10 before-and-after photos that track the changes we’ve made to the Earth
Often, small changes made over time are hard to see. Even when we’re making dramatic transformations to our world – through deforestation, industrialisation, and fossil fuel extraction and use – it can be hard to see how large the scars we’re creating are.
That is, until you zoom out.
For decades, NASA has been monitoring the changes we’ve made to our world in its series Images of Change. While some photos are taken over fifty years apart, some of the most breathtaking changes can be seen in a decade or less. Take a look at these 11 photographs and learn about the impact we’ve made on our home.
1. The shrinking Aral Sea in Central Asia
The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world. Now, the body of water has split into the Northern and Southern Aral seas – the eastern lobe drying up completely in 2014. According to NASA, the loss of this water has meant the region experiences colder winters and hotter and drier summers.
2. The impact of drought on Arizona and Utah, USA
These photos compare Lake Powell’s water level near full capacity in 1999, and in May 2014, when it had dropped to 42% of capacity.