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How to create an epic environmental disaster


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  • Suck out enough water and the well goes dry: The Aral Sea’s disappearance is a benchmark reminder that water choices have pay-to-play consequences.

Despite being reduced to a fragment of its original size, possibly a small portion may be saved. From Vice: “… over the last few years, one of the world’s worst ecological disasters, oddly enough, has been shrouded in some long overdue optimism. In 2003, the Kazakhstani government, along with the World Bank, began work on the joint $85.5 million Northern Aral Sea restoration project … A small fraction of the fishing industry has been revived and water is even starting to creep back towards the old harbor of Aralsk.”


See related: Where is one-fifth of the world’s fresh water hiding?


But the death of the original Aral was inevitable when the consequences of water decisions were ignored. There was no element of surprise to the Aral Sea’s death because the Soviets knew they were turning a body of water the size of Ireland into a desert. They knew the well would go dry — and didn’t care.


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*Additional photo courtesy of Staecker, Wikimedia Commons


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