“A photograph would do it — a color photograph from space of the earth,” Brand said. “There it would be for all to see, the earth complete, tiny, adrift, and no one would ever perceive things the same way.”
Brand mounted a spirited campaign selling buttons that posed the question “Why Haven’t We Seen A Photograph of the Whole Earth?” on college campuses across the country. He often showed up in costume, and he often was chucked out by security. He sent buttons to Marshall McLuhan, Buckminster Fuller, NASA officials, and members of Congress.
According to a 01966 Village Voice article, a student at Columbia asked Brand: “What would happen if we did have a picture? Would it eliminate slums, or meanness, or anything?”
“Maybe not,” said Brand, “but it might tell us something about ourselves.”
“What?” asked the girl.
“It might tell us where we’re at,” said Brand.
“What for?” asked the girl.
“Why do you look in the mirror?” asked Brand.
“Oh,” said the girl, and bought a button.