As for me, I am more interested by the environmental footprint of energy production especially oil, coal, gas, nuclear and hydro, five energies which provide 99% of the world consumption. I realized these timelapses representing 4 production facilities (I have not found interesting images for gas) between 1984 (the year I was born) and 2012.
(This post was translated from the original in French : Quatre timelapses pour visualiser l'empreinte de la production d'énergie sur l'environnement )
Coal: lignite-mining in East Germany
This square represents approximately 1000km². You can see a few mines of lignite (a type of coal largely exploited in Germany) in the former GDR on the border between Saxony and Brandenburg: Two mines, Welsow and Nochten, are still operating and devouring countryside others were abandoned and flooded.
Nuclear: uranium mines in Arlit (Niger)
This square of about 100km² shows one of the open pit mines operated by Areva in Niger. At the bottom right you may see the towns of Arlit and Akokan. A little further down (out of frame) lies another underground mine.
Oil: Athabasca tar sands (Canada)
This square of approximately 1600km² represents the spectacular extension of oil sands mine bordering the Athabasca River in Canada.
Hydropower: the Yacyretá dam (Argentina-Paraguay)
This square of approximately 5000km² shows the construction and impoundment of the Yacyretá dam on the border between the Argentina and the Paraguay. The reservoir covers 1600 km².