The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'involuntary park'
20 years after the Chernobyl disaster, scientists are finding the contaminated area teeming with radioactive, but otherwise perfectly healthy, wildlife, including species scarce elsewhere:
There may be plutonium in the zone, but there is no herbicide or pesticide, no industry, no traffic, and marshlands are no longer being drained.
Cattle on the same island were stunted due to thyroid damage, but the next generation were found to be surprisingly normal. Now it's typical for animals to be radioactive - too radioactive for humans to eat safely - but otherwise healthy.Scientists have analysed the DNA of Chernobyl wildlife and found them to have many mutations, though nothing altering their physiology or impairing their survival. (Which probably is at least partly due to those that were adversely affected having died and been eaten; nature's adaptability is of little comfort if one happens to be one of the unfortunate individuals that don't make the cut.) This has led some environmentalists, most notably James "Gaia theory" Lovelock, to suggest the burying of radioactive waste in endangered forests to keep developers, poachers and other human threats away.
The BBC also has a number of dramatic and well-shot photo galleries from the environs of Chernobyl: of the abandoned city of Pripyat (now with stencil art by visiting graffitiists and gas masks scattered by photographers for dramatic effect), of the vast graveyards of contaminated vehicles, and of abandoned villages in the exclusion zone.
First there was the extraordinary biodiversity of the Korean no-man's land and the abundance of radioactive wildlife near Chernobyl, and now it emerges that penguins are flourishing in minefields in the Falkland Islands. The mines, laid by Argentine forces during the Falklands War, have rendered pristine beaches and grasslands off-limits to tourists and sheep. (These sanctions are backed up with hefty fines for any tourists afflicted by the warning-signs-are