experience is narrated by Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut to travel into space.
She said: "When I saw Earth from space, I appreciated so much more than before the interconnectedness of everything and everyone on this tiny, fragile and precious planet. Despite our differences, we are all in the same boat, affecting each other and facing the same huge challenge to protect our planet Earth. The sense of responsibility towards our shared home and the lives it supports has stayed with me ever since.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the experiences I have had. Witnessing the Earth from space is difficult to describe but if more people could be aware of the far-reaching impact of their lifestyles and feel the resulting urge to protect our home, it could help speed up the actions needed to prevent the climate from overheating and causing irreversible damage. We can't send all of Earth's citizens into space, of course, but with the 360° VR Space Safari experience, we can get as close as possible.”
The project, also supported by astronauts Mike Massimino (US), Andreas Mogensen (DK) and Ewald Reinhold (GER) is launched today in connection with Climate Week NYC and the virtual reality film is available free of charge worldwide from virtual reality content stores as well as on YouTube.
Filip Engel, Vice President of Sustainability, Public Affairs & Branding at Ørsted, said: “We believe that if more people experience Earth like astronauts do, it will create a greater sense of responsibility of our shared home and speed up climate action – and that’s much needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C. In collaboration with the astronauts, we’ve created the Space Safari project to make their view of planet Earth available to everyone. Our hope is to inspire people to demand faster green action.”
Ørsted, the green energy company behind the project, has transformed itself from being one of the most fossil-intensive utilities in Europe to become a world leader in renewable energy. Ørsted has reduced the carbon intensity of its energy generation by 83% since 2006 and will generate essentially carbon free energy by 2025, which put the company 27 years ahead of the necessary carbon emission reduction trajectory of the energy sector.
Matthew Wright, UK Managing Director, Ørsted, said: “Science tells us that we need to keep global warming within 1.5ºC of pre-industrial levels to avoid catastrophic and uncontrollable climate change.
“The world needs to dramatically speed up green action to make this target achievable. Global carbon pollution must fall to net zero in around 30 years: a huge and immediate transformation, but one we believe to be achievable if we act now.
“As a pioneering renewable energy company, we believe it is important to take drastic action on climate change and to empower others to do so too, which is why we have created this experience. Our company’s tag line, Love Your Home, is echoed in this new project, aimed at reinforcing the important message that we must all work together to protect our shared home.”
The UK is the only major economy to have declared a climate emergency and legislated for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Decarbonising the UK’s energy system is vital to achieve this, and offshore wind will play a major role.
With 11 operational offshore wind farms and a further two, which will become the world’s largest, under construction, the UK is Ørsted’s largest market.
By 2030, at least one third of the UK’s electricity will come from this clean energy resource, thanks to the industry’s Sector Deal, agreed with Government earlier this year.