This Spaceship Earth Inc
SARASOTA FL 34233-2073

To overcome the challenges of climate change by creating crew consciousness (i.e. thinking and acting like crew members of a ship, not passive passengers) in as many people as possible globally, as soon as possible. 

CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
Board Chair David Houle
Board Chair Affiliation David Houle & Associates
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2016
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Apr 2018
State Registration 0
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement
  1. To create local awareness of our mission, we have a major public arts project planned, along with other public events, including several speaking engagements to a variety of local groups. Since Sarasota is our global headquarters, we want to create a positive image of the city to the world – one that positions the city as progressive and a leader in proactively meeting the challenges of climate change.
  2. To hire the people who are currently working for free in addition to their full time jobs. We need these to expand awareness, crew recruitment and gain financial support. Until any large success might alter our thinking, we will be running TSE as a barebones start-up and all paid staffers will be independent contractors in a 1099 relationship.
  3. To implement initial expansion of a global network of chapters (educational institutions, community organizations, and corporations) across America and in many countries. We currently have four chapters – two in Sarasota, one in Jamaica and one in Pennsylvania. Our first year goal is to have 100,000 crew members globally.
  4. To promote crew consciousness, and Sarasota as a leader in the fight against climate change, by booking the two co-founders of TSE and co-authors of “This Spaceship Earth” into speaking engagements around the country, and perhaps internationally, subsidized by corporations and organizations. Since one of the co-founders is David Houle, a globally known futurist who has spoken on 6 continents and in 14 countries, this high profile activity should trigger media coverage, giving our movement, and Sarasota, recognition around the world.
Needs Statement
  1. To have three current volunteers become paid staff. To keep costs down, this will be done on a contract basis with all people working having a 1099 relationship with . $100,000 for first 12 months
  2. Office space in Sarasota (possibly donated) with places for people to work and meet. This would be the global headquarters. $15,000 estimate with no rent, $30,000 with rent
  3. Funds to support costs of national fundraising. This would mostly be travel expenses for presentations. $30,000 for first 12 months.
  4. Funds to purchase crew gear (t-shirts, hats, shopping bags, water bottles) for distribution to volunteers, chapter members and others. $15,000 for first 12 months
  5. Marketing expenses to create awareness of Expenses would include SEO, outbound PR messaging and local events. $20,000 for first 12 months
Background Statement

The organization was catalyzed by the writing of a book. David Houle is a resident of Sarasota, and is the Futurist in Residence and a Guest Lecturer at the Ringling College of Art + Design. David met Tim Rumage, Head of Environmental Studies at RCAD, while giving a guest lecture. After several discussions concerning the challenge of climate change, and the need to mobilize people to confront it, David and Tim decided to write a book. David had previously published six books about the future.

During the course of the two-year project, it became clear that the reality of climate change was rapidly changing. Forecasts for the amounts of CO2 emissions, polar ice melts and sea level rise kept growing. What, in the 1990s, had been forecast as reality in 2050, was already the reality in 2015! A sense of urgency developed. Something more than just writing a book was required. They searched for a clear metaphor that would motivate people to both understand the magnitude of climate change, and to rapidly gain insight into what to do.

It was decided to build on the vision of Marshall McLuhan who, in the 1960s, coined the metaphor of earth as a spaceship. “There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.” This quote from McLuhan has triggered ‘aha’ moments in readers of the book, and audience members.

This Spaceship Earth was launched to create a critical mass of people worldwide who think and act as crew members. This “Crew Consciousness” enables people to see that the only place we have to live is a planetary spaceship. If we use more resources than the planet can regenerate, we have no place else to go, and there is no resupply ship coming. A change in consciousness leads to changes in our decisions and behaviors. It creates a sense of personal responsibility.

A key factor is that the co-founders are affiliated with the Ringling College of Art+ Design. Effectively dealing with climate change requires the design of a sustainable society… one that does not assume access to unlimited resources, and the ability to continually dispose of toxic and non-biodegradable trash. We must redesign energy, transportation, agriculture, production processes and, ultimately, our consumer economy.

