I am often asked – most recently yesterday by a woman from the US – what got me into this space. And I often tell the story of the moonless nocturnal walk by the derelict flax ponds that had me standing in the mid-1950s in an elastic sheet of elvers, migrating from somewhere to somewhere. But that was a switching on to the natural environment, which could have led me into the world of pure conservation. I took a different path, towards environmentalism – and a critical influence was the cascade of images of Earth from space, notably Earthrise, the fortieth anniversary of whose publication falls this year.
The year before I was born, in 1948, the cosmologist Fred Hoyle predicted that the first images of Earth from space would forever change our view of our planet. And so it was, though not nearly as fast as some might have imagined. We had another session at Volans yesterday on sustainable fisheries, with many of the global trends taking us in very-far-from-sustainable directions. Still, it’s no accident that the image on the screen of MacBook Pro is of a version of Earthrise.