Looking at world from aloft, even destruction has beauty
Images from aloft give us the big picture, but without context the big picture tells us so little.
The view from satellites can be beautiful, even if what we’re seeing is a landscape ravaged by war or natural disaster. The tragedy of a flood of refugees to a desolate camp on the border between Syria and Jordan becomes an array of spots in the desert; the Islamic State’s destruction of ancient treasures at Palmyra could be a sand sculpture, stomped on by a toddler. There is no suggestion of danger in the aftermath of a Canadian wildfire, and no indication of cholera or hunger in the aftermath of a hurricane in Haiti.
Nor can you see the passion of the encampment of protesters who fought the Dakota Access pipeline. And the celebration of the Chicago Cubs’ first world championship in 108 years? If you look closely, you’ll see that the human dots are a fine shade of blue.