Chernobyl: Life After Death
Politics and Activism

Chernobyl: Life After Death

A look at what can happen in the absence of human impact.

Hugh Mitton

Let me set the scene for you. You have just returned home from work, not long after you sit down to a nice dinner with your family. After recounting their tales of the day you all decide to retire for the night. Upon waking the next morning you are disgruntled to discover an annoying metallic taste in your mouth that doesn’t seem to want to go away. Your spouse is rattled with coughing fits and visits to the bathroom to expel the contents of last night's dinner, the vomiting an unwelcome sound through the walls.

Your children complain of headaches and the same metallic taste coating their tongues. A whole day goes by with your family feeling ill, you blame it on bad food from the night before. The next day the members of your household are still feeling off, this is when you learn that the town is being evacuated. You must take only what is necessary and enough that will last you three days. You leave behind enough food for the cat and you load up on the bus. Little do you know you will never be returning to your home, or your cat, again.

This is most likely a poor glimpse into what someone might have experienced in Pripyat during the year of 1986 — the year that the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered an accident causing large amounts of radiation to be released, so much so that a Swedish plant over 620 miles away was able to detect this radiation.

The Swedish government contacted the Soviets who then denied being the source. It took days for them to fully accept the seriousness of the situation. Thousands were evacuated, many hospitalized, many more died either soon after or years later from cancer that developed from the exposure. Women and children passed, mothers having to abort their babies, even more being born with defects.

It was a disaster.

However, 32 years later, I believe something beautiful is happening. With the absence of human activity, the wildlife populations are flourishing. The health of these animals remains unclear, but the fact that they are rising in numbers is amazing. It has been said that human interference harms these animals and plants more than the radiation.

Wolves, black storks, endangered bison, lynx, wild boars, and even a rare breed of horse is doing so well that herds are expanding beyond the exclusion zone. Again I must say that the health of the animals is still questionable. What I am pointing out is that the radiation does not shoot these animals or take away their habitat. These animals are not being hunted for sport or forced to leave the only home they have known. They are managing and they are doing well.

The proof that an endangered species or even a rare one was able to come into the exclusion zone and grow in numbers is astounding. Despite the radiation, the animals are doing so much better than when the humans were there. Observing that the plants and animals flourish in the presence of radiation better than they would in the presence of humans says a whole lot about who we are and what we do. I believe we can learn from this.

The impact we have on our planet is tremendous. So far we have been making a negative impact, but what if we could change that? As a human being, I can say I am ashamed of the part I played in hurting our planet and I will find ways to lessen my impact. I can only hope others do the same.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Barefoot Wine Instagram

Have you noticed that you're drinking a lot more than you used to during the Pandemic? You're not alone.

I too in recent weeks have noticed that I'm drinking more than normal, and earlier in the day. I've started having a glass of wine with lunch a few days a week, something I never used to do. Although, a recent Odyssey survey shows that most Americans are starting to drink between 4 and 8 pm.

Keep Reading... Show less

These Phoebe Buffay Outfits Prove She's A '90s Fashion Icon — We're Replicating EVERY Single One

In case you needed another reason to love our favorite coffee shop singer.


I've always been described as the Phoebe of my friend group — not just for being a vegan, animal-loving people pleaser, but also for the false sense of confidence in my singing and athleticism.

I consider it a compliment to be labeled a Phoebe. Besides her general warmth, I was always drawn to her hippy-chic vibes and passion for environmentalism before it was even cool to be vegan or to care about the planet. The way she carelessly ran through parks flailing her limbs without a care mimicked her effortlessly eccentric style.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Elijah McClain's Case Is Being Reopened — His Family Is Still Waiting For Justice

The killing of an innocent Black man will be reinvestigated, and that news that brought me to tears.

9News / YouTube

On August 24, 2019, in Aurora, CO, a 23-year-old Black man named Elijah McClain was walking home from a convenience store after buying iced tea for his brother. He was wearing a ski mask because he was anemic and easily got cold. He was listening to music and dancing while he walked when someone called 911 on this Black man simply walking home.

Keep Reading... Show less

'Tis the season for wedding fun and if you're hosting or helping plan a bachelorette party for the bride-to-be, you're going to want it to be a blast. Whether it's a social distance soiree or a virtual party, games will always spice up the time with the gals, so if you're looking for a fun and easy one to get the party started (and everyone drunk), this game is for you.

What's the name of the game? "Drink If: Bachelorette Party Edition." Here's how it works.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Talked To My Friend About Her Cystic Fibrosis And Wow, CF Patients Are WARRIORS

Not many people can say they've had a double lung transplant.

Alissa Katz

Forty percent of the United States lives with a chronic disease. These diseases are unique in their own way, but one thing is the same — every individual who lives with a chronic condition faces obstacles because of their disease.

Not only do these illnesses require a lot of education for the individuals who have them, but for the community as a whole. The more we as a society know about these diseases, the more well-rounded (and ideally, helpful) we'll be. If anything, we'll have a greater appreciation for the strength individuals with chronic conditions show on a daily basis.

Keep Reading... Show less

We've all been there... your brain was telling you "bad idea," but your heart was saying "but what if..." and now you're heartbroken. Whether you were actually in a relationship with the person or you never made it passed the "talking stage" before he broke your heart, it still hurts!

The good news? You're not alone and things will get better. Here are a few TikToks that will motivate you to move on, no matter what stage of the breakup process you're in.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Create A Summer Reading List On Odyssey

Books are the perfect summer companions.

It's officially summer 2020, and yes, we're still in the middle of a global pandemic, which means a lot of your free time this summer is probably going to involve watching Netflix. But you can't take Netflix to the pool or on the beach.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments