Stewart Brand's Whole Earth publications (The Whole Earth Catalog, The Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog, CoEvolution Quarterly, The Whole Earth Review, and Whole Earth) were well known not only for showcasing alternative approaches to technology, the environment, and Eastern mysticism, but also for their tendency to juxtapose radical and seemingly contradictory subjects in an "open form" format. They have also been the focus of notable works of scholarship in the social sciences. Areas of exploration include their relationship to the development of the personal computer, the environmental movement and alternative technology, the alternative West Coast publishing industry, Space Colonies, and Nanotechnology. What is perhaps less well known is Brand's interest in the Beat poetry of Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Robert Creeley, David Meltzer, and Peter Orlovsky beginning with CoEvolution Quarterly in 1974.
Brand's decision to include ecologically based free-verse Beat poems is also indicative of a particular way of seeing science and technology. The term "coevolution" itself is biological in origin and refers to the evolutionary relationship between predator and prey: a lizard may turn green to fade into the grass, but an eagle, with its highly developed vision, will be able to spot the lizard hiding among the green blades. Brand thus used the term "coevolution" as Edward Said used the musical term contrapuntal: the meeting of opposites or conflicting sources in either a contrived or forced juxtaposition that offers the potential for new meaning and understanding.
Brand's decision to incorporate the humanities into his ecologically based publications reflected a paradigm shift in his vision of science and technology. In other words, poetry renders tools and technology more humane and sustainable as they all "coevolve" with Eastern mysticism in an "open form" or contrapuntal context, leading to (eco) consciousness expansion. In contrast to the notion that there is an inherent contradiction between poetry and technology within the realm of ecocriticism, or that the humanities lack relevance to the environmental debate, Brand's Whole Earth publications provide one historic model for the "coevolution" of literature, science, and the environment.