Stunning images of deforestation (and other consequences of globalization) via Google Earth

Visuals are hard to shake. That’s why, on Nov. 20, the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC) will be addressing the issues of deforestation and other earthly destruction in an exhibition called Mind the Earth in Copenhagen, using images shot by none other than Google Earth.

The exhibition first started as an individual project by urban planner Kasper Brejnholt Bak, who started collecting Google Earth images of beautiful places he stumbled upon several years ago, and then began zooming in on themes of globalization, urbanization, and climate change. He whittled 1000 images down to 80 for the DAC show.

Below are some of the exhibit’s satellite images that capture these themes:

NezaChalcoItzaBarrio MexicoCity (Worlds biggest slum area) km3
Neza-Chalco-Itza barrio, the world’s largest slum of four million people, located in Mexico City. (Kasper Brejnholt Bak/DAC/Google Earth)
Ice floe_Antarctica_km3
Ice floe in Antarctica: Rising water levels caused by ice melting in Antarctica poses severe flooding risks to many countries. (Kasper Brejnholt Bak/DAC/Google Earth)
Traffic intersection_Los Angeles
Intersecting highways in Los Angeles, CA. (Kasper Brejnholt Bak/DAC/Google Earth)
Deforestation of rainforest_ Bolivia
A beautiful if disturbing shot of deforestation in Bolivian rainforest, where trees are being replaced by cattle fields. (Kasper Brejnholt Bak/DAC/Google Earth)
Fishing slum_Manila_km025
A fishing slum in Manila, Philippines. (Kasper Brejnholt Bak/DAC/Google Earth)
Aral Sea_Utzbekistan_1999 and 2013
The Aral Sea, located in between Uzbekistan and Kazakstan, in 1999 (left) and 2013 (right). The sea will disappear by 2020 if agricultural water use continues. (Kasper Brejnholt Bak/DAC/Google Earth)
Explosive urbanization in Dubai between 2003 (left) and 2014 (right). (Kasper Brejnholt Bak/DAC/Google Earth)
Amazon_1975 and 2008
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon in 1975 (left) and 2008 (right). (Kasper Brejnholt Bak/DAC/Google Earth)

The images portray both the beauty and the claustrophobia of the earth’s finite resources, Bak told Quartz. “It gives me the thought that we need to think more carefully about the resources that [we] have—we only have one inhabitable planet,” Bak said. It’s yet another reminder of the need for careful planning by governments, urban planners, transportation authorities, and manufacturers around the world, he said.

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