Earth Day 2021 is here and the folks at Google hope it plants a tree in your heart with this adorable Google doodle of one family's tree-planting legacy.
"The planet we call home continues to nurture life and inspire wonder. Our environment works hard to sustain us, which calls for us to return the favor," Google wrote in a description. "Today’s video Doodle shows a variety of trees being planted within natural habitats, one of the many ways we can do our part to keep our Earth healthy for future generations."
If it makes you feel like planting a tree yourself, well, that's the point.
"This Earth Day — and everyday — we encourage everyone to find one small act they can do to restore our Earth," Google wrote. "It's bound to take root and blossom into something beautiful."
In space, NASA and its international partners operate a fleet of satellites to track the health of trees and other vegetation on Earth, as well as their impact on our planet's ecosystem. Earth-observing satellites like NASA's Suomi NPP and the Landsat missions flown by the space agency and U.S. Geological Survey monitor deforestation damage caused by humans and how it affects our planet.
"Satellites can detect how 'green' an area is — showing the health of plants that are growing in a particular site," NASA wrote in a description. "While fires, deforestation and drought lead to the tropical Amazon being less green, warming temperatures in the Arctic lead to tundra and boreal regions becoming greener."
Plants in Space: Photos by Gardening Astronauts
Satellite data is also used to monitor vital vegetation like farmland, to assist farmers in food production.
"Having more information about rainfall, plant health and other data gives farmers information they use to deal with the extreme weather events that are increasing due to climate change, as well as shifting planting zones and other effects like early freezes and heavier spring rains," NASA officials wrote. "These same satellites can also help scientists track the unwanted products of some agricultural fields, including runoff that flows into waterways. Farms, forests, tundra — all these vegetated ecosystems connect to other spheres of our home planet."
Email Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.