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Google Earth Images From The Past And Present Paint A Grim Future

Aerial photography has the ability to turn slums, ransacked rainforests, and even pit mines into something beautiful. From a distance, all we can see are geometric patterns or deep color contrasts between land and sea, and the simplicity in these images is breathtaking. We can’t help but find them fascinating, and if you spend any significant amount of time on the internet, you’ve undoubtedly fallen under their spell.

But that’s a part of the problem: these images oversimplify the Earth.


Mind Source: Slate

They allow us to forget what was destroyed to make space for man-made straight lines and right angles. An exhibit called “Mind the Earth” at the Danish Architecture Centre is making it harder to continue ignoring the past. “Mind the Earth” [ran] from November 20th until January 11th, 2014, [using] carefully selected Google Earth images to show the stark reality of our rapidly changing world.

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By juxtaposing two images of the same place–one recent, one from twenty or even just ten years ago–this exhibit shows the deforestation, urban sprawl, and resource reduction we’ve inflicted on the earth over a series of unsustainable decades. Below are a few images from the show.

The Aral Sea, Uzbekistan in 1999 (left) and 2013 (right). Source: Design Boom The Aral Sea, Uzbekistan in 1999 (left) and 2013 (right). Source: Design Boom

Dubai in 2003 (left) and 2014 (right). Source: Design Boom Dubai in 2003 (left) and 2014 (right). Source: Design Boom

The Amazon Rainforest in 1975 (left) and 2008 (right). Source: Design Boom The Amazon Rainforest in 1975 (left) and 2008 (right). Source: Design Boom

“Mind the Earth” is the brainchild of architect and urban planner Kasper Brejnholt Bak and writer Morten Søndergaard, and they hope it will make us change our habits and the current trajectory of the earth.

This article originally appeared on All That Is Interesting