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SCI/TECH: Satellite Photos Show Thirty Years of Environmental Destruction

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posted on Jun, 5 2005 @ 11:27 AM
'One Planet Many People', a new atlas published Saturday by the United Nations, shows mankinds impact on the environment over the last thirty years in 300 pages of before-and-after satellite views.
By Jeremy Lovell
LONDON (Reuters) - The devastating impact of mankind on the planet is dramatically illustrated in pictures published on Saturday showing explosive urban sprawl, major deforestation and the sucking dry of inland seas over less than three decades.

Mexico City mushrooms from a modest urban center in 1973 to a massive blot on the landscape in 2000, while Beijing shows a similar surge between 1978 and 2000 in satellite pictures published by the United Nations in a new environmental atlas.

Delhi sprawls explosively between 1977 and 1999, while from 1973 to 2000 the tiny desert town of Las Vegas turns into a monster conurbation of one million people -- placing massive strain on scarce water supplies.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The pictures that came with this article when I first read it are not posted on the Reuters page I linked to. They can be found on the supporting link below. Really something to see.

Related News Links:

posted on Jun, 5 2005 @ 12:03 PM
Makes me sick looking at that those photos. In just 27 years we managed to do that. Imagine what it's gonna look like in another 100 yrs with our growing population.

posted on Jun, 5 2005 @ 12:25 PM
Important Topic

A more detailed and user friendly news source here with good multimedia:
Story and Pics

From the UN more images:
UN Wallchart

UN Homepage for the Atlas and press release

To actually see the images brings home the reality of what we are doing to this planet.


posted on Jun, 5 2005 @ 12:38 PM
I think our growing population will be an issue that needs attention soon..........scary thought..........

posted on Jun, 5 2005 @ 01:23 PM
Very interesting to point out that we as a species has done so much damage.

Humans has been very successful thinking that we control the environment and earth and so far we have done everything to go against nature's way for preservation of our species.

But as all other species that had thrive in earth and died no amount of technology is going to keep nature from reclaiming earth.

Eventually we either will be the end of our own species or nature will do it for us as it has done since the beginning of time.

Something people needs to understand we don't control anything in earth really, we just think we do.

posted on Jun, 5 2005 @ 03:23 PM
I had posted a topic on when we should implement some sort of population control fo the growing population but pretty much got flamed. What sort of population control should we use or should we let nature and gov't with big heads do it?

posted on Jun, 5 2005 @ 04:27 PM
Honestly, I feel that we're going to be our own form of population control. Humans, as a race, are heading quickly towards an apocalypse. It could be due to growth, war, or any other variety of reasons. It is coming however. This planet has always managed to right itself somehow, and humans are quickly destroying it. Has anyone noticed that the frequency of large storms, earthquakes, and other natural disasters has become more frequent within the past 30 years? Honestly, I feel that's almost entirely due to "human improvement." We destroy the rainforests, less oxygen is produced, this disrupts the weather patterns, and odd weather is the result. Pollution is another thing that is quickly changing our weather patterns. The fact is, the Earth is a very fragile ecosystem, and we, as humans, have been acting like a bull in a china shop in relation to that ecosystem. Our current successes with conservation are really too little, too late. Right here in Maryland, for instance, enviornmentalists have been trying for years to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, with some degree of success (the rockfish is no longer endangered), but we are still quickly killing off the one species of wildlife in the Bay that Maryland is known for - the Blue Crab (most "Maryland" Blue Crabs are shipped up live from North Carolina now).

Humans are killing the planet, and thus, killing ourselves. Population control is coming, and it won't be from the government. Mother Earth is going to kill most of us, sooner or later.

posted on Jun, 5 2005 @ 07:46 PM
I posted this comment about a week or so ago on the topic of evolution, but it fits here as well--especially the ending.

