You can get a random graphic of the day from the United Nations Environment Programme.
It’s a nice feed to follow if you like to think about, you know, the rock you are astonishingly hurtling through space upon.
It “indicates the areas which are most affected by river channel fragmentation and flow regulation. River fragmentation is defined as the interruption of a river’s natural flow by dams, inter-basin transfers or water withdrawal, and is an indicator of the degree to which rivers have been modified by human activity.” The extent of regions where rivers are unimpeded is a bit shocking. (Note that the grey and pink areas are “don’t know”, only the very pale green are places where hydrology is “known to be in a natural state”.) (Paging Dr. Tufte…)
Welcome to the anthropocene.
This picture is an example of why it bothers me when people are so adamant about “thinking local”. A dam here, a dam there, this tends to strike me as fine. The idea that almost all the rivers in the world have been replaced by plumbing, on the other hand, is at least something that bears thinking about.