Early popularisers of “Spaceship Earth”

The Wikipedia entry on “Spaceship Earth” (here) is a good starting point for tracing the early use of the metaphor. It cites the first use of the concept as 1879. But it was in the 1960s that the term gained widespread currency at a time when I was starting my teaching career. As a geography teacher, then teacher educator, I was significantly attracted to thinking at the global scale about human-natural world interaction, by three writers in particular – Barbara Ward, Kenneth Boulding and Buckminster Fuller. All three had a wide influence at the time leading up to the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth” and the first UN Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, both seminal events happening in 1972. Biographical background and some key ideas of these three influential figures is provided here by means of  edited extracts from Wikipedia with hyperlinks to articles in the Encyclopaedia of the Earth.

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