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Space4ourplanet

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  1. In terms of how Space can contribute to the sustainable development goals, we focus very much on territorial management and coastal erosion; these are the main issues that we are facing right now. In Europe, for example, more than 70% of people live in coastal areas. As sea levels rise, this will become an increasing problem for us. One of the tools we have available is constant monitoring of land and coastal areas by satellite. Territorial management combining agriculture, water management and mobility in sustainable cities is also a huge issue. When we need cutting-edge technology to address complex problems, Space-based technologies provide the solutions for understanding the big dynamics.
  2. Our vision of sustainable development is twofold: how we do Space and why we do Space. Why we do Space is outlined in our Space strategy. Essentially, we reach out to Space to make lives on Earth better and more sustainable while selecting Space projects and missions to provide answers to questions related to global challenges and to social, economic, and scientific objectives. The German Space strategy, for example, focuses on Earth Observation which provides critical data to help us draw up a comprehensive and global perspective on our changing planet. This data is crucial in policy making. Sustainable development also includes Space. We therefore encourage innovations like green propellants, debris removal projects, and debris avoidance technologies.
  3. Jorge Fontes, Marine Biologist, University of Azores , Horta Department Oceanography and fisheries, Portugal Sea animals such as manta rays and sharks can provide us with a better understanding of marine ecosystems because some of these animals are keystone species. The tagging system developed by CEIIA can be deployed in a non-invasive way so there is minimal impact on animals, which can carry multiple sensors on the same tag and communicate with satellite. Space tech is required to determine the position of animals, which allows us to retrieve tags and download all information that was collected during deployment, whether this is video, high frequency behaviour or environmental data.
  4. Interview of Kai Fürstenberg, Projectleader Institut der Feuerwehr NRW, Münster, Germany The focus of my current project is to establish an early warning system that provides information on vegetation and wild fire dangers around traffic infrastructures like train tracks or roads but also in the forest and agriculture areas. The benefit of the European Union Copernicus satellites and infrastructure is that we get high temporal and spatial resolve data that enables us to find out which vegetation is in areas endangered by wild fires with a resolution of 10x10 meters. We can also provide information where active wild fires may be moving towards.
  5. Interview of Kerstin Stelzer, Physical geographer, Brockmann Consult, Hamburg, Germany When using satellite data to assess water quality, the satellite-based instrument measures the light that is reflected from the water body. Within the water there are certain ingredients that influence the colour. We can detect algae blooms, which appear in green and observe their distribution. By combining these observations with in situ testing and models, we can provide users such as administrations, aquafarms and citizens with important information about the toxicity of these algae blooms and predict their growth and localisation.
  6. Interview of Isabel Franco Trigo, Coordinator Earth Observation Unit, IPMA, Lisbon, Portugal Satellite observation has made a big difference in the monitoring of air pollutants and in the improvement of air quality forecasts. Sentinel satellites, for instance, are regularly used to derive concentrations of various trace gases and aerosols. Monitoring fire emissions from Space, as well as forecasts of fire plumes and their impact on air quality, can also be used for the guidance of the whole population, especially for those most vulnerable who can take precautions against degraded air quality conditions. This data also provides a basis for epidemiologists to assess the impact of such events on different population groups.
  7. Interview of Katja Berger, Post-doctorate researcher, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany The purpose of my research is to develop agricultural products from hyperspectral satellite missions such as EnMAP with the German space agency (DLR) or the European Copernicus missions. We provide applications to monitor the nutrition status of crops, the water content of the canopy, or just crop vitality. With this information farmers can decide where to put fertilizers, where to irrigate and the variable rate application of their inputs. In the context of climate change, such precision farming allows our agricultural systems to be much more efficient and sustainable while ensuring food security.
  8. Interview of Antonio Sarmento, President of Wavec, Portugal An important question is to understand how Space technologies can reduce the environmental impact, and therefore increase the sustainability, of offshore windfarms. I believe they can play a role in two ways. One is early detection of hazards and the identification of their causes. The second is better monitoring of the environmental impact associated with offshore windfarms, its impact on birds, marine mammals, and the wave wake, its impact for instance on the shoreline, or the impact of wind wake on the environment.
