This is the famous "Earth at Night" from NASA in reverse to illustrate the black hole problem described in very elementary fashion earlier (click to enlarge). The disease progression shows very clearly here, and note that it follows the advance of human civilization as well as the map of climate desertification shown earlier. It's a basic, fundamental problem in physics that the human global culture is not prepared to deal with yet, because of the apparent "triumph" of commerce and technology over natural processes. What's really happening is the approach of most of the developed world to points of instability across the globe.
The USA is noticeably energy-intensive east of the Missisipi. As noted in an earlier post, the eastern US is heavily reliant on older fuels, such as coal, burning wood, oil heating, etc. as opposed to the western US which has the cleaner fuel development. There is vast potential here for reversing the progress of environmental deterioration through changes of energy use and a hub-structure type of rebuilt infrastructure, such as distributed power and mass transit linkages. This creates the opportunity for regenerative design in community development and urban reforestation, and restoration of the natural environmental processes. This is also clearly a local means of generating business profits in the course of these activities. But this will require cooperation from the business and development sectors.
Again, an urgent call for leadership from the global community.