This Spaceship Earth is associated with a globally respected design college, located in Sarasota, Florida – the state at the highest risk for sea level rise. Sarasota can be a recognized leader in climate change adaptation and mitigation. We stand at the frontline.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
Areas Served Comments We are headquartered in Sarasota, and most of our activities are local. Since climate change is a global issue, we are working to expand our reach internationally.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Environment
Secondary Org Type Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness and Relief
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

We are at a critical juncture in the history of humanity. For the first time, all humans face a single threat that affects us all – Climate Change. We, therefore, have the first opportunity ever to create a global consciousness versus a common foe.

I am a professional futurist. I have written seven books, and delivered over 700 speeches in 14 countries across six continents. I have spoken to or advised some 3,500 CEOs and business owners. I love what I do. So that’s what I’ve been doing since 2006.

As a young man I read “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth” and “Utopia or Oblivion” by R. Buckminster Fuller, and most of Marshall McLuhan’s books. McLuhan wrote that, “There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.” Fuller felt that without an operating manual, humanity might go down a path toward oblivion. Clearly, that path toward oblivion has arrived – Climate Change. So I am going back to the concepts that shaped my thinking as a young man, and prompted me to become a futurist. I am committed to using my reputation, brand and speaking ability to create crew consciousness ASAP in one billion people.

Now, and for the rest of my professional life, I am devoting myself to recruiting crew members for this spaceship earth. To do so as quickly and affordably as possible, we have two objectives:

  1. To create a global grassroots movement of people who think and act like the crew of Spaceship Earth.
  2. To leverage the financial resources of large corporations and foundations that, for a variety of reasons and marketplace issues, want to also act as crew. The scale of corporate involvement is critical.

Corporate sponsors must not only make a donation, they must commit to a new (beyond anything they are already doing), measurable crew-type effort (e.g. reduce total energy use by 2% per quarter).

The response to the book has been uniformly positive… statements like “I finally understand climate change” and “it changed the way I think. I will now act as crew.” One tool to promote crew consciousness is to provide a free eBook copy of “This Spaceship Earth” for every $5 donated. So a person can donate $10 and have a copy of the eBook to read and one to give to a friend. A $100 donation allows an individual to get a copy and share a promo code with 19 other people. At the corporate level, if a company were to make a $100,000 donation, they could deliver 20,000 free eBooks to employees, customers and suppliers. So, along with my co-author, we are forgoing royalties from the eBook to accelerate and dramatically increase the number of people who read it. This is also a crew action as there is minimal environmental impact from downloading a digital file.

The movement is being promoted via numerous speeches, social media activity, on the ground events, and the creation of TSE chapters all around the world.

The team at is committed to running the enterprise as a lean start-up with costs as low as possible. People will be paid as contractors, not employees. Salaries will be below market. As much as possible, necessities (e.g. office space, computers, etc.) will be obtained through donation. We are a core of committed, passionate people out to do our part to save civilization.

David Houle Futurist/Board Chair of This Spaceship Earth


The two co-founders speak to various organizations in Sarasota/Manatee, in the US and globally. Some examples:

· a TEDx New College conference,

· the bi-annual global meeting of the IACEE including MIT, Stanford, Georgia Tech and 100+ universities. Organizations agreed to ‘partner’ with TSE.

· Ringling College students and faculty

· Annual meeting of Cumulus, a global association of Art, Design and Media colleges.

· The World Future Society conference where futurists and government organizations expressed interest in working with the This Spaceship Earth movement

  • Delivered This Spaceship Earth speeches to the EPA and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. 

· Quarterly conference of the Science and Environmental Council in Sarasota whose members agreed to support the TSE public art event on Lido Beach.

More speaking engagements locally in Sarasota/Manatee, around the US and the around world are planned for the remainder of 2016 and into 2017.