  9. "We are all together under one sky" The IAU was founded in 1919, it’s the worldwide organization of professional astronomers with 12,000 members from 83 countries. Our original purpose was to foster worldwide coordination and exchange of astronomical information; now our goals have been expanded to promote the inclusive advancement of astronomy, to promote the use of astronomy as a tool for development, to engage the public in astronomy, and to stimulate STEM education through astronomy. Two areas regarding a sustainable world that impact and involve astronomy are dark skies and climate change. Light pollution is becoming a serious problem. We need to maintain dark skies so that we can all continue to enjoy our view of space, so that wildlife natural rhythms are not disrupted, and so that astronomers can continue to do observations from the ground to understand our Universe. And despite the undisputed merit of satellite communication constellations, their unprecedented large number is creating several challenges that hinder optical and radio astronomy. Our new Center for the Protection of Dark and Quiet Skies will work with the United Nations and other organizations on concrete actions to help mitigate the negative impact of satellite constellations. We also need to tackle the problems associated with climate change, and astronomers can make an impact on this issue by helping to inform the public. We can educate about climate change from the perspective of studying evolution of atmospheres on the Earth and other planets. Our continued studies of astronomical objects and of Earth from space will help in our understanding of these issues. Through our outreach programs we can impress upon the public and schoolchildren that our pale blue dot needs protecting. Astronomy inspires natural curiosity and so draws schoolchildren to STEM fields. Helping their education and their teachers’ development through training, workshops, and symposia will lead to a generation better able to tackle this transition. It is vital that we engage a diverse and inclusive global community in these problems, since that will broaden ideas and perspectives and lead to better solutions. We hope to accomplish this through our various outreach, educational, and professional astronomer meetings. Ultimately such broad involvement is vital for the well-being of our planet. Always remember that “We are all together under one sky.”
  10. Interview of Connie Walker, Scientist, NOIRlab, Tucson, Arizona It is now estimated that 83% of the people living on Earth live under light polluted skies. The light pollution is not just a problem for our cultural heritage but it also threatens remote mountain tops where there are major worldclass astronomical facilities. In addition to its impact on astronomy, there is convincing evidence that light pollution negatively affects ecological and biological systems such as birds, sea turtles, nocturnal animals, insects and various human biological systems that are important to our health and our well-being. The International Astronomical Union has established a recommended maximum tolerable threshold of light pollution for astronomical sites of about 10% above national background levels.
  11. Interveiw of Zainab Azim, Founder of G.I.V.E Not only is improved access to quality education important for creating progress in the Space sector, but Space can also be used to benefit education, simultaneously improving our own planet. If we are to achieve all the other SDGs, we must invest in young people by investing in our education systems and space-based technologies to provide that education. We should be working to foster the skills needed to achieve these other SDGs. The next generation is the future, and we have a responsibility to ensure that every child, regardless of their background or where they are born, has the chance to contribute to that future, is not limited and has the tools available.
  12. Interview of Teresa Simões, Head Wind Energy Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia (LNEG), Lisbon, Portugal The main challenges to the deployment of offshore windfarms are the lack of suitable and quality data to estimate offshore wind resources, investment costs – mainly installation, operation and maintenance, and sea conditions. The Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-3 satellites can monitor the state of the sea with good spatial and temporal resolution and provide ocean wave spectra and ocean surface winds.
  13. Interview of Simonetta di Pippo, UNOOSA Director Our Earth is unique and fragile, and we have a moral imperative to protect it. Your actions determine what happens next, and now is your time to be the change you want to see.
  14. Interview of Patricia Lombo, Chief of Education UNICEF NIGER The Giga initiative is about really connecting all the schools to Internet in Niger and empowering young people, giving them the choice and opportunities in space, to really have access to education, to skills that they need to bounce back and thrive.
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