In honor of this week's COP21 climate conference in Paris, Google has unveiled Street View images of the places and living things that are depending on action from world leaders. A variety of conservation organizations took Google's Street View Trekker camera technology and captured images that tell the story of what's at stake.
You can virtually visit polar bears thanks to Polar Bears International who mapped the bears and their fragile sea ice habitat near Churchill, Manitoba for all to view and created lesson plans and activities for educators to bring this information into classrooms.The Nature Conservancy - California took the cameras to capture the plants in California that are vulnerable to climate change. The group has been using the technology to monitor the health of the state's blue oaks, which are predicted to decline by 41% by 2100. They'll check in again in the future to keep monitoring these trees to document them and hopefully come up with strategies for protecting them.
The Amazonas Sustainable Foundation used the Trekker to allow people to view the Brazilian Amazon from the forest floor, capturing images of hundreds of kilometers walking through the forest and floating on the river and its tributaries. The group also mapped the local isolated communities whose livelihoods are being impacted by the loss of forest. The group hopes that the images will inspire people to protect the forest that not only supports a wide ecosystem but also is essential to the health of our environment as it acts like a giant carbon sink and protects our atmosphere.
If you've ever wanted to see what it would be like to be dropped into the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, you can explore below.
This isn't the first time Google has drawn attention to environmental issues with it's mapping technology. During previous COP climate conferences, the company has released images like these that show the consequences of damming rivers around the world and Google Earth layers that model how the world will look with rising seas and a warming climate.