“Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." 

- Albert Einstein

Google Earth Exposes Four Decades of Climate Change

Jonny Rogers reports on Google Earth’s latest update revealing how the planet has changed over the past 37 years.

A fleet of tampons rest against a baby blue background

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak

A growing number of scientists and activists have argued that we now live in the ‘Anthropocene’ – the geological epoch in which human activity has become a driving force in shaping the Earth’s atmospheric composition and its ecosystems. Although different people locate the inception of this epoch at varying points in history, it is broadly recognised that the past century has seen a rate of change like no other.

Accordingly, the ‘Great Acceleration’ age refers to the exponential rise in a wide range of measurements of human activity over the past few decades: in global population, resource usage, transportation, carbon emissions, pollution and so forth. As such, the scale of the issues we now face have become so large that they exceed our comprehension.

Nevertheless, the latest update to Google Earth’s ‘timelapse’ feature might go some way in helping us visualise the impact of human activity on the world we live in, allowing users to see how anywhere on the planet has changed over the past 37 years.