The Aral Sea disaster of Central Asia is decidedly real and depicted accurately, even if slightly understated in the book. Google “Aral Sea disaster” and you’ll see photos from space, infrareds, and descriptions of genetic anomalies, birth defects and cancer rates that may be among the scariest environmental threats on earth, not because they’re so pervasive, but because they are so tangible. We, humanity and governments, refuse to do anything about the Aral Sea disaster because it’s an important (albeit decaying) economic engine and food supply for a very subsistence survival region of our planet. Like many long-term affronts to our environment and the earth’s survival, we are going to ignore it until cotton farming doesn’t offer a sufficient payback for the devastation. The fishing industry around the Aral Sea was decimated long ago, but because mom and pop fisherman don’t have the political organization of large industry, they will be left behind.
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