Contemplating Humanity's Effect On Planet Earth, From Above

Contemplating Humanity's Effect On Planet Earth, From Above

Earthrise, a photograph taken on Christmas Eve of 1968 by astronauts of the Apollo 8 mission, was a defining moment for our collective understanding of the world in which we live on. For the very first time it dramatically pulled into focus the simultaneous magnificence, intricacy, and terrifying fragility of the planet we inhabit. Since that time the advent, acceleration, and accessibility of satellite imagery has made one thing abundantly clear: that humankind has had a considerable effect on Earth, for better or for worse. Daily Overview's self-defined mission is to "consider the places where man has left his mark and then conduct the necessary research to identify locations to convey that idea." They do so with incredible effect.

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Earthrise (1968)

Their undertaking is inspired by the 'Overview Effect'. This phenomenon, which was first described by Frank White in 1987, is "an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of Earth and mankind’s place upon it." This sensation induces feelings of awe in the face of the planet we call home, leading to "a profound understanding of all the interconnection of live, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment."

Astronauts have the chance to appreciate our home in its entirety, to reflect on its beauty and its fragility all at once. That's the cognitive shift that we hope to inspire.

From our line of sight on the earth's surface, it’s impossible to fully appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the things we’ve constructed, the sheer complexity of the systems we’ve developed, or the devastating impact that we’ve had on our planet. We believe that beholding these forces as they shape our Earth is necessary to make progress in understanding who we are as a species, and what is needed to sustain a safe and healthy planet.

The mesmerizing flatness seen from this vantage point, the surprising comfort of systematic organization on a massive scale, or the vibrant colors that we capture will hopefully turn your head. However, once we have that attention, we hope you will go beyond the aesthetics, contemplate just exactly what it is that you're seeing, and consider what that means for our planet.

Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Lucca, Tuscany, Italy. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Palmanova, Italy. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
The Statue of Liberty, New York City. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Residential development - Boynton Beach, Florida, USA. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Plaza Del Ejecutivo in the Venustiano Carranza district of Mexico City, Mexico. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Burning Man is a week-long, annual event held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, USA. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
A turbine interchange connects the SR 9A and SR 202 in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Fantasy Island - Skegness, United Kingdom. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Het Loo Palace - Apeldoorn, Netherlands. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney, Australia. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco, California, USA. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
World's Longest Pier - Progeso, Mexico. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Magdeburg Water Bridge - Magdeburg, Germany. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Hoover Dam - Clark County, Nevada / Mohave County, Arizona, USA. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Glastonbury Festival - Pilton, Somerset, England. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Saint Petersburg - Saint Petersburg, Russia. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City State. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe

You can follow Daily Overview on Instagram here, or check out their other social streams.

Daily Overview's satellite imagery is courtesy of DigitalGlobe.

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About this author
Cite: James Taylor-Foster. "Contemplating Humanity's Effect On Planet Earth, From Above" 10 Feb 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

Piet Blom's Cube Houses - Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Image Courtesy of DigitalGlobe


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