How drones can serve this planet we call home

DJI Ferntech is proud to sponsor environmentalist, Geoff Reid, as he tackles environmental issues such as climate change and clean water. Using his DJI Mavic Pro as his key tool, Geoff captures environmental impact from above, raising awareness to make a difference. In this article, he took his Mavic Pro to the Pacific to showcase the dangers of climate change to islands like Vanuatu. 


 Checking waterways with the Mavic Pro. Image credit  @geoffreidnz

Checking waterways with the Mavic Pro. Image credit @geoffreidnz

IN GEOFF's WORDS

I recently teamed up with drone experts DJI Ferntech in New Zealand, and my talented buddy @Matjoez and I set out on a mission to Vanuatu. Our intention; to bring forward some of the issues that a changing climate is having on remote parts of the South Pacific.

Vanuatu: the place is an experience and a half. From crystal clear waters and complex coral reefs to active volcanic islands covered in lush tropical rainforest, abundant with fruits and coconuts, almost everyone who visits comes away inspired. And usually it’s because of the interactions they’ve had with the local people. They are of a kindness and happiness that is becoming rare in the world.

The sad thing is this paradise is under huge siege, meaning the simplistic and sustainable island way of life, which our western world can learn so much from, is under serious threat. Atmospheric pollution is a major issue which is causing the climate to change. It is disrupting the people of the Pacific’s lives and their natural environment.


"Atmospheric pollution is a major issue which is causing the climate to change. It is disrupting the people of the Pacific’s lives and their natural environment."


A simple coral reef as seen from the Mavic Pro. Video credit @geoffreidnz

As responsible humans, we need to do far more to limit its damage. The first step may be to see with our own eyes the environmental impact on people’s lives and nature.

William Blake said, “If the truth can be told so as to be understood, it will be believed.” It’s as simple as that. The obligation on us is to communicate the truth so that it is understood by the public. The belief will take care of itself.

For this reason, owning a drone is the ideal tool for anyone wanting to showcase environmental impact. You are able to get fresh perspectives that a few years ago would have been almost impossible. Perspective on things that have importance to this natural world. Things that would otherwise go unseen. 

 


"A drone is the ideal tool for anyone wanting to showcase environmental impact. You are able to get fresh perspectives that a few years ago would have been almost impossible."


Here is a video of a simple coral reef from the beach. It just looks like a standard beach - it could be anywhere. But from above, you can see the formations created by living organisms: coral.

One of the most devastating effects of climate change is the loss of coral reef systems. In the last 30 years, we have lost 50 percent of the world's corals. Coral reefs are known as the protein factories of the planet. Just like the destruction of a forest leads to the death of its inhabitants, the same process happens with the fish that rely on these underwater ‘forests’.  

Geoff uses the Mavic Pro to create videos showcasing environmental change. Video credit @geoffreidnz

In this video, you can see the collapsed bank and the dirt (sediment) clouding the water, smothering the coral reef. It happened when a Category 5 storm came through the islands. And, while cyclones are nothing new, these large cyclones are becoming more frequent and speeding up the rate of coastal erosion, putting these marine environments in danger.

Most people would have no idea about all these changes, or at least it wouldn’t cross their minds. This is why aerial imagery is essential - the ability to film decay from the sky is a huge step forward for conservation. We can utilise drones to not only to bring about public awareness, but also to research the natural environment and how it is being impacted.

Scientists and environmentalists are now discovering how drones can be deployed for research and the extent that aerial imaging can be effective in interesting the public.


"Scientists and environmentalists are now discovering how drones can be deployed for research and the extent that aerial imaging can be effective in interesting the public."


 Geoff says a drone is an ideal tool for showcasing the impact on the environment. Image credit  @matjoez

Geoff says a drone is an ideal tool for showcasing the impact on the environment. Image credit @matjoez

"Drones are allowing people to ask questions and look at things that they may not have been able to look at before," said Tonya Wimmer, director of the Marine Animal Response Society, based on the East Coast of Canada.

Drone technology is improving everyday, with models from the DJI range becoming more affordable and capable with every new release. More research needs to be done to see the potential effects drones could have on wildlife and the environment, but there is no denying the many advantages drones have over traditional manned aerial vehicle methods. As the list of uses for drones continues to expand, more ways to save the planet using a drone in the sky will arise, revolutionising the way conservation and environmental projects are conducted.

But for us, where from here? @Matjoez and myself will be putting in the hard yards editing all the stories and footage we have gathered from this precious part of the pacific into a 'Climate Compassion’ documentary style video in order to help bring awareness. We are very grateful to have had the expert team at DJI Ferntech’s assisting us along the way.

 

Watch @Matjoez and @geoffreidnz talk to locals in Vanuata about how they are responding directly to climate change (featuring some incredible drone footage!).


GEOFF's TOOLKIT

DJI MAVIC PRO

The DJI Mavic Pro is a small yet powerful drone that is perfect for a first-time drone user. Its portable, compact size hides a high degree of complexity that makes it one of DJI’s most sophisticated flying systems ever. It's 24 high-performance computing cores, an all-new transmission system with a 7km range, 5 vision sensors, and 4K camera stabilised by a 3-axis mechanical gimbal may sound impressive, but the easy-to-fly technology makes it incredibly simple for farmers of any ages to navigate.

 

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