What should our next moonshot be?
Jul 24, 2019
The 1969 moon landing was the culmination of John F. Kennedy’s challenge to the nation’s scientists. Fifty years later, we asked local thinkers what our next big, collective goal should be.
My “moonshot” for today would be arts centers across our country becoming America’s town halls for the 21st century. Our future depends on the active cultivation of collective space where we can practice compassionate citizenry in wrestling with the most pressing issues of our day.
— DIANE PAULUS , artistic director of the American Repertory Theater
After finally receiving sustainable, full funding and unwavering public support for students, families, and educators, public schools across the nation are institutions of equity, joy, and prestige that everyone is proud to be a part of.
— JESSICA TANG, president of Boston Teachers Union
We need to understand how the Earth system responds to environmental change. This requires innovative monitoring of the modern environment, detailed analyses of environmental disruption and mass extinction in the past, and development of theory that predicts the risk of future catastrophe.
DANIEL ROTHMAN, professor of geophysics at MIT
To be blunt, today’s equivalent of a moonshot is an affordable, unsegregated, nongentrified City of Boston. One that actually works for all.
— VIKIANA PETIT-HOMME, regional director for March For Our Lives and incoming freshman at the University of Massachusetts Boston
Universal higher education for the first two years. Tuition, fees, books. Paid.
— PAM EDDINGER, president of Bunker Hill Community College
A country that’s cut carbon emissions 50 percent by 2050, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends. It’s hard — more like landing the whole population on the moon — but by no means impossible.
— BILL MCKIBBEN, author and environmentalist
Today’s moonshot would be the same moonshot as the one 50 years ago — but with a goal of staying on the moon. We have made such amazing progress in space tech but haven’t hit our previous goal in 50 years. It is time to fix that.
— HARPER REED, technologist and former chief technology officer for the Obama 2012 reelection campaign
A giant leap toward economic mobility — defined as the chance for all Americans to earn a family-sustaining wage from work that offers purpose, satisfaction, and value.
— ELISABETH BABCOCK, chief executive of Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), a charitable organization that seeks to help low-income families