U.S. Admiral Hyman Rickover, father of the nuclear navy, wrote a good plain-language description of what is basically Immanuel Kan’t categorical imperative:
I believe it is the duty of each of us to act as if the fate of the world depended on him. Admittedly, one man by himself cannot do the job. However, one man can make a difference… We must live for the future of the human race, and not for our own comfort or success.
It’s an interesting perspective in the context of his own life. He dedicated much of it to building a nuclear-powered navy for the United States, despite his apparent view that such a navy was, at best, a necessary evil.
As a side note, many of today’s commercial nuclear power stations use reactor designs that have evolved from the shipborne reactors designed by Rickover and his staff.