5 Videos that Show Our Impact on the Planet – And What You Can Do About It

A Guest Post by Gill Cassar, World Economic Forum, Agora Advisor

We’ve all heard stories about the decimation of forests the size of small countries in the Amazon, the collapse of glaciers in the Arctic and coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.  We are entering the age of the Anthropocene, where our presence as a human species is becoming geologically traceable across the globe.

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Until now, we haven’t been able to visualize these changes on a planetary scale. For the first time in history, the combination of satellite technology and super-computing is giving us a global perspective about how humanity is affecting the environment.

A collaboration between NASA, Google and the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute is bringing to life a time-lapse vision of the earth, which allows you to navigate to any location around the globe and see changes to the planet over the last three decades.

Click the links below to watch five clips from world leading experts about how humanity is affecting our planet using satellite imagery… and what you can do to help make a difference through Agora for Good:

  • The Climate Crisis
  • The War on Water
  • The Race for Resources
  • The Future of Forests 
  • The Industrialization Impasse

The Climate Crisis

Explore how man-made greenhouse gas emissions are leading to a rise in air and water temperatures. See the causes and consequences of climate change over the last three decades. Learn about how climate risks are changing business as usual and what can be done to avoid devastating consequences. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report for 2016 ranks the failure of climate mitigation and adaptation as the highest risk in terms of impact to the economy, environment, and society.

 

Experts featured in this video:

  • Naomi Oreskes, Harvard Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

If you are interested in helping mitigate then negative effects of climate change and helping communities to adapt to rising temperatures, consider supporting climate change via the Renewable Energy Fund.

 

 

The War on Water

Fresh water is the life-blood of the planet and a prerequisite for sustainable development and economic prosperity. Investigate how unsustainable water usage and climate change is threatening the precious water resources we depend on to survive.

 

Experts featured in this video:

  • Johan Röckstrom, Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • Randy Sargent, Senior Systems Scientist at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute

If you are interested in helping to improve sustainable water usage, consider giving to the Clean Water Fund.

 

 

The Race for Resources

Our economic system is built on the premise of taking natural resources, making goods, and creating waste. However, the Earth’s resources like oil, gas and minerals are finite. Explore options to create circular systems by redesigning industrial processes to eliminate waste and restore the world’s resources indefinitely.

 

Experts featured in this video:

  • Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • Randy Sargent, Senior Systems Scientist at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute

If you are interested in helping to improve responsible use of finite resources, consider supporting better innovation and infrastructure.

 

 

The Future of Forests

As the world’s population grows, the use of land for economic activity is putting stress on forest ecosystems. Explore forest loss from Brazil to Central Africa to Indonesia, and understand how planetary scale satellite images are helping policy makers to improve regulations and better enforce existing legislation.

 

 

Experts featured in this video:

  • Matthew Hansen, Remote Sensing Scientist and Professor at the University of Maryland
  • Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute (WRI)

If you are interested in helping to address deforestation, consider supporting the Life on Land Fund.

 

The Industrialization Impasse

Industrialization has occurred on an unprecedented scale in the last three decades, particularly in the developing world. Investigate how a lack of city planning and urban sprawl leads to encroachment on fragile environmental ecosystems. Discover how policy makes or breaks the balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability.

 

Experts featured in this video:

  • Ricardo Hausmann, Director of the Center for International Development at Harvard University
  • Illah Nourbakhsh, Professor of Robotics at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute

If you are interested in helping to make infrastructure more sustainable, consider giving to the Sustainable Cities Fund.

 

Data in these videos is provided courtesy of the Berkeley Earth Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Google Earth Engine, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, University of Maryland, USGS and the World Economic Forum.

 

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