Death of the Shatt al Arab
A reminder from Iraq, in case the images out of the Gulf of Mexico weren’t enough, about how serious a problem environmental degradation can be:
Withered by decades of dictatorial mismanagement and then neglect, by drought and the thirst of Iraq’s neighbors, the river formed by the convergence of the Tigris and the Euphrates no longer has the strength the keep the sea at bay.
The salt water of the gulf now pushes up the Faw peninsula. Last year, for the first time in memory, it extended beyond Basra, Iraq’s biggest port city, and even Qurna, where the two rivers meet. It has ravaged fresh-water fisheries, livestock, crops and groves of date palms that once made the area famous, forcing the migration of tens of thousands of farmers.
That’s just a little microcosm of what’s going to be happening planet-wide when sea levels rise and rain & snow patterns shift, depriving rivers of their traditional sources.