Googles brand-new Timelapse project allows you to see how in all regions of the world has changed in the last 32 times; from evaporating reservoirs to explosion metropolis, its a document of recklessness
The image of the Earth from opening is so seared into human consciousness that it is hard to imagine what it was like to live without the picture of our planet as a off-color sphere that we all now carry in our minds.
The first photographs of the Earths surface seen from 100 miles were taken in 1947. By 1968, the famed Earthrise image photographed by the gang of Apollo 8 framed our planet as a beautiful oasis in black opening. Today, stupefying and intensely instructive pictures of the Earths surface are being taken from opening constantly: so comprehensively, for so long, that Google has now caused timelapses that demo three decades of change.
It persuades anxiety to watch, in just a few seconds, a desert in Saudi Arabia turn into a immense agribusiness composite, a lake in Bolivia vanish or cities flourish spectacularly in China.
History has become a car crash in speeded-up flow. We can see, in these timelapse satellite videos, how the Earth is being torn apart by human deeds. We can also experience, in timelapse videos of Arctic ice, enormous glaciers melt before our eyes. Yet, are human beings capable of assimilating such global perspectives or is our consciousness tragically limited to a pre-space age, even pre-Copernican mentality? Are beings merely capable of playing on immediate, personal and neighbourhood fears, even though images from infinite can show us “the worlds biggest” photo?
This is one of the real problems of our time. The new vistas on Earth opened up by Apollo 8 in 1968 may seem to have sunk into the very fabric of human consciousness, but it also seems that we can watch any number of videos of expanding metropolitans and fading ice without growing globally conscious.
Extreme scepticism about climate change issues has proved a vote win for Donald Trump. Specifically, Barack Obamas environmental policies have been accused of creating a war on coal. Pennsylvania miners were not joyous to accept that their conventional jobs were doomed for “the worlds largest” good. All the portraits of climate change, the timelapse videos of a deteriorating Land, the disintegrate of glaciers, dont apparently mean anything compared with the direct events people have in their own regions. If a truth is embarrassing, ignore it.
If you want to experience, immediately, the gap between resource and reality, science and common sense, that warns our ability to act rationally to save the planet, only hold your smartphone. Moving down the street, I can see myself move on the screen of my phone, in a real-time, real-life link between myself and a system of satellites. Yet do we go around meditating this magical? No, and perhaps it even seems naive to do so. We exactly use the app to check how far we are from the meet or tavern were just trying to get to.
We are now a species in space, our lives as well as the lives of our planet checked by planets. Globalisation is not abstract but a technical actuality that is did visible in these timelapse portraits of our changing world-wide. Yet that knowledge somehow does not get into the degrees of our psyches. The GPS in our smartphones and cars is an unfortunate analogy for a crushing lack of human resource. We literally refuse to engage with the brilliant global and extra-global nature of modern life. Its all too complex, apparently.
We are mentally jailed, unable to rise in our psyches to view the Earth as a satellite can see it. And its killing us.