Left: Banda Aceh, Indonesia, 2003: A graceful balance of natural forests, agriculture and human settlements. Right: Banda Aceh, Indonesia, 29 December 2004, after the tsunami: an inundated wasteland.
Just released in paperback, mapmakers Collins Bartholomew's new book Fragile Earth: What's Happening to Our Planet? documents the dramatic changes that the Earth has experienced during the past half century - some due to natural disasters and extreme weather events, others to direct human intervention in the landscape - and provides a few frightening visual predictions.
From the book's foreword:
Human conflict, caused by many factors including ideology and competition over resources, can cause great damage to our world. Today’s society is capable of impacting the world in irreversible ways and such changes can have devastating effects on people’s lives and on the environment.
Below are a handful of particularly striking images from the book.
Above: Bolivian rainforest near Santa Cruz. In 1975 (left), rich, dense and still largely untouched. In 2003 (right), taken over largely by agriculture.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, North Carolina in 1996 (left) and 1999 (right), after being moved inland.
Canal Street, New Orleans. Left: May 2005, the street is undergoing $13 million worth of improvements, with new sidewalks, street lights and 200 Moroccan palms. Right: After Katrina, the street lies under water and many of the palms uprooted.
Dust storm, Al Asad, Iraq, April 2005. A 1500 meter high wall of dust, originating near the Syrian and Jordanian borders, reduces visibility to zero.
Via:: The Guardian