In my earlier post I was trying to remember a recent book which tells the story of the iconic NASA image, above. The book, "Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth," offers an interesting theory. Author Robert Poole argues that when people saw the whole earth for the first time, it gave a crucial spark to the birth of environmental or green politics:
The most important result of the space age was that mankind first saw the Earth. At Christmas 1968 the crew of Apollo 8 became the first people to journey to the Moon, and the first to behold the whole Earth. Their photo, 'Earthrise', changed mankind's view of itself.
One gets a sense of how unhinged things seemed in American poet Robert Lowell's poem from 1967, Waking Early Sunday Morning, which sounds like a sermon, a sermon of doom. It ends with a plea for mercy and this bleak vision, which sort of conjures the "Earthrise" photo:
Pity the planet, all joy gone
from this sweet volcanic cone;
peace to our children when they fall
in small war on the heels of small
war – until the end of time
to police the earth, a ghost
orbiting forever lost
in our monotonous sublime.