in your essay I appreciate the balance between detail and abstraction of discourse, which, I believe, yields a perfectly appropriate style for this type of Contest, and a very readable text, which I value quite a lot. Your message is clear - something that is not so easily found in the other essays. Talking about humanity moving to the stars, one runs the risk of being weak in terms of originality, but I believe that you have avoided this potential problem by insisting on the impact that the Starship Culture could have on the problems and behaviours of today, and by the original and effective idea of discussing the interrelations between Smalley,s 10 existential threats to humanity and the challenges of extablishing a Starship Culture. By the way, another essay that covers this topic in a rather original way is the one entitled The transformative value of liberating Mars (which is not mine :-)
Competing for limited resources has always been the basic trick for triggering evolutionary steps in the biosphere, and in a way one could expect that the step to the stars would be driven by the same mechanism, namely by the limited (and decreasing) resources on Earth as a whole. The Starship Culture could be seen as an attempt to mitigate (if not to avoid) the dramatic side effects that this mechanism comes with, in its original form; or, perhaps more appropriately, as an attempt of our species to take full control of this mechanism, to anticipate it in order to bypass as much as possible its bad consequences.
About the 10 points, I have a remark on Poverty. We need you, please join us. This sounds very generic. What would this concretely mean?. Solving basic, immediate needs (food, water, heating etc.) has obviously higher priority for people suffering from poverty. I am sorry, but I do not see a tight logical link between the two spheres here.
You mention, as a variant, sending to the stars a distilled cyber-essence of the builders. with its advantages in terms of travel logistics, so to speak. If we had time to discuss, I would be curious to speculate on the social-historical implications of this scenario. I guess it also would depend on what you mean by distilled cyber-essence of the builders. Are they avatars of real humans remaining on earth (re-used maybe across multiple generations)? Are these entities able to reproduce? How do they relate with the humans on Earth in the long run? Could we still talk about humanity, split into Earth and Space inhabitants, or would it be more appropriate to talk about different species?