Satellite imagery offers an important way to provide evidence of changes to ecosystems and the environment and connect local changes to wider audiences. A significant area of Earth's surface that is susceptible to slow-onset or rapid environmental change is referred to here as a ‘hotspot' and is explained through the use of two or more satellite images showing change over time (a ‘change pair'). A positive outlook for the future is captured through the concept of a ‘hopespot'. These images, when accompanied by a short storyline and ground photos, are an important method for communicating environmental changes and their impacts to the international community and can ultimately function as a unique decision-support tool.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has identified more than 200 environmental change hotspots in its Atlas of Our Changing Environment series, and continues to do so through constant monitoring and research. The hotspots illustrate changes over thousands or millions of hectares of land spanning more than 100 countries and all continents. Satellite images and supporting storylines are hosted at and as a where the images are free for download.