This crisis stands to affect 40 million people. The two rivers that feed the Aral Sea—the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya—flow from the Tian-Shan Mountains over 500 miles away. Experts worry that the hotter local climate could cause the sources of these rivers to dry up. If this happens, all of southern Central Asia will lose its rivers.
Tens of millions will be left without food and water.
Environmental crises like the Aral all over the world.
With the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the United States has made a mess of the Gulf of Mexico, spreading oil over an area of over 4,000 square miles. Granted, this single accident, perhaps due to carelessness, is not the same as decades of mismanagement—but then again, there have been many similar spills, several of which were even larger. Man has been tipping oil into the oceans for years through these kinds of accidents.
In Australia, the Murray-Darling Basin—once a well-watered area responsible for 40 percent of Australia’s agricultural output—is drying up. Some of the lakes are turning into sulfuric acid. The whole area is becoming increasingly salty.
In Iraq, the Shatt al-Arab marshlands are suffering a similar fate. The 6,000 square miles of wetland form where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet. “The waterway running from a land once synonymous with paradise to the Gulf is in the grip of an environmental catastrophe left by war, dictatorship, human thirst, and a criminal disregard for the fragility of water, the essence of life,” wrote the Times. The water level is so low that salty water from the sea is creeping into the area—killing the ecosystem.
Every continent in the world has similar examples. And such destruction is not purely a modern phenomenon. Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, for example, were once full of forests. Today they are known for their deserts.
Man has been destroying his environment for centuries. Of course, modern technology has allowed him to destroy it faster than ever before.