Newsletter #2

Welcome to the second edition of the enviroLENS Newsletter. We are responding to the demands of the jurisdictional sector for ready-to-access evidence and scenario information on environmental situations.

In this issue, we invite you to read about the use of satellite images for environmental law enforcement and the opportunities it opens for our society today. Also, we are very excited to announce the six potential cases we would use to start illustrating the power and flexibility of the eLENS Portal, selected on the basis of the availability of in situ data as well as the willingness of the local stakeholders to participate and contribute their knowledge.  

The mission of enviroLENS is to facilitate the utilization of European satellite capacities provided by Copernicus for environmental law enforcement and related cross-cutting sectors. We aim at delivering Earth observation-based services that provide evidence on environmental incidences and legal violations in order to support the data gathering process and foster data-driven decision-making.

We thank you for joining us on this journey and hope that you will enjoy it as much as we do! 

Best regards,
The enviroLENS team

Earth observation, now and then

The idea of using satellite images for environmental law enforcement has been around for more than 20 years. To some, it might come as a surprise that this technology remains under-utilised, both by the legal and environmental communities. Given that the technical capabilities have improved in the meantime and costs have fallen, the only remaining obstacle seems to be the lack of cooperation and awareness. 
Read: Earth observation and the legal community, a missing link

The potential offered by global monitoring is huge. It opens the doors to more effective environmental management. In the hands of the civil society, Earth observation data becomes a powerful tool – straightforward evidence with which to hold responsible actors, on all levels, accountable. Earth observation can increase monitoring efficiency by providing supplementary data and court evidence and narrowing areas for ground-based investigation. Satellite images are not regularly used for environmental law enforcement.
Read: Environment and Earth observation today

There is a growing number of examples that prove the benefits of Earth observation. Researchers have detected illegal waste dumps and landfills in Italy and monitored their extension and persistence. In California, satellites enabled the monitoring of water quality in several lakes that are used as reservoirs of drinking water. Another example could be the use of Earth observation data for verification of claims concerning insurance of farmers’ crops. Suspicious claims could be tried against historical images that would reveal whether the lost crop was truly planted to the claimed extent.
Read: Getting things done

enviroLENS on the ground

We chose six potential cases to illustrate the power and flexibility of the eLENS Portal, an advanced information system uniting Earth observation with the environmental law and legal domain. Working with national and local partners we will look into situations that deal with different environmental issues to test and validate the portal’s functionalities. 
 
  • Environmental impact assessment process in infrastructure projects;
  • Oil and gas pipeline monitoring for safety and environment;
  • Protection of bird habitats in Montenegro;
  • Illegal infrastructure development on the Albanian coast; 
  • Land use change and disaster risk in Serbia; and
  • Forest law enforcement and governance in Armenia.
 
We aim to provide accurate and cost-efficient information to users of the eLENS portal and help them tackle environmental violations. 
Read more about each of the cases and don’t hesitate to contact us for detailed information!