It doesn’t show a lot as far as Earth’s processes go, the transpiration, constant innovation. But if you take a few minutes to watch Breathing Earth (blogroll, left), you can get a very real sense of our impact here. Without relying on stock footage of oil spills and smokestacks, too. It comes in iconic bursts of color and motorized rhythm.
Births and deaths roll in real time here. After just a few minutes on my watch 1,800 have died and more than 4,000 have come into the world. National industrial exhalation of carbon dioxide fills geopolitical boundaries with shades of red, tan, and brown. You can feel the chugging of machinery in this almost hypnotic display.
Carbon emissions are measured in tons and the dual pistons of East versus West is painfully obvious. This global illustration of place offers a visual touchstone just in time to consider the International Panel on Climate Change’s fourth report on the state of our disrupted Earth.
The simulation’s remarkable achievement is in its limited focus. That becomes clear when you notice how much is not happening, how much of the landscape isn’t changing, that great mass of tan and brown having yet to belch but one crimson burst.
At a time when it is so easy to be washed away with depressing data, Breathing Earth offers an uneasy but compelling vision of the challenge — and its awful pace.
Inhale deeply, then check your own carbon pulse with an admittedly trendy but equally revealing eco footprint.