Budget $10,000
Category Education, General/Other Education, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Other Named Groups
Short Term Success

Created initial visibility locally and around the world. Early commitments from people in three global organizations (the IACEE, Cumulus and World Future Society) and from local groups and communities to work on crew projects.

As a result of his World Future Society speech in Washington DC, David Houle was invited to speak at the headquarters of the EPA and at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The EPA said that our message was important as most employees worked at the policy and legislative level and needed to hear how our planetary level vision pulled it all together. More significantly, the top people at NASA Earth Sciences said that David’s presentation had to be heard by NASA scientists who were frustrated that all the magnificent data about Climate Change they have been generating was not making the necessary impact. 

Every presentation produced positive results towards gaining crew members, developing working relationships and increasing donation potential.
Long Term Success

To expand the collective awareness and the willingness of communities to take proactive action to meet the challenges of climate change. The Sarasota/Manatee community is known for its culture, beaches and lifestyle. We want to expand this perception to influence other communities around the world to develop crew consciousness and mitigate the effects of climate change. 

Program Success Monitoring

Increase in newsletter sign-ups, the documentation of people and organizations who commit to acting as crew, two college chapters formed locally with commitments for more, increasing invitations to speak locally and globally.

Every presentation or group discussion has resulted in people signing up, donating or committing to work with us.

Program Success Examples

A growing number of visits to our web site, sign-ups to receive our newsletter, donations made, and number of people on our ‘crew counter’. Longer term the success will be the change in thoughts, beliefs and actions as a cohesive community takes collective action to solve the issues of climate change.


Public arts projects illustrating the effects of sea level rise on the barrier islands of Sarasota received significant media attention including a front page article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune and two segments on local network TV outlets. This Spaceship Earth produced two videos which can be viewed here and here: 

Establishing high school, college and community chapters of This Spaceship Earth locally, in the US and around the world which develop programs that exhibit crew consciousness (e.g. reducing carbon footprints, changing behavior and usage patterns). Each community, college or high school is free to develop what they want to address their own local problems, promoting creativity and diversity. Eventually the website will be expanded to a platform and will supply each chapter with their own mini-site and the infrastructure to interact with any other chapter.
Budget $7,500
Category Education, General/Other Extracurricular Activities
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Adults Other Named Groups
Short Term Success

Currently there are chapters at the Ringling College of Art+Design and New College. Additional chapters will be developed at USF, other local colleges, and high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. We also have our first (and very active) community chapter in Pennsylvania.

For the most part, kids understand the challenges they will need to meet in mitigating and adapting to climate change over the course of their lives. Early experience tells us that many people over the age of 70 also get it, as they are worried about the future for their grandchildren.  
Long Term Success

To enable everyone to take meaningful and collective action sooner rather than later. As children and parents of an adult population, they will influence them to understand the looming threats and to take precautionary measures - to become crew members too and help minimize potential hardships.

Program Success Monitoring We monitor success as we see the degree of growth in the number of chapters, the growth in the number of chapter members, the degree of participation of those members, and, ultimately, the affect they have on their local communities.
Program Success Examples

Our first community chapter in Chester County PA has incorporated “This Spaceship Earth” as mandatory reading for its lifelong learning effort this fall. They have adopted the "crew actions’ on our web site as an inventory from which each member must choose to implement, and monitor on a weekly basis. We view this chapter as a model for other community chapters.

The two local college chapters in Sarasota/Bradenton have enthusiastically committed to working on two art installations on beaches to show what sea level rise will look like in the decades ahead.

Once we can increase funding, we will actively reach out to colleges, high schools, and retirement communities in Sarasota-Bradenton and beyond to create chapters that we will support with web presence and in person meetings.

