How long ago did you use a GPS-powered app to find your way somewhere? Google Maps, Citymapper, Lyft, Uber, Zipcar, Lime, Jump, Skip…if you live in a city and get around on your own, chances are you used one of these apps in the last week. So you need satellites to get around town. We need satellites for other purposes, too, like predicting earthquakes and tracking wildfires. But there’s something simple and seemingly innocuous that’s actually threatening your way of life.

It’s orbital debris — space garbage — pieces of metal, paint, and electronics that have sloughed off of satellites and spacecraft over the last 50 years or so. It’s spinning around Earth, alongside mission-critical and business-critical systems that almost everyone in the world depends on. And if we don’t clean it up, orbital debris will cause trillions of dollars of damage to our hard-won space infrastructure.

For humans to continue to innovate on and off-world, we need to commit to maintaining our satellite environment. It’s important that we increase public awareness of the dangers of orbital debris and enable people to take action.