The View From Space
A series of interviews with the ultimate explorers—three astronauts who commanded Apollo aircrafts—led Land Wilson (BA, French, ’93) to share their sense of awe and respect for our planet with a younger generation.
“From space, you can see pollution on Earth in the form of discolored waters created by people in populated areas; it flows out into the oceans,” Capt. Walter M. Schirra Jr., commander of Apollo 7, told Wilson. “And when you see that our ozone layer is no more than an eggshell around Earth, you realize that humans had better learn to be more careful with it.”
Upon hearing that, Wilson immediately began work on a children’s bedtime story designed to share both the wonder and responsibility of living on this planet. The result, more than a decade in the making, is Sofia’s Dream, published by Little Pickle Press in November 2010. The book was named a Gold Winner by the Mom’s Choice Awards in 2011.
Since those original astronaut interviews, Wilson has had two children of his own and become a stay-at-home dad. “In my book dedication, I refer to my kids as my ‘everyday inspiration,’ ” he says. “Kids in general are great at inspiring adults. Their fresh outlook on life is wonderful. They get how important it is to protect the Earth. Being around kids who want to make a difference inspires me and gives me hope.”
In addition to raising his kids and writing, Wilson presents “Earth Talks With Kids,” environmental education assemblies, at elementary schools. He also manages two Victorian homes that he restored during a 17-year span of managing privately held companies, and does a variety of projects for clients.
Wilson prepared for a career in arts management at Chico State. He spent a year studying at Sorbonne University in Paris, and he served as chairman of cultural affairs for Associated Students. “I loved organizing events and making things happen,” he said of planning concerts on campus. In fact, the first book he wrote was a how-to guide titled To Make Things Happen. At first, writing was just a means for communicating Wilson’s ideas. But over time, it became his “favored form of artistic expression.”
He is now immersed in the medium. “I usually have several projects going at all times,” he says. He is working on a nonfiction book based on astronaut interviews, the first book of an environmental trilogy with his daughter as the main character, and an environmental television series.
Wilson’s creative work is guided by one primary mission: motivating children to protect our planet. “The more children who learn how to make good environmental choices now,” he says, “the more adults we’ll have in the future making good choices.”
— Anna Harris, Public Affairs and Publications