Who doesn't love Google Earth
. It's beautiful, it's powerful, it's
surprising and interesting. But now, because of a collaboration with
the UN Environment Programme, Google Earth has gone green. Start up
your copy and then check the 'featured content' area under layers.
You'll find there a UNEP layer which, if you click, will give you areas
all across the world where you can observe the effects of humans on
the Earth with satellite imagery.
The expansion of Las Vegas, the deforestation of the Amazon, the
recession of glaciers in Greenland. Be patient with the loading, as it
can take a little while, but this is really powerful stuff. Every time
something a little bit evil comes out of Google, twenty amazing
projects like this show up. In fact, I think there'll be another green
announcement from Google later on in the day. So keep your eyes out.
I know the figures. Ever hour of every day, thousands of people are
born and over a million tons of carbon dioxide are used. As for people
dying, well, there's a lot of that too, just not as much as there are
people being born.
But David Bleja
, a student at Monash University
in Melbourne Australia has put together a flash
of all of this and it is riveting. Load up
and watch as carbon dioxide is exhaled, babies are
born and people die. Sometimes it's creepy, to think of the hundreds
of lives you've watched snuff out. And then for a while, it was just
really scary. A country flashes red every time it finished producing
1000 tons of CO2. The US flashes every 5.4 seconds, more than any
other country, while you'd have to wait 11 days for Vanatu to flash.
But, after a while of watching (and really, for a long time I couldn't
stop,) I started feeling rather inspired and impressed. This is what
our Earth can handle. Billions of people doing their thing. Babies popping out of moms all over, several times
per second. Eyes going dark, tears falling. People working, and
living, and laughing, all a part of eachother's lives. All unavoidably
clueless of things going on just miles away, nevermind on the other
side of the earth.
I often catch myself thinking that the most profound affect of
technology on the environment will be to help people understand the
truth of the situation I'm in. That's what the Breathing Earth
Someone has just done a cool thing with Google Earth. I just can't figure out who that someone is... all I can find out is they have a parent company, Geosign
, that is, according to their website "privately held and highly profitable."
Well, we don't know where the high profit comes in with The Renewable
, but we like it a lot. The site is based on the Google Earth
API and is basically a mapping of a ton of renewable energy projects
around the world.
Montana, my state, is a little light on projects (only two,
apparently). But, if I had the inclination, I could add projects to
the listing. And since just about everyone here is talking about biodiesel
, I probably wouldn't have a hard time finding some good ones.
The system makes it very easy to submit new projects along with links
to project websites and pictures of the project. It's also really easy
to browse projects by location, category, size. A very cool use of
We at EcoGeek
have to keep
our eyes open all the time for good environmental news. Besides us and GreenGeek.ca
, there's no
one service that provides specifically environmental
tech news, so we've got to prowl around a lot for good stories. Digg
is great for tech with occasional green articles. But Hugg
is great for green with occasional tech articles.
is technology for the environment, and I feel bad I haven't posted about them before. So thanks to the folks at TreeHugger
for putting together an awesome environmental Digg
I was just checking out the Digg 3.0 screenshots
I noticed, under the 'Science' category, an 'environment' sub category. Sweet! Here's hoping to see some EcoGeek
articles in there.
For those of you who don't know, Digg
is a really amazing site that allows folks to submit news and / or vote
on whether they thing the user submitted news is newsworthy. It's
great because people are deciding for themselves what news the people
was originally meant to be a technology site, but it has outgrown
itself and a lot of articles aren't tech related at all. Now, with Digg
gets a bit more structure.
There's already an environmental Digg
clone at Hugg.com
, created by the enviro
which I find very useful and interesting. I look forward to seeing how Hugg
match up now that there'll
be an environment category at Digg
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