Exactly 50 years ago, in 1968, the Whole Earth Catalog first came to life.
Thanks to the work of an ongoing community of people, it prospered in various forms for 32 years—sundry editions of the Whole Earth Catalog, CoEvolution Quarterly, The WELL, the Whole Earth Software Catalog, Whole Earth Review, etc. Their impact in the world was considerable and sustained.
Hundreds of people made that happen—staff, editors, major contributors, board members, funders, WELL conference hosts, etc. We’d like to bring them together one last time to: take a public bow, celebrate fine work together, convene and scheme across the multiple generations, and honor our departed (Jay Baldwin, Dick Raymond, Peter Warshall, Anne Herbert, Andrew Fluegelman, Richard Nilsen, Dick Fugett, etc.).
The format is still being developed but the celebration will take place on October 13, 2018, and a fine venue in San Francisco has been reserved. It should be one full, amazing day—private during the day for the extended Whole Earth alumni, and open to the public in the evening with a blizzard of 5-minute talks (like at the "Whole Earth Jamboree” in 1978) and other instructive delights.
The Whole Earth Catalog was an invitation to agency. It made people eager to haul off and try things that might improve their life and the world’s life. Tools have improved vastly in the 50 years since then, and so has access to them. How is the eagerness doing these days? It might be worth visiting the past, present, and futures of that impulse and the ways it gets kindled.
"In every way conceivable. I wouldn't be where I am sitting right now, with the friends I have, with the home I have, or the life or the knowledge I have. It's quite a legacy to be grateful to."
- CYNSA BONORRIS
"As a reader of the Catalog and subscriber to both the journals, and as a WELL participant, this community's effect on my life has been beyond measure."
- JANE HIRSHFIELD
"I wrote some reviews, mostly for CQ. More importantly it was a significant component of the Portola context that helped connect me in concrete ways to other major interests in my life, most notably the computing world."
- MARC LEBRUN
"Too early to tell."
- JD SMITH
"It was how I learned about everything from childbirth to planting trees. It was everything."
- DAVID WOODBURY
The Whole Earth 50th Planning Committee: