6 times drone footage revealed the environmental destruction we couldn’t see

6 times drone footage revealed the environmental destruction we couldn’t see

Even when we’re making dramatic transformations to our world – through deforestation, industrialisation, and fossil fuel extraction and use – it can be hard to see how large the scars we’re creating are. That is, until you zoom out.

This footage captured by drone cameras reveals the destruction to the environment that we can’t see – because we can’t access it, or because someone doesn’t want us to see it. Take a look:

Drone footage reveals destruction from BHP damn collapse in Brazil

On November 5, 2015, two dams holding millions of cubic meters of mining waste gave way – launching one of the worst environmental disasters in Brazilian history. Mud – full of dangerous metals like manganese and mercury – quickly overtook the nearby mining community of Mariana in Minas Gerais state. At least seventeen people were killed. Hundreds more have been displaced by the wall of sludge released in the dam collapse.


Stand in solidarity with the people affected by this terrible tragedy. Share their story to pressure those responsible. And visit here (site in Portuguese) for more ways to help.

Drone footage reveals impact of Indonesian forest fires

This shocking drone footage, captured by Greenpeace field researchers, shows the massive underground peat fires currently burning across Indonesia.

The footage was primarily shot around the edge of the Gunung Palung National Park, a major reservoir of biodiversity and home to the world’s largest surviving population of wild orangutans.

In July and August 2015, fires were widespread across Tesso Nilo National Park in Riau, Sumatra, an area of vital tiger habitat that has been devastated by illegal encroachment including palm oil development. Fires have also been reported around Tanjung Puting National Park in Central Kalimantan.

Greedy companies are destroying forests, but your voice can make a difference. Take action to protect forests, animals and people now.

Drone footage reveals toxic ‘lagoons’ in factory farms

This footage from a pig farm shows some of the massive, toxic outputs of the factory farming industry in America, and the shocking way in which they are disposed of.

Captured by Mark Devries as part of his full-length documentary called Speciesism, the drone captures footage of huge ‘lagoons’ full of toxic pig faeces, which is disposed of by spraying in a mist into the air.

“These factory farms make it exceedingly difficult to see the giant, open-air cesspools of toxic waste on their property,” Devries told VICE.

“They are surrounded by trees, and often barbed-wire fences. With drones, I can bypass the trees and barbed wire, and see close-up what is being hidden.”

“I was also particularly struck by how close they are to the houses of neighbors, who are forced to deal with the dangerous chemicals and stench in their own homes.”

Drone footage reveals pollution from Asia’s largest zinc and lead mine

This interactive, 360 degree drone footage put together by the Greenpeace team in China reveals pollution and serious health problems at Asia’s largest zinc and lead mine and smelting plant.

Taken in a small town called Jinding Town, the drone footage revealed how close some people live to the smelting complex. Take a look:

“I was shocked by the proximity between the huge smelting complex and the locals’ homes. In some places it was less than 100m, a clear violation of safety standards and blatant inaction of law enforcement by the local government.” said Senior Greenpeace Campaigner Ada Kong.

In 2006 Yunnan Jinding Zinc Corporation Ltd. acknowledged that the minimum distance between residential areas and the plant should be 600m, and promised to relocate residents accordingly – a promise yet to be fulfilled. The plant has caused numerous health problems for the villagers, especially amongst children, who are particularly susceptible to lead absorption.

Drone footage reveals the deserted wasteland left from Chernobyl

This footage, captured in Pripyat, Ukraine, shows a haunting picture of a city left to deteriorate after the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986.

The area was completely evacuated after the nuclear disaster, and this footage, taken by British documentarian Danny Cooke, shows one of the only ways to explore areas contaminated with lethal levels of radiation:

Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.

“The nuclear disaster, which happened in 1986 (the year after I was born), had an effect on so many people, including my family when we lived in Italy. I can’t imagine how terrifying it would have been for the hundreds of thousands of locals who evacuated,” says Danny in the description of the video on Vimeo.

Take action: join the movement calling for a renewable future powered by clean energy today.

Drone footage reveals the impact of Cyclone Pam on Vanuatu

On March 13 and 14 2015, Cyclone Pam tore through the island nations of Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands. This footage, taken by a drone camera, reveals the devastating impacts of Vanuatu’s worst natural disaster in memory.

Climate change is fuelling extreme weather events that batter places like the Pacific Islands and the Philippines. Now, countries that are least responsible for the climate crisis are facing the brunt of extreme weather events in the form of ferocious cyclones, typhoons or severe droughts.  It is high time to expose those responsible for climate change and hold them to account for their harmful activities that have taken a tremendous toll on humanity: take action now.

Moved by this footage of environmental damage? Join a movement of passionate people helping to stop our dependence on destructive practises and move towards a cleaner, green future.

  • fresh-mind

    Thanks to show de destruction in Brazil. We need international pressure to make those companies save our river. Thank you again.