I've always thought that stupidity should be painful -- and in truth, it is. Stupid people do not tend to live as long as smart people. However, they have learned to compensate by breeding early and often, which is why the human genetic pool is not improving at a more rapid rate, if at all. As time wears on I'm more inclined to agree with the concept of "punctuated equilibrium" as being the normal evolutionary path. Nowdays, as I read about the re-emergence of Creationist -vs- evolutionist discussions, lawsuits, and outright fights and about such things as gay marriage & hidden homesexual agendas, etc., etc., ... I'm convinced that God has a "Hell" of sense of humor. I'm also somewhat curious as to what event or castrophe, or series of such events or castrophes could bring about the next major evolutionary changes and whether or not "intelligence" would fare well in the next go around. For if one looks at planet earth through history, particularly at the changes imposed on the planet by mankind, one might reach the conclusion that mankind is nothing more than a virulent infection.
Let's hope Aliens haven't been observing us from afar to evaluate our fitness for galactic citizenship and basing any reports on what we are doing to the Earth.

[edit on 5-6-2005 by Astronomer68]

posted on Jun, 5 2005 @ 08:30 PM
Too many people are short sighted and only look for immidiate gain, without a thought of long term effects. People are talking out taking care of the poor as a short term problem with little or no solution, and then you have urban spawl pollution, and water sortages because no one is bothering to spend resources and time to prevent the problems.

I am fortunate to live in the a place called "Town of dunn" ( that has an internationally reconized Land use plan, and zero growth policy. protecting nesting cranes, farmland, and wetland from greedy develpoers

This year I voted to preserve over a 1000 acres of prime farmland which only cost the town about $800,000 after the matching USDA grant money.

it can be done, it jsut takes more work and dedication then a lot of people are willing to commit after getting home tired from a job and the fact they might miss thier favorite show on a particular night

"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to whcih we belong we may begin to use it with love and respect" - Aldo leopold, A sand county almanac

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 02:20 AM
This is pretty dumb. It doesn't take satellite photos to show people that urban sprawl is really happening. The same thing can be illustrated when looking at different ages of roadmaps. This makes me think "propaganda".

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 02:48 AM
Now go read how people react when politicians try to tackle the transport problems....."UK Satellite Toll Plan To Make Drivers Pay By The Mile"

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 04:05 AM
Perhaps the American Indians had it right in their belief that no person owned the land or could own it. Land belonged to the gods and people could use it at will as long as they took care of it.

I don't know who first decided to fence in land and proclaim it as their own, but the concept has sure as the dickins led to a lot of problems over the centuries.

Various scientists, politicians, and just plain ordinary people have been saying for years (about 35 or 40 years now) that the human population was growing to fast for our own good and that we needed to institute some sort of population control. For the most part we have simply ingnored them and gone on breeding as usual. Well, we have reached a point in time that they can't be ignored any longer. A few weeks ago I read an article (I don't remember where) that said humanity had finally reached an unsustainable number. I.e., a number greater than the Earth could support on a long term basis. If that article was right then deprivation, malnutrition and outright slow starvation for ever increasing millions is now unavoidable. That's what happens to wild animal populations when their numbers are allowed to go unchecked and it appears it may have started happening to humanity.

[edit on 6-6-2005 by Astronomer68]

[edit on 6-6-2005 by Astronomer68]

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 07:26 AM
Propaganda!? Pull your head out, Bly! What difference does it make how the message gets out? The satellite image comparison certainly has a greater impact than lines on paper signifying new roads in a map comparison.

Where are you coming at this from? We know urban sprawl is happening all around us, so let's not talk about it? Sounds like the ostrich with his head in the sand approach to me. Would you rather that our damage to and exploitation of the environment remain hidden? Are these pictures threatening your profits? Is that why you call this article UN propaganda?

You come across as a complete fool, and should have kept your comment to yourself. No offense, of course. Have a nice day.

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 08:30 AM

Originally posted by Icarus Rising
Propaganda!? Pull your head out, Bly! What difference does it make how the message gets out? The satellite image comparison certainly has a greater impact than lines on paper signifying new roads in a map comparison.

