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A Sea Change

aral_sea.jpgThe AP offers us the strangely poetic tale of the Aral Sea.  Under the aegis of Soviet industrial planners, the Central Asian Sea, at one point the world’s fourth-largest body of fresh water, became little more than a glorified irrigation system for immense cotton fields supplying the USSR and Cuba.  This resulted in the disappearance of 90% of it, an act of ecological pillage described as ‘unprecedented in modern times’, which almost entirely extinguished the local fishing economy.  Most unusually for a news story, particularly one that concerns the ineluctable pace of environmental destruction in industrial Russia, it looks like there may be a happy ending in sight for some.