When you first read about SkyTruth you might be thinking “Big Brother Is Watching You.” The linked article starts out with:
“Somewhere in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest landfall, there is a fishing ship. Let’s say you’re on it. Go onto the open deck, scream, jump around naked, fire a machine gun into the air — who will ever know? You are about as far from anyone as it is possible to be.
But you know what you should do? You should look up and wave. Because 438 miles above you, moving at 17,000 miles per hour, a polar-orbiting satellite is taking your photograph. A man named John Amos is looking at you. He knows the name and size of your ship, how fast you’re moving and, perhaps, if you’re dangling a line in the water, what type of fish you’re catching.”
But it’s all good. SkyTruth is a small nonprofit group in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, headed by geologist John Amos. Amos says:
“You can track anything in the world from anywhere in the world. That’s the real revolution.”
Just a few examples of “anything” would include illegal fishing in the South Pacific, fracking in rural Pennsylvania or mountaintop removal throughout Appalachia.
The linked article continues:
“Amos is, by many accounts, reshaping the postmodern environmental movement. He is among the first, if not the only, scientist to take the staggering array of satellite data that have accumulated over 40 years, turn it into maps with overlays of radar or aerial flyovers, then fan it out to environmental agencies, conservation nonprofit groups and grass-roots activists. This arms the little guys with the best data they’ve ever had to challenge oil, gas, mining and fishing corporations over how they’re changing the planet.”
The research director for Greenpeace says:
“John’s work is absolutely cutting-edge. No one else in the nonprofit world is watching the horizon, looking for how to use satellite imagery and innovative new technology.”
The executive director of the Upper Green River Alliance says John Amos’ maps “visualize what can’t be seen with the human eye — the big-picture, long-term impact of environment damage.”
For more information, check out the SkyTruth website.