Segments in this Video

A Sea for Cotton (04:27)


Imagine if the Aral Sea was the epicenter for sustainable development. Three landmark events contributed to its destruction: construction of the Karakum Canal, the US destroys ecological materials, and building a concrete dike. Water is necessary for the presence of life; nine countries possess 60% of potable water.

Memory of Humanity (05:11)

The Syr and Amu Darya swell creating the Aral Sea. The Soviet Union decides that the region will grow cotton in Sovkhozes. Because production increased, leaders needed to irrigate the rivers, destroying the sea.

Turning Point in History (06:14)

Soviet leaders decide to sacrifice the sea to produce additional cotton. Irrigation increases the salinization of the soil. Construction begins on the Karakum Canal; the Aral Sea will disappear by 2020.

Natural Disasters (03:27)

The Aral Sea became toxic because of pollution. When the Soviet Union collapses, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan increase production and the river water levels drop.

Water War (05:51)

Learn how the Dead Sea and reserves in Nevada are disappearing due to pollution and crop irrigation. The Aral Sea is now contaminated with pesticides and salt. Water is a precious resource.

Credits: The Aral Sea Ecological Disaster (00:47)

Credits: The Aral Sea Ecological Disaster

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The Aral Sea Ecological Disaster

Part of the Series : Butterfly Effect (Season 2)
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $194.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



In 1960, the Aral Sea, lying astride Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, is the fourth-largest lake in the world. Its surface area is twice that of Belgium. Many towns thrive along its shores, in principal from fishing. Also in 1960, the Soviets decide to turn the vast desert steppes of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan into fields of cotton and wheat. They divert some of the rivers that feed the lake to irrigate the new crops and thus deprive the Aral Sea of up to 16 trillion gallons of water every year. By 1970, the Aral Sea has already lost nine-tenths of its surface area. Millions of fish die, and its salinity rises considerably. In 1987 the level of the water falls so low that the sea splits into two and then, in 2002, the southern part itself divides into two parts. In 2014, the eastern part of the Aral Sea disappears forever. Man’s unregulated actions caused an ecological disaster.

Length: 26 minutes

Item#: BVL145617

ISBN: 978-1-64198-884-1

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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