Google Earth has just launched a time-lapse feature that lets users wind back the clock and see how the world has changed over several decades.
This latest feature has been developed together with the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the U.S. Geological Survey, the European Commission and the ESA (European Space Agency) who provided 24 million satellite images from the past 37 years.
Users can access the tool in their web browser and the feature comes with some pre-packaged virtual tours of an Alaskan glacier melting over the years or forest protection efforts in Brazil, but the good thing is that anyone can just type in any location and experiment with whatever images are available…and we bet the first thing you will do is to see what happened in the area where you live or the region where you grew up.
You can explore the interactive maps independently or by using Google Earth’s Voyager, a guided tour of five themes including rising global temperatures; also, you can download 800 time-lapse videos available in 2D and 3D.
We have tested it and we can warn you that the most overwhelming feeling is the sense of oppression; that our planet is being used and abused by human beings.
The footprint of humankind on this Planet is not something that can be washed away like a wave on the shore: it’s heavy, dirty, and in some cases disgusting.Tweet
In other cases you can visualize the steps that society is making on our path to cleaner energy, with millions of solar panels appearing across rural China and outside of Abu Dhabi, and strings of wind turbines dotting California’s landscape and Scotland’s shores.
We consider this tool highly successful in helping people understand, and act on global environmental issues.
Experiencing with your eyes and by your own curiosity the water shortages, deforestation and ecosystem degradation, making it even easier to realise the size of the environmental issues and to predict the future if the policies don’t change.
We encourage you to research your area or discover areas of some interest and share them with us; we’d love to know!