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Rescooped by Eliana Oliveira Burian from Geography Education!

The ‘Quiet Chernobyl’: The Aral Sea

The ‘Quiet Chernobyl’: The Aral Sea | formação continuada online para professores de inglês |

"Prior to the 1960’s, the Aral Sea was the fourth largest lake and approximately the size of Ireland. Fed by both the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers carrying snowmelt from the mountains to the southeast, the Aral Sea moderated the climate and provided a robust fishing industry that straddled the present-day border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. For the map savvy, that Aral Sea would be almost unrecognizable—it has long appeared as two basins known as the North and the South Aral Sea since the rivers were diverted for crops, leading to the Aral Sea’s alarming shrinkage. Recent NASA satellite imagery shows the decline that the Aral Sea has undergone since 2000, leaving the South Aral Sea completely dried up in 2014. "


Tags: podcast, Maps 101, historical, environment, Central Asia, environment modify, Aral Sea.

Via Seth Dixon
Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:49 AM

Both this podcast and its title are very interesting. Describing the Aral Sea crisis as a "Quiet Chernobyl" highlights the seriousness of what has happened to the Aral Sea over the previous decades. Though the Aral Sea was not the site of a catastrophic nuclear meltdown, what has happened there is just as harmful to the environment and the population in the surrounding area. The difference between what happened with the Aral Sea and what happened at Chernobyl, however, is that the Aral Sea crisis was avoidable. Chernobyl was an accident, the Aral Sea was not. The warnings of what was to come were clearly present at the Aral Sea, but they were ignored. 


This shows how the balance between man and nature is a precarious one that must be monitored closely and heeded constantly. As an oasis in one of the world's driest deserts, the Aral Sea had vast amounts of potential to help facilitate farming and generally help to make life in the area possible. People saw this potential and made use of it. This was not wrong in and of itself. What was wrong was that this potential was overused, with no regards for the long-term effects that it would have on the ecosystem, the climate, and the way of life in the region. The natural geography of a place is very important and can be used by human beings to achieve great things, but as soon as we stop caring about sustainability and future generations, those tools fail and disappear, causing long-term problems that can never be fixed. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 19, 2015 12:48 PM

The Aral Sea is just one example of an alarming trend happening worldwide, as ill-advised irrigation efforts continue to distort natural geographical formations, climate, and ecosystems. The loss of the Aral is damaging on so many fronts; the loss of an entire ecosystem within its waters, the damages done to the surrounding ecosystems as a result of climate changes and reduction in the food chain directly related to the Sea's disappearance, and the economic repercussions for the people who live in the region. Once a bustling maritime community of trade, the region now lies dormant, the economic realities for the people who once relied on the Sea's waters as dire as the land is dry. Ship hulls line the ground like animal carcasses, the remains of centuries of human life- a stark reminder that man often takes his power too far, too fast. With other large bodies of water facing the same fate in other regions, it is best hoped that the Aral and its ghost crews that now dominate the landscape serve as a reminder to human civilization that, for all our advances, we cannot play "God" and face no consequences. 

Rescooped by Eliana Oliveira Burian from Geography Education!


Maldives | formação continuada online para professores de inglês |

Via Seth Dixon
Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:54 PM

The creation of the Maldives was a evolutionary process that was created with hotspots in the Pacific Ocean. However most of the 1200 or so islands are disappearing. As many of these islands have been created and built upon, the soils are losing their strength. Now we have a process of erosion not only from rain but also from the sea waves. As this eats away at the islands they are getting smaller and smaller and unless they start bringing in artificial land area they will someday disappear.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 10:39 PM

The Maldives Islands were created by Hotspots in the Pacific Ocean. Many of the one thousand islands that are there are slowly disappearing. The islands are being destroyed by rain and from sea waves that crash onto the island itself. Soon the land, just like Kiribati will disappear because they just keep shrinking in size more and more. Their economy revolves mostly around tourist money and parts of the islands have been highly developed for high end tourist marketing.  

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 19, 2015 4:33 AM

Honestly a nation like the Maldives would only be possible with today's technology. the lack of resources, land and linking landmass would have made it stuck in an era with villages at best. The modern country if you ask me is also a disaster waiting to happen. Their cities are right on sea level. A single tsunami or storm would devastate them never mind rising sea levels. I just think they are acting unsustainable and their growth without lack of native resources will lead to their nations ultimate failure. While I wish these people success their islands are also eroding due to reefs so geography is pretty much against them at every turn. In the future hopefully a solution to these problems can be found but until then this will likely be an area that will have to be evacuated in the future like many others.