The Breathtaking beauty of Our Planet's Destruction

From 30,000 feet, the human stain of oil fields, coal mines, and bleached coral reefs looks almost otherworldly.

Photographs by
Benjamin Grant, Bernhard Edmaier, and Alex Maclean

Essay by
Bina Venkataraman


Manifa Oil Field, Saudi Arabia

With a pumping capacity of about 900,000 barrels of crude per day, this field is the fifth-largest operating in the world. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that daily global oil consumption grew by 1.4 million barrels in 2015.

Photo by Bernhard Edmaier