Star Trek is an American science fiction franchise that originates from the 1960’s television series ‘Star Trek’ (now more commonly known as ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’). The franchise encompasses several spin-offs, including several television series, films, games, and books. At its core, Star Trek tells the tale of human space exploration, and questions what it means to be human. It revolves around a message of defiant optimism in the face of a bleak world, of projecting an optimistic future for humanity (Barrett&Barrett, 2017). While projecting this future, the writers actively use their storylines to explore contemporary political and social issues (Jørgensen, 2013), often focussing on diplomacy across cultures and promoting collaborative approaches to problem-solving (Edwards, 2014). For example, one of these contemporary issues is species extinction, which they present as a complex problem. The way they present this problem has evolved over the course of the series’ history. During the 1960’s they echoed the tensions between species extinction and human needs, during the 1980’s they echoed the focus on ‘charismatic’ species, and during the 1990’s the prevailing sentiment that humans needed to take active roles in conservation (Jørgensen, 2013).
Science fiction is a way of creating a vision for the future, and thus has an important place in a sustainability eduction that has as one of its goals to produce institutional systems that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Otto&Wilkinson, 2012).
- Barrett and Barrett. 2017. Star Trek: The Human Frontier.
- Jørgensen. 2013. Who's the Devil? Species Exctinction and Environmentalist Thought in Star Trek
- Edwards. 2014. Fifty Years of Science Fiction Television: Themes of Governance and Bureaucracy in Star Trek and Doctor Who
- Otto and Wilkinson. 2012. Harnassing time travel narratives for environmental sustainability eduction.