Program Comments by Organization
To date, all speaking engagement expenses (primarily travel) have either been paid for by the sponsoring organizations or by the speakers. No funds have been used.
Worked with students, volunteers and Sarasota city officials to create two large, public art projects in September and October of 2017. The public arts projects involved students and faculty from the Ringling College of Art+Design, and a significant number of community volunteers. The projects were designed to "show, not tell" our This Spaceship Earth and crew consciousness messages. The projects increased local awareness of sea level rise with a front page story in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, and two segments on the local TV station. We made videos of the projects - one of which has garnered 6,800 views on YouTube and another 2,000 on Facebook to date.

All of our programs, events and projects are designed to:

1. Educate the local community and beyond concerning the real dangers of climate change. Further, how to change actions in simple but profound ways that collectively will make a significant difference.

2. Promote forgiveness. We have all enjoyed the lifestyle that a petroleum-based economy has afforded us. Now we all have to move together to a new lifestyle. Every major change begins with acceptance and forgiveness. We must join together, not waste time and energy arguing.

3. Help people understand that this new lifestyle is ripe with opportunity. There are solutions available today. We just need to work together to make them a reality.

4. Create a growing awareness; the ultimate goal being to enlist a critical mass that will successfully conquer the global problem.

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
CEO Term Start 0
CEO/Executive Director Email
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Bob Leonard Director of Operations
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 3
Volunteers 3
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No
Ringling College of Art+Design partnered with us to stage a public arts project illustrating sea level rise. Students were involved in both the staging of the event (it requires many participants) and in documenting the event (via video). 
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Board Chair
Board Chair David Houle
Company Affiliation David Houle & Associates
Board Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2021
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Jonathan Fleece Blalock Walters
David Houle David Houle & Associates
Tim Rumage Ringling College of Art+Design
Larry Thompson Ringling College of Art+Design
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 4
Female 0
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 5
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 100
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 25
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 50
Governance Comments by Organization Held two Board meetings in 2016.
Governance Comments by Foundation Organization held only 1 board meeting in 2016.
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $100,000.00
Projected Expenses $100,000.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Audit/Financial Documents
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$18,300----
Administration Expense$9,859----
Fundraising Expense$0----
Payments to Affiliates$0----
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.85----
Program Expense/Total Expenses65%----
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%----
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$23,875----
Current Assets$19,875----
Long-Term Liabilities$0----
Current Liabilities$0----
Total Net Assets$23,875----
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $52,034----
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $0----
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $0----
CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%----
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization

2017 is our first full year of operating. 2016 was spent in setting up our Florida nonprofit corporation, recruiting volunteers, and establishing our organization's presence.

In September 2016 we participated in the Sarasota-based Giving Challenge which resulted in a payment of $37,203.76 in early December. This payment, along with smaller donations, has sustained us operationally. In the first half of 2017, we took in an additional $13,735 in donations and $1,248 in merchandise sales.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, we applied to two foundations for grants but did not get them as we did not have the track record needed to compete. We had to cut back on our 1099 contractors and to operate as a lean start-up. The only paid individual is the Director of Operations who is handling all of the operations and is working at less than half of what he had been making in his prior employment. Our goal is to raise a significantly greater amount of donation revenue in the second half of 2017.

The intention of This Spaceship Earth, Inc. is to find and work with corporate partners to both receive donations and embark on co-branded, joint marketing ventures. As stated on our website, we will only work with companies who commit to policies that lower carbon emissions and create a crew consciousness culture with the company’s stakeholders.

Early approaches to large companies taught us that our current website is not up to the level needed for corporate partnerships and foundation grants. Therefore, our major project for the second half of 2017 is to upgrade our website. Fortunately, we have a talented interactive design firm working on it at a very deep discount, due to their commitment to our cause. We also applied for and received a Google AdWords grant to help us in driving traffic.

In 2016 the two co-founders spoke for free to raise awareness for TSE. The demand was great enough that, in 2017, we have set the policy that an upfront donation commitment must be made.

Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken the organization's Federal 990-EZ.
Nonprofit This Spaceship Earth Inc
Address 5149 SUNNYDALE CIR W
SARASOTA, FL 34233 2073
Phone 773 991-5199