Image Credit: NASA

This is the image that started it all, an image taken of the Earth from 240,000 miles away by the crew of the Apollo 8.

It was taken during Christmas Eve, 1968, but wasn't released for a couple of weeks later, 40 years ago this week. The late adventure photographer Galen Rowell called it "the most influential environmental photograph every taken" and it moved millions around the world to consider, for the first time, just how thin and fragile the the atmosphere is. It was a major catalyst for the formation of the environmental movement.

It's because of this photograph that I have a job as an environmental blogger. I'd probably be an accountant if the green movement hadn't sprung up. Thank the FSM that the Apollo 8 crew took the shot, I would have made a sucky accountant.

Here's an updated twist, a high definition video of an Earthrise and Earthset, shot by the Japanese just last year.

Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

40 years ago: Earthrise photo released
In early 1969, a photo showing the Earth rising above the moon's horizon was released, helping spawn the environmental movement.