Why is there an “Earth Day?”

In 1966, another crazy guy (and I mean that it in a good way, like “the crazy guy making an IMAX film in his basement”) started a public campaign to get NASA to release a rumored satellite photograph of the whole earth. This guy, Stewart Brand, actually made a quite a stir with his campaign.

In 1968, an astronaut, fairly informally, took the first photograph of the “The Whole Earth” as NASA still did not realize that a picture of earth might actually be more important than pictures of the moon. Using this photograph as the cover, Brand published the first “Whole Earth Catalog“, a highly influential publication that Steve Jobs and others called “the first Google”, in the fall of 1968.

In addition, this made this first Earth portrait famous and it quickly became iconic. Within 18 months of Stewart’s publication, we had the first Earth Day and it’s visual symbol was a photograph of Earth. This is part of the driving mission of Outside In – to bring not just this photograph, but every single major photograph of our universe to the giant screen. I think it’s important and history tends to agree.


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