Clémence Goyens / Scientific researcher

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences / Ocean color remote sensing

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

Every day Earth Observation satellites provide us with images of the state/health of the Earth surface. Satellite sensors recording the sunlight reflected by the surface and the atmosphere at different wavelengths (~colors) allows us to quantitatively and/or qualitatively estimate different environmental variables such as the chlorophyll content of the vegetation (a proxy for vegetation health), the phytoplankton concentration and amount of suspended matter in the water column (variables used to investigate water quality) or the soil erosion along the coast and over land.
Conclusions from satellite images are obvious, objective and strong; “There is something going on”! While the water may still flow at the end of your backyard, the water reservoir of an entire community may have completely disappeared. The water body near your place might be nice and blue while miles away, it may be red, brownish and smelly. Satellite images have shown that biodiversity impoverishment and degradation, disappearance of habitats, and environmental contamination have no borders.
Hence, if threats and changes are global while should (political and citizen) concerns remain local.
Our responsibility and actions are not limited to a single pixel but to multiple images made of several pixels at multiple times. What we wear, eat and travel-with now, affect all of us today and tomorrow! Therefore, I would like to invite everybody to take their blinders away and have a satellite point of view about what is going on.
Planning and directives should not only be considered at local, regional and national levels but also at global level and over long-term periods (longer than a political mandate). The climate and biodiversity crisis is not about “here” and “now” but about “everywhere” and “tomorrow”.
And for those who believe that the impact of their/our actions is too small to be considered, remember that we are pixels and together we make the images!

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