Earth Day and SERVIR-Mekong

Mekong at Night
Image credit: Shutterstock

The Earth is facing increasingly difficult environmental challenges such as rising sea levels, more frequent disasters, and changing ecosystems that threaten livelihoods. Many of these environmental challenges are exacerbated by rapid urbanization. Southeast Asia has seen tremendous growth in urban populations, with over 40% of people now living in an urban area.

Use the slider to see the changes in urbanization through night lights from 1992 to 2013 in the Lower Mekong Region

Urbanization can place extreme pressure on the environment, particularly on energy consumption, biological and agricultural productivity, ecosystem diversity and air quality. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way urban spaces are managed.

Urban centers can place pressure on the environment. Effective urban planning and environmental management are required to ensure cities and communities can balance growth with resilience.

Cities and urban growth do not need to follow a path of environmental degradation. Effective policy can help urban communities balance growth with effective environmental management. Safe and sustainable cities is now a priority under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A key input for better environmental protection in urban growth is earth observation data. Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances enable scientists to see the big picture, collecting different types of information about the planet. This body of data has the potential to unlock the solutions for better environmental management and sustainable development.

Landsat Satellite
The use of publicly available satellite information can play a critical role for effective environmental management and sustainable development.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), SERVIR-Mekong works with governments and practitioners in the Lower Mekong region to ensure they have the tools they need to make better decisions for the environment. 

Earth Day is a reminder that protecting the environment is everyone's responsibility. The tools and services offered by SERVIR-Mekong allow decision makers in the region to fulfill that responsibility.

Learn more about SERVIR-Mekong tools here.