- Sep 2021
Fully embracing the principles of ecology could revolutionize every aspect of design, in substance and in style.
Visions of Earth
On Christmas Eve 1968, Bill Anders looked out his window and saw something no one had ever seen before. Against a pitch-black sky, framed by a bone-dead, mottled-gray landscape, hovered a hazy half-dome of swirling white and brilliant blue, the only bit of color anywhere in sight. It was a stark scene, a solitary figure floating in “a vast lonely expanse of nothing,” as one of his two companions described it, yet it overwhelmed them all with emotion, a kind of awe perhaps previously unfelt by anyone in history. “It was the most beautiful, heart-catching sight of my life,” one later recalled. Anders did what every sightseer does—he took a photograph. That quick snapshot became, in the words of biophysicist John Platt, “one of the most powerful images in the minds of men today.”
The crew of Apollo 8—Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell—not only were the first people ever to leave orbit and the first to see the dark side of the moon but also were the first to witness Earth intact, not as a fragmentary arc of horizon but as a complete being, an entire world. “We came all this way to the Moon,” Anders later recalled, “and yet the most significant thing we’re seeing is our own home planet.”