It's always funny to remember that a mere 100 years ago, it wasn't possible to jet from one side of the globe to another on a whim. A trip halfway around the world took real planning and fortitude. Today, thousands of planes ply the sky, taking us wherever we need to go, as you can see in this video of a day of the world's air travel:
Aside from the mesmerizing, almost organic flow of planes around the world, there are some interesting things to take from this video. It's very interesting to note what you might call the "unplaned" parts of the world; the dark spots on the map. It's mostly Africa and South America, but with some parts of Central Asia also dark. Planes fly over them, but they lack the glowing pulse of North America, Europe, and the developed parts of Asia. Those regions are quite literally swarming with air travel. Air travel and development, unsurprisingly, go hand in hand.
That is an obvious assertion, but very crucial when discussing the idea of "decoupling"—finding a way for economic growth to occur without the increase in consumption of resources. In a globalized economy, can a society grow without hundreds of planes landing at its airport? Probably not. Which means we'll soon be seeing an air-travel network that blankets the entire planet. It's a strong argument for finding new ways to power planes—or discover teleportation.
Hat tip: NotCot