Time Lapse Satellite Photos Show How Humans Are Destroying The World

aral sea

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It takes a lot to provide for 7 billion humans.Mankind is destroying rainforests, draining marshes and drilling into mountains to provide timber, water, coal and other resources.

Some of this destruction has been captured in before and after satellite photos.

Click here to see photos >
In Rondônia, one of the most deforested Amazon regions, they captured roads and clearings replacing forest over the last decade.

Before a Soviet Union irrigation project in the 1960s, the Aral Sea was the world’s fourth largest lake. During the 2005 to 2009 drought, the lake continued to dry up and was polluted by pesticides and fertiliser.

A 20-five year time-series of coal mining in West Virginia shows the surrounding “valley fills,” streams filled with excess rock from the mountaintop removal. Scientists concluded that this mining process has “pervasive and irreversible” consequences.

Images also show the spread of illegal logging into the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where millions of Monarch butterflies spend the winter on just twelve mountaintops.

MEXICO'S MONARCH BUTTERFLY RESERVE, 2004

Illegal logging is destroying the Lomas de Aparicio monarch colony, where millions of monarch butterflies spend the winter. The NASA images show the loss of approximately 3.3% of the 33,410 core zone of the reserve lost to logging in just four years.

MEXICO'S MONARCH BUTTERFLY RESERVE, 2008

The Lomas de Aparicio monarch colony, where millions of monarch butterflies spend the winter, is being logged despite its protected status. The NASA images show the loss of approximately 3.3% of the 33,410 core zone of the reserve lost to logging in just four years.

BRAZIL'S MATO GROSSO, 1992 (vegetation in red)

Cleared Amazon forest in the central Brazil state of Mato Grosso shows up as beige rectangles over the span of fourteen years. mechanised agriculture for crops such as soy took over 1.3 million acres in Mato Grosso just between 2001 and 2004.

BRAZIL'S MATO GROSSO, 2006 (vegetation in red)

Cleared Amazon forest in the central Brazil state of Mato Grosso shows up as beige rectangles over the span of fourteen years. mechanised agriculture for crops such as soy took over 1.3 million acres in Mato Grosso just between 2001 and 2004.

ARAL SEA, 2000 (original border in grey)

By 2000 the Northern and Southern Aral Sea had already separated. The NASA pictures show how they shrank even further between 2005 and 2009 because of severe drought, and then increased in the summer of 2010 after the drought breaks.

ARAL SEA, 2004 (original border in grey)

By 2000 the Northern and Southern Aral Sea had already separated. The NASA pictures show how they shrank even further between 2005 and 2009 because of severe drought, and then increased in the summer of 2010 after the drought breaks.

ARAL SEA, 2009 (original border in grey)

By 2000 the Northern and Southern Aral Sea had already separated. The NASA pictures show how they shrank even further between 2005 and 2009 because of severe drought, and then increased in the summer of 2010 after the drought breaks.

IRAQ MARSHES, 1973 (marshland in brown)

Saddam Hussein drained large areas of the Mesopotamia marshes, on Iraq's border with Iran, in part as a political move against the Marsh Arabs. Water diversion for irrigation and hydroelectricity had already taken a toll on the marshlands seen in the 2000 NASA image.

IRAQ MARSHES, 2000 (marshland in brown)

Saddam Hussein drained large areas of the Mesopotamia marshes, on Iraq's border with Iran, in part as a political move against the Marsh Arabs. Water diversion for irrigation and hydroelectricity had already taken a toll on the marshlands seen in the 2000 NASA image.

BRAZIL'S RONDONIA RAINFOREST, 2001

In Rondônia, one of the most deforested Amazon regions, NASA captured roads and clearings replacing forest over the last decade. Forest shows up as dark green, cleared land as tan, and crops and pastures as light green. Some second-growth forest looks light green.

BRAZIL'S RONDONIA RAINFOREST, 2008

In Rondônia, one of the most deforested Amazon regions, NASA captured roads and clearings replacing forest over the last decade. Forest shows up as dark green, cleared land as tan, and crops and pastures as light green. Some second-growth forest looks light green.

INDONESIA'S SUMATRA ISLAND, 2001 (forest in green, cleared land in red)

The NASA images show that the lowland forest was extensively clear cut and logging roads were added in Sumatra, Indonesia's largest island, home to orangutans and the Sumatra Tiger.

INDONESIA'S SUMATRA ISLAND, 2001 (forest in green, cleared land in red)

The NASA images show that the lowland forest was extensively clear cut and logging roads were added in Sumatra, Indonesia's largest island, home to orangutans and the Sumatra Tiger.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS, 1984

Active mining looks off-white in this time-series of coal mining in West Virginia from 1984 to 2009. The NASA pictures show 'valley fills,' streams filled with excess rock from the mountaintop removal, slowly building towards the mouth of the Mud River. More than 15.6 square miles where disturbed.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS, 1988

Active mining looks off-white in this time-series of coal mining in West Virginia from 1984 to 2009. The NASA pictures show 'valley fills,' streams filled with excess rock from the mountaintop removal, slowly building towards the mouth of the Mud River. More than 15.6 square miles where disturbed.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS, 1996

Active mining looks off-white in this time-series of coal mining in West Virginia from 1984 to 2009. The NASA pictures show 'valley fills,' streams filled with excess rock from the mountaintop removal, slowly building towards the mouth of the Mud River. More than 15.6 square miles where disturbed.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS, 2009

Active mining looks off-white in this time-series of coal mining in West Virginia from 1984 to 2009. The NASA pictures show 'valley fills,' streams filled with excess rock from the mountaintop removal, slowly building towards the mouth of the Mud River. More than 15.6 square miles where disturbed.

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