SET-E: The Search for Extraterrestrial Environmentalism
Montet et al
There is currently no evidence for life on any known exoplanet. Here, we propose a form of "galactic anthropology" to detect not only the existence of life on transiting exoplanets, but also the existence of environmentalism movements. By observing the planet's atmosphere over long time baselines, the destruction and recovery of a hole in an exoplanet's ozone layer may be observable. While not readily detectable for any one system with JWST, by binning together observations of hundreds of systems we can finally determine the occurrence rate of environmental movements on Earthlike planets in the galaxy, a number we term eta-Green-Earth.