Earth as seen from the sky

Yann Arthus-Bertrand has flown over 100s of countries to create an extraordinary aerial portrait of Planet Earth as never seen before.  A poignant testimony to the breath-taking beauty and variety of Earth as photographed from above, and a timely warning of man’s impact.

The Heart of Voh

(1) THE HEART of VOH, New Caledonia : This image of a “heart-shaped” patch of land, which also adorned the cover of Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s book, is one of the most famous photographs from the ambitious project.  New Caledonia, a group of islands in the Pacific, has of mangrove that is quite low but very dense especially on the western coast of the largest island GRANDE-TERRE.  Inland where sea water only penetrates during spring tides, vegetation is sometimes replaced by naked and over-salted stretches of land called TANNE, like near the town of VOH  where nature has drawn a glade in the “shape of a heart”.

Oil residue landfill

(2)  OIL RESIDUE LANDFILL from the exploitation of oil sands, Fort McMurray, Canada :  Often, what may initially seem like an abstract painting, takes on a different meaning once you know what you are really looking at.  To obtain 1 barrel of 159litres of crude oil, one has to extract 2tons of peat and soil and 2tons of sand.  With the money from the oil, the population of the town very close to Fort McMurray has rapidly increased over the past few years.  However, even if this wealth is advantageous for the province of Alberta, Oil Companies and the inhabitants, it is at the expense of the environment of us all.

Kilamanjaro snow

(3) KILIMANJARO’S DISAPPEARING SNOW, Tanzania :  This snow, which is more than 11,000 years old is about to disappear : global warming, deforestation, very low levels of precipitation —–scientists are wondering why the snow on Africa’s highest summit which, at 5,895 mts tall, is gradually disappearing.

Sanaa Old Town

(4) SANAA’S OLD TOWN & AL KHBIR MOSQUE, Yemen :  Sanaa’s Old Town is a labyrinth of backstreets that smell of “myrrh & incense” — of which Yemen is the world’s largest producer.  It can be a difficult place to negotiate on foot.  But working from the air has its challenges too.  Aerial photography is complicated, the weather needs to be good, you need authorization which is complicated because a photographer is always seen as a “spy in a foreign land”.  So, it is expensive ——- much more expensive than takinh photos on foot or by car.

Louis Saint Laurent icebreaker

(5) LOUIS-SAINT-LAURENT icebreaker in Resolute Bay, Canada :  An icebreaker is designed to open up maritime routes.  Since 1969, the Louis-Saint-Laurent is the largest and oldest of these ships operating in Canada.  With its reinforced hull, its powerful propulsion and its prominent stern, it moves forward on the “ice floe” that it cracks and breaks with its weight.  From BAFFIN BAY to the BEAUFORT SEA, navigation requires the use of such ships to provide human establishments, located at the furthest northern point, with fresh supplies.

Strongbreen glacier

(6) STRONGBREEN GLACIER in KVALVAGEN BAY, Norway : Not many people live in the SVALBARD Archipelago, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean.  Increasing temperatures and climate change are causing the ice to melt, easing access to this region which may be full of gas and petrol.

Crystalline formations Kenya

(7) CRYSTALLINE FORMATION on LAKE MAGADI, Kenya :  Surounded by high volcanic plateaus, these alkaline waters have a high salt content.  And, though the lake is hospitable, is it far from habitable ?  Millions of small flamingos come to feed from micro-algae.  One cannot fail to mention that the lake’s SESQUICARBONATE CRYSTALS ——– the purest in the world —- have been exploited, for over a century, to produce sodium carbonate used in the glass and detergent industries.

Flooded Honda Industrial Park Thailand

(8) FLOODED HONDA INDUSTRIAL PARK, Ayutthaya Province, Thailand :  Not even the six-metre-high water protection walls were enough to protect the industrial area of ROJANA, where the Honda plant is located, from the rising muddy waters of the CHAO PHRAYA River (2011).  Although parts of the cars were removed before the flood, a thousand of them were submerged for months and ended up destroyed.  The plant will be rebuilt at a cost of $650 million.


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