Where are you coming at this from? We know urban sprawl is happening all around us, so let's not talk about it? Sounds like the ostrich with his head in the sand approach to me. Would you rather that our damage to and exploitation of the environment remain hidden? Are these pictures threatening your profits? Is that why you call this article UN propaganda?

You come across as a complete fool, and should have kept your comment to yourself. No offense, of course. Have a nice day.


First of all, I'm in just as much favor of protecting our environment as you are. The point I was trying to make was how releasing satellite imagery of cities is really doing nothing to protect the environment (In some comparisons like London, I know some people would say to themselves "This doesn't look like it's changed much.")

These picture's aren't "threatening my profits" you nut. In fact, you're the kind of person who associates protecting the environment with the term "environmentalist wack-o".

If you think flashing around satellite images is going to cure urban sprawl and it's side effects on the environment, than you really need to re-evaluate your stance as an effective environmentalists. The United Nations is run by globalists, people that are the core problem of urban sprawl.

When they release these images, what they are doing is first getting people like you to think that their organizatiuon is pro-environment, and to secondly widen the rift between you environmentalists and the normal people of the world who are just helplessly, stupidly caught up in capitalism.

The Kyoto protocol was never executed successfuly because every government in the world is pro-capitalism, and every United Nation deligate represents those same capitalist governments. Because of this, when I see that the United Nations has started a campaign for environmental awareness, it just seems like they're propagating something else than environmentalism.

But really it all boils down to this: satellite images don't cure the environment, people cure the environment. The UN knows that people will have a hard time sacrificing materialism for trees, so they will try to cure this by taking pictures from space.

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 09:16 AM
So where exactly is the damage? What I see are expanding communities to accomodate a growing population. What would you have people do? live in caves underground to preserve the natural visible landscape? This entire thread is ridiculous as it is nothing more than scare mongering by those proclaiming to be concerned for the environment. Instead of "persecuting" us humans why don't you come up viable solutions (by viable I don't mean living like the Flinstones). Give me a break!!

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 12:48 PM
I'm not an environmentalist. I am a realist. The reality is the unchecked expansion of the human race is rapidly depleting the earth environment's ability to support it. I don't care who points it out or what their motives are. If the message can get through more thick heads like these last two posters, and encourage more people to change what they do in little ways, the cumulative effect could help sustain us all. That would make this thread worthwhile, if the two previous boneheads here went out after reading it and stopped littering, or something constructive like that.

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 01:18 PM
In our current biological state we have been too successful of a species to continue to reproduce and manipulate the finite resources of this planet at our current rate.........

..As the “dominant” species (but I’m sure insects/microbes would have something to say about that) of this planet we are having an increasingly cancer like impact to the Earth's current biosphere and its sustainability of life......

…This will be dramatically illustrated as the populations of undeveloped countries begin to experience and thus further desire a increasingly greater quality of life. The entry of an ever increasing planet population into the quality of life experience by developed societies will force all of us to deal with the exploitation of our limited resources and their impact on the Earth’s biosphere.

In time, struggles for the land and natural resources to enable such a lifestyle could very well lead to global conflict, eventually escalating to weapons of mass destruction when the situation becomes desperate. A theater wide scale of global conflict would hasten the negative effect on the biosphere by exponential proportions.

As a result of these underlying conditions, I personally do not have a lot of confidence in the human race avoiding such consequences.

We carry too many insecurities that often manifest themselves in areas such as political/power/land/resource exploitation along with plain consumer materialism. Couple any of this with those possessing an unalterable faith based lifestyle system and you would render unobtainable a global concurrence necessary for our very survival.

As one who has prospered from a capitalist free society, I believe that the system has created the highest quality of life we have experienced in the history of the human race.......

......but is capitalism also at the root of a long term stress load on the Earth's capablities?.........

