Google Earth Update Shows Our Burden on Mother Earth

With Google Earth’s new time lapse feature, we have a clearer picture of the changing planet at our fingertips. Much of that change is human-driven.
There are less than 30 years until we reach 2050. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tells us we must have achieved net-zero emissions by then to prevent Earth’s average temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius – the point beyond which many natural systems could begin to cross points of no return.

The focus by the UN and others on climate change should not detract us from the fact that the primary driver of most planetary ills is the growing human population and its insatiable appetite for more food, more goods, and more space – the price for all of which is ultimately environmental degradation. Our entire global economic system is based on a paradigm that measures human well-being solely in terms of a growing GDP and requires a continuous increase of material throughput, which is inextricably associated with ecological destruction and increased emissions. We live on a finite planet; the inherently unsustainable nature of our economic system – and continuing population growth – should be self-evident.

An update to Google Earth offers us all a visual way to cut through the issue so we can see for ourselves the impact we’ve had on the planet in the past 40 years  and, one hopes, inspires us to reduce and offset our impact over the next 30. Click the link above to see a trailer of Google Earth’s sample of compilations from different parts of the world, starting in 1984 and ending in 2020. Then head over to Google’s info page to read how this feature came about and how it can be used.

Please help us share updates on technology and tools that can help to impress on peoples’ minds the realities of overshoot. We welcome your support as we go about our work of raising awareness of the impact of our human footprint and our growing numbers. No contribution is ever too small or insignificant; 2050 is not so far away and there is much to do.

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