MNN Galleries

7 ways humans are damaging the planet

By: Katherine Butler on Sept. 5, 2012, 5:56 p.m.
planet Earth

Photo: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring

1 of 9

Changing our landscape

From outer space, Earth shines like a beacon. Reflecting sunlight off silvery white clouds, opal blue oceans, and forest-tinged continents, it’s hard to imagine from this image that humanity is making any kind of imprint.

But we are making more than an imprint; we are stamping our metal feet into the Earth and spewing carbon by the ton into the atmosphere. In turn, we are leaving the Earth in much worse shape than we found it.

Haze has settled over cities. Once green, fertile areas have become desert. Metal encroachments creep into the soil. All the while, NASA has photographed the progress from space. Here are seven jarring images of human impacts on Earth, as seen from space. (Text: Katherine Butler)