Monday, December 29, 2008

The Power of Visual Images

It is not a new idea but, as we begin a new year, it is worth remembering the power of visual images by revisiting one of the most powerful visual images ever created. Pictures of the Earth taken by Apollo astronauts from the moon on Christmas Eve forty years ago have been credited with creating today's environmental movement. These pictures did more to shape our perception of our world than any words could ever do.

For the first time, through these photos, people could see that we really were all together floating in space on one little "spaceship Earth". These images of the Earth helped drive the momentum of a burgeoning green movement during the 70's, fuelling an awareness of vulnerability. It became obvious to all, that while the moon was a dead, inert mass the Earth was the only life supporting outpost in this part of the cosmos.

There are many design challenges left in the next billion years before the Earth will also no longer support life. Our middle aged sun, born less than 5 billion years ago, has only 5 billion years of fuel left but will destroy all life on Earth within the next billion years before completely dying itself in 5 billion years.

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