........In theory yes...........but how could we create a "managed" capitalistic free society?

We could only manage capitalism by managing our population for starters...

.....but alas, my experience of prospering under this form of governement and economic system while compelling to many underdeveloped countries in the future is despised by others either from a policital or religious point of view anyway........

The fact remains that all these aforementioned underlying human conditions could easily lead us to a major catastrophe in human aggression of epic proportions on this planet, whether it be malicious or mistaken in its intent and/or identity.

Those of us in modern civilized society have paid a dear price in our sacrifice and struggle to succeed...............but at the same time, what have we left for future generations?

I have chosen not to participate in the contribution to future generations (have no children).......but am concerned for those who do.........

As one scientist expressed it.............

........."I'd love to do whatever I can to make this planet better for everyone but at the same time as a parent I'd do anything to provide the best for my children and someday in the near future...this situation may become at odds with each other if it isn't already now..........and as a parent I will guard and choose my children first before I concern myself with others"

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 01:21 PM
Well, I'd like to realistically discuss a few issues presented here as well. First of all the problem of urban sprawl seems to only be a problem if you already have a place to live. What is the answer here? Are we legitimate in taking the attitude that we have our homes but no one else should be allowed develope land? Kind of an "I have mine, to hell with everyone else" ideology? I don't think any of you can seriously back such a close-minded approach. No, I think what we are discussing here is proper planning when dealing with a growing population.

While the sat pics of Paraguay are very much different, when we look at the majority areas in the US, we don't see such changes and in many cases, we see a change in the opposite direction. WHY?

The answer lies in the element that most of you have named , population but also just as importantly, wealth.

My home community would serve as a prime example of what i am refering too. In the Appalachion region of KY, eastern, KY to be exact, we were once thought of as poor, primitive and every young lady stayed barefoot and pregnant while the men worked the mines for very little money and died very young. I'm sure many of you have seen the movie; "Coal Miner's Daughter" and for a time, this area was very much like that. Forested land was raped as was minerals because nom one knew, had the time nor the money to properly manage them. Its all changed today because of education.

Now, communties area built in with nature taking it into heavy consideration in the planning stages. Once scared mountain tops left barren from strip mining are reclaimed grasslands teaming with our native Elk which had vanished so many decades ago when humans settled most of the grasslands which fed them.

My point is this, the answer is not to stop progress because poor people are a hell of a lot harder on the environment than wealthy people. We have to encourage continued growth of the population and educate them so proliferation isn't their only ability. In looking at the census preditcions for the year 2030, the KY State Data Center predicts the population for this area will actually take about a 19% drop in the next 30 years. The reason is wealth and education. People who can be part of the work force don't have time to have a dozen kids as once was the case here. Now, I think the avergae is under 2 kids per family in this area that used to see an average above 6.

The reality is that there isn't much we can ultimately do about urban sprawl in states and countries where poverty abounds because as people pollute their environment, they are forced to abandon it for new land.

I think if you overlay those ariels with some data, you'll find the most destruction of environment also coincides with the highest poverty rates. The answer is not to stop progess but to merely make sure progress is educated.

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 06:47 PM
I don't see how anything short of a major catastrophe will make the majority of the earth do anything like population control or whatever. People are simply capitalists and procrastrinaters at heart. They must have true dedication in order to get off their butts and start doing something.

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 08:10 PM
actually i was just reading in MIT's technology review that the problem of overpopulation may just fix itself. it seems that the more people there are, the more they have to move into cities. the kicker is that in a city, children become a liability instead of an asset, so even in third world nations their rate of children per couple is dropping to less than 2.1. it states in the article that by the year 2050 most countries will be below that 2.1 mark and population will level off. i would go into more detail now, but the magazine is currently propping some equipment in the lab, lol.

i think people should stop trying to cause a panic, especially when latest trends may suggest the problem will fix itself. i think MIT is a fairly credible source.

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