White Gold: The government of the Republic of Uzbekistan has a different view of the necessity of growing cotton in a parched land—along with the amount of water (and pesticides) needed for its cultivation—compared to the teenagers that are forced to harvest cotton to graduate, or the teachers and doctors that are forced to harvest cotton to avoid losing their jobs.

Aral Sea1140by960

Once the 4th largest fresh water lake in the world, the Aral Sea has shrunk to a shadow of its former self, sections of which have become a desert. This is partly because water that naturally flows into the Aral Sea has been diverted for decades to grow cotton in an already parched land.

Aral Sea in 1990, 2000 and 2010.

Dramatic satellite images show how much the Aral Sea has changed in just 20 years.

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