We are one species on one finite planet

Back in the sunlit 60s, Stewart Brand said “we will never get civilization right” until we see the earth for what it is: a tiny, adrift, very finite planet. Then he launched a one-person “Why haven’t we seen a photograph of the whole earth yet?” campaign that ultimately pressured NASA into releasing to the public domain images taken by the crew of Apollo 8. (He tells this story in a great post at click! Photography changes everything.)

He was right. Seeing the whole earth rotating in space tends to tweak your consciousness. And it tends to tweak how we think about building our organizations and institutions.

In the eighties, writer Frank White felt so moved by the new images that he tracked down 24 astronauts and cosmonauts who had personally seen the earth in space. He complied their feelings and perceptions in a book, The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution.

Now the Planetary Collective has caught some of the same space travelers on film. Cut with heart-opening shots of our blue orb and additional interviews with contemporary philosophers (including White), their short film, Overview, is a must-see.

“This view of the earth from space, the whole-earth perspective, I think is the true symbol of this age. And I believe that what’s going to happen is a greater and greater interest in communicating this idea, because after all it’s key to our survival. We have to start acting as one species, with one destiny. We are not going to survive if we don’t do that.” — Frank White

(Image: Earth, 1971. Apollo 15. Ektacolor print. National Air and Space Museum, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies. Image No. AS15-91-12342)



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