Nearly every day we hear reports of how we are destroying the delicate balance of nature through pollution, development, and almost everything else we do. But sometimes, I think we ignore the amazing powers of nature.
Take the case of Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters ever 20 years ago. While humans have been kept out of the exclusion zone (a 30km halo around the meltdown site), the wildlife has returned and is thriving like never seen before. While there have been some genetic mutations observed in the animals, it has changed very little about the animals themselves. And while the first generation of animals in the area typically died early due to the radiation, the subsequent generations have developed a resistance to the effects of the radiation. It’s a truly a testament to the power of nature that these animals have been able to inhabit the area successfully far earlier than scientists thought would be possible.
Another interesting case is that of Centralia, PA, a small mining town who was using an abandoned mine as a landfill until the garbage was set on fire and one of the largest mining fires on record was started. To this day, the fire continues to burn, and the town has been evacuated (except for a handful of people who refuse to leave). If you check out the link above, you can read more about how things started, but I encourage you to at least check out the pictures. Not only has the fire cause fissures that have destroyed a large number of roads, but the roads which have sat unused for the better part of the last 25 years are actually being reclaimed by nature. Serously, it’s just plants breaking apart the asphalt.
The sheer power of nature is one that is easily forgotten. Sure, we all know about the destructive powers of hurricanes, floods, tornados, tsunamis and earthquakes, but we easily forget the power of the rest of nature. It’s much more resillient than we give it credit for. You’d think we’d have learned that by now!