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Film makes space for satellites in global climate conversations at COP27


Content team
16 November 2022
Film on display at COP27
The Patterns of the Past – The Promise of Tomorrow on display at the Australian Pavilion at COP27. (

The importance of satellite technology in tracing environmental change is being highlighted through a short film on feature at the 2022 United Nations COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt.

The film, The Patterns of the Past – The Promise of Tomorrow, uses Sentinel-2 satellite imagery from the Digital Earth Australia and Digital Earth Africa platforms to create a time-lapse of changes to wetlands, river systems and salt lakes across Australia and Africa over four years.

Produced by Southern Cross University Associate Professor Grayson Cooke, the multimedia artwork profiles how Australian expertise and innovation in satellite data leads to significant climate outcomes.

“People should take away an understanding of how these satellite data platforms can improve our understanding of the environment, environmental change and especially change in waterways, which are so crucial to life,” Professor Cooke said.

The film shows changing patterns of landscapes between 2018 and 2021, tracking key environments in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales in Australia, and in the African countries of Nigeria, Botswana, Mali, Senegal, Algeria, Tunisia, Namibia, Ethiopia and Mauritania.

“Australia and Africa both have a strong agricultural base and are both subject to these forces, of desertification and of change to water bodies, so both continents are heavily invested in being able to track the health of the environment,” Professor Cooke said.

Professor Cooke said it is exciting for his work to be showcased at a global climate change conference. “I was really chuffed to be invited to produce this work. It’s a huge privilege to work with this kind of material and with these data platforms,” he said.

“I love taking scientific data and giving it a new form and frame, and making it look and sound different, giving it a story and life and emotion. And hopefully inspiring people to think and act differently in relation to the environment.”

The film was screened at the Australian Pavilion at the 2022 United Nations COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt, which runs from 6-18 November 2022. The conference involves member-countries gathering to drive climate action and achieve the goals outlined under the Paris Agreement.

The work was commissioned by Geoscience Australia with support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Professor Cooke is an award-winning media artist and Chair of Creative Arts at Southern Cross University.


Media contact: Southern Cross University Media and Content Team, [email protected]