Doha, the capital city of Qatar, was little more than a backwater pearl diving village on the shores of the Persian Gulf until its British Protectorate status ended in 1971. Thanks to tremendous wealth generated by vast natural gas and oil reserves Qatar now has the highest per capita income in the world.
Tucked into a lagoon on the northwestern edge of the Adriatic Sea is a city with no roads. Instead, 177 canals and 409 pedestrian bridges interconnect the 118 small islands that make up the City of Venice, Italy. Everyone and everything moves around the city by waterway, including municipal transportation, garbage collection, the police, ambulance service, even the fire brigade.
The dark cyan bodies of water in the upper and lower right of this image are what’s left of the Aral Sea.
This enormous endorheic lake (a lake with limited or no drainage) once spanned large parts of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. How big was it? In 1848 three ships from the Imperial Russian Navy were sent to do a complete survey - it took two years. Once the fourth largest lake in the world, it encompassed the entire sand-colored region in the center of this picture. Today it is a small fraction of its original size.
There is much concern among those living downstream from a dam currently under construction along Lake Turkana’s primary fresh water supply, the Omo River. At stake is nothing less than the survival of a half-million African farmers, fisherman, and herders living along the lower river and lake shores.
From Lake Charles, Louisiana to the Gulf of Mexico, the 36-mile-long Calcasieu Ship Channel facilitates the movement of 7.5% of the nation’s crude and refined oil products. The channel was cut in and around the Calcasieu River and Calcasieu Lake, natural bodies of water that were too shallow to support ship traffic. The channel serves as a major hub for the petroleum industry, and the economies of cities and towns along the channel are all based in some way on the processing of fossil fuels.