On May 9, Google helped to unveil a new project called Timelapse and it is truly astonishing. Google paired with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NASA, and TIME to piece together more than a quarter-century of images of earth taken from space. They sifted through 909 terabytes of data and worked with Carnegie Mellon University to create these images. This is the first time the photos have ever been displayed in an interactive fashion and it is a truly somewhat terrifying look at the changes that have taken place on Earth since 1984. If you know of anyone who doubts the drastic effect humans have on the planet, I'd send them this immediately.
Here's a look at some of the image sequences released by Google:
The writeup that accompanies this project in TIME is deserving not only of a read, but of serious contemplation. As the author Jeffrey Kluger puts it:
"For a long time now, Earth has been running a fever. Never mind the few remaining climate-change deniers — really, never mind them; the world has at last moved on — it’s getting awfully toasty down here. The numbers tell the story: 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental U.S., the 15th driest and the second most volatile, with 11 natural weather disasters, including Superstorm Sandy. Of the 10 hottest years on record worldwide, nine have occurred in the 21st century; the exception was 1998."
Project Timelapse is uniquely equipped with the ability to show us how truly finite our resources are and how drastic the changes to the Earth have been in a very short period of time.