News & Events

Protect Our Planet 2023: from Earth and Space

Today marks a significant occasion as we celebrate Protect Our Planet (POP) Day, coinciding with the commencement of COP28. This special day is highlighted by an engaging live-streamed event designed for schools, courtesy of the UK Space Education Office (ESERO-UK) at STEM Learning.

Collaborating with the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency, the event aims to bring the wonders of Earth Observation (EO) and EO careers directly into classrooms. This collaborative effort seeks to raise awareness about the pivotal role of Earth Observation in safeguarding our planet.

Through a series of captivating events, students will delve into the realm of Earth Observation, discovering how satellites act as vigilant guardians of our planet. These technological marvels play a crucial role in monitoring, understanding, modelling, predicting, and combating climate change, all while safeguarding the delicate ecosystems that make Earth unique.


Dr Daniel Clewley, scientist for NCEO and a Senior Research Software Engineer at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), alongside Dr Lauren Biermann, a Marine Remote Sensing Scientist at PML, are leading a session for POP focused on safeguarding our oceans.

Their research journey began with Dr Biermann’s exploration of satellite images captured by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellites. While initially searching for aggregations of floating seaweed, an unexpected revelation unfolded. Dr Biermann stumbled upon anomalies she couldn’t readily identify. Collaborating with Dr Clewley, their suspicions were confirmed – they had become the first individuals globally to detect patches of ocean plastics utilising satellite imagery.

The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated. Dr Biermann’s pioneering identification of ocean plastic patches opened new avenues in EO research, showcasing the potential of satellite technology to unveil environmental challenges on a global scale. Their collaboration led to the release of a ground-breaking paper in 2020, presenting their findings and establishing a precedent for subsequent studies in the field.

Through their innovative use of satellite imagery, they have not only identified patches of ocean plastics but have catalysed a global effort among scientists to further explore and understand the extent of this environmental challenge. Research like this is exemplifying the potential of satellite data in unravelling the complexities of not just our oceans, but every ecosystem on Earth.

For POP Dr. Clewley and Dr Biermann will be presenting a film on marine plastic in the University of Plymouths wave tank and will partake in a Q&A. POP23 (Protecting Our Planet Day 23) sessions across the day will be available to watch on the STEM Learning YouTube channel. Find out more..

Climate Education at NCEO

NCEO plays a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of environmental dynamics through the innovative use of satellite imagery and helping to address pressing environmental challenges on a global scale. NCEO not only contributes to cutting-edge research but also ensures that this knowledge is effective for educational purposes. Our latest video (below) highlights how NCEO’s commitment to climate education extends beyond traditional boundaries, fostering engagement and awareness at various levels.


Learn more about our climate education activities