Our changing planet
Our changing planet

How Google Earth is helping drive climate action

5-minute read

Billions of people use Google Earth to explore our planet from endless vantage points. Created from 24 million satellite photos taken over the course of 37 years, Timelapse in Google Earth reveals the cumulative effects of human activity and its impact on our planet.

“Timelapse allows us to see our planet in an entirely new dimension — and time. Now anyone can witness nearly four decades of planetary change.”

Rebecca Moore, Director, Google Earth

Learn how Timelapse is being used in partnership with other technologies and programs to empower everyone to take climate action across our planet’s cities, oceans, and forests.


Reducing emissions and working toward cleaner air

Google Earth Timelapse (Google, Landsat, Copernicus)

“Tracking air quality could help identify how to reduce pollution most effectively — like creating low emission zones or keeping heavy trucks out of neighborhoods that are most vulnerable.”

Karin Tuxen-Bettman, Program Manager, Google Earth Outreach

Urban populations have grown exponentially over the last 35 years, and are continuing to grow — along with global CO2 emissions. In an effort to help people and local governments understand the impacts of emissions in their cities, we built the Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), a tool that provides emissions estimates and reduction opportunities for thousands of cities around the world — helping set the foundation for effective climate action. Learn more about some of EIE’s efforts below.

Map of Copenhagen that shows ultrafine particles and  how they correspond to major roads.
Mapping air quality to make the invisible visible

Project Air View is adding pollution sensors to Google Street View cars in cities like Hamburg and Copenhagen to measure street-by-street air quality and to support local, healthier decision-making.

Aerial view of tree canopy intertwined with roads, parking lots, and buildings.

Getty Images

Helping cities plant and plan for more trees

Tree Canopy is a new tool in EIE Labs that combines Artificial Intelligence and aerial imagery to help cities see their current tree canopy coverage and plan future planting, tree care, and community outreach projects.


Protecting, managing, and restoring forests and biodiversity

Google Earth Timelapse (Google, Landsat, Copernicus)

“Technology can play an important role in sparking a global restoration movement by giving groups and individuals the information they need to restore their local ecosystems.”

Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, Director of Product Impact, Google.org

Forests absorb about one-third of the CO2 released by fossil fuels every year. Yet nearly half of the world’s forests have already disappeared to make way for cities and civilizations. Learn more about the nonprofits and developers we’re partnering with to support forest protection, restoration, and management to reverse this trajectory.

Nursery attendants at Kasese Youth Polytechnic (one of the FVW UG partners) weeding the nursery

Fairventures Worldwide

Supporting the global restoration movement

Built on Google Earth Engine, Restor, a Google.org grantee, is an open data platform that allows anyone to analyze the restoration potential of any place on Earth.

Google engineer, Rebecca Moore, standing in front of a live map of forest loss.
Mapping and monitoring forests across the globe

Powered by Google Earth, Global Forest Watch is an Earth observation tool built by World Resources Institute to map and monitor forests across the globe.


Raising awareness to inspire 
positive change for our oceans

Google Earth Timelapse (Google, Landsat, Copernicus)

“By driving global transparency of human interactions at sea, new sustainable management tools are helping to advance conservation and restore a more abundant ocean.”

Brian Sullivan, Sr. Program Manager, Google Earth Outreach

Our oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface and are crucial for balancing CO2 in our atmosphere. But with the Arctic warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, sea levels are rising faster than ever. View the solutions that are raising awareness and inspiring action for our seven seas.

A scene where the objects are made of small loose particles that depict a clownfish coming out of a reef with pollutive trash peeking from behind the reef

Cristina Tarquini

Educating people on the impact of ocean pH levels

Diving into an Acidifying Ocean, a data-driven immersive experience by artist Cristina Tarquini on Google Arts & Culture, shows us how ocean pH levels are changing in acidity and must be protected.

A view from the ocean floor looking over a reef with various small sharks and fish swimming around.

Getty Images

Bringing transparency to global fishing practices

Global Fishing Watch applies machine learning to vessel movements using Google Cloud Platform to bring public transparency to the creation and monitoring of new protected marine areas to help restore the oceans.

Helping everyone be 
more sustainable

We’ve been carbon neutral since 2007 and aim to be carbon free by 2030. We’re helping organizations around the world transition to more sustainable systems, and committed to helping 1 billion people lower their carbon footprint. From travel to home appliances, we’re making sustainability an easier choice.

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