For more than 30 years remote sensing as a new science has lived in the land of what one might call the shimmering of the electronic eye, using the delights of technology to view the minutiae design from a global perspective. It has struggled along almost invisible to the commercial public. But now, at long last, the outside world or a growing segment of it is beginning to realize that this technology is useful, remarkably versatile and potentially of great value in looking at the resources of untapped mineral, vegetation, and energy, as well as the recovery of early clues to the history of humanity.
Whether in arid regions such as the Sahara in Egypt or in the deserts of the Holy land, radar signals can penetrate into the sand to find evidence of previous human habitation. While not equally suited to detecting subsurface features in tropical areas, radar can still penetrate cloud cover and vegetation to detect human-made structures. A good example of this is the recent findings in the remote jungles of Cambodia. Preliminary analysis indicates an extensive group of ancient settlements covering an area of 4,800 square kilometers (a square kilometer is about 0.4 square miles) around Angkor. One complex shows ornaments on more than 60 Buddhist temples dating back to the 9th century, including the monuments of Angkor Wat and the Banyan. It is believed to have been home to some one million people before being abandoned in the 16th century.
A genuine, growing history book and preservation guide is beginning to develop for exploring “Mother Earth” through new remote-sensing tools. The industry, however, has reached the crossover point where the technical world—often to the bewilderment of the traditional scientific community—has to start learning the customs and mores of the indigenous people. That is, as we reach for new frontiers of protecting our world environment, remote sensing is helping us “think globally and act locally” in applying new sources of aerial photographs to developing nations too poor to have hands-on technology to survey the rain forests and soil.
The challenge here is the needed conscience that must go with remote sensing’s eyes and ears. Without a firm global ethic of respecting and supporting the indigenous people their importance can be erased. The Keys speak of the indigenous tribes as guardians of the sacred places. Those who understand the values of the remaining environmental reserves of the world must start dealing with the technological and political world. We must seek a genuine Earth environmental policy that enlivens liaisons between science, culture and religion, and eliminate destruction of the small kingdoms of innocent species that illustrate the importance of the many in Christ’s teaching of “the House of Many Mansions.”
— J.J. Hurtak, Ph.D., Ph.D.
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