"This is what the end of the world looks like, If we ever have Armageddon, the people of Karakalpakstan are the only ones who will survive, because we are already living it."
From our perch atop this sandy bluff in northern Uzbekistan, the view could be of just about any desert—that is, if it weren’t for the mounds of seashells and the half dozen marooned fishing boats rusting into the sand. This spot was once the tip of a peninsula jutting into the Aral Sea
Kamalov has brought me here to see what’s left of the once bountiful sea. He’s a 64-year-old senior researcher in wind energy at the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences.
The cotton harvests continue today. Each fall about two million of Uzbekistan’s 29 million citizens “volunteer” to pick millions of bushels of the nation’s cotton crop. The country virtually shuts down while government employees, schoolchildren, teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, and even senior citizens are bused to the fields to reap their daily quota.