A New Biography Looks Back on Stewart Brand’s Planetary Impact
Tech journalist John Markoff’s “Whole Earth: The Many Lives of Stewart Brand” frames the visionary’s thinking as a model for global consciousness.
By Mara Fisher
March 21, 2022
12 minute read
One afternoon in February of 1966, Stewart Brand took half a tab of LSD, sat on a rooftop in San Francisco’s North Beach, and looked up at the sky. He began to visualize what he would see if there were a mirror up there, miles away, looking back at him. As he contemplated this vantage point, he thought about the powerful impact that a photograph of the entire earth might have on people and their collective consciousness. Brand later launched a campaign imploring NASA to release such an image, which became a powerful symbol that implicated societies in a collective identity and responsibility to care for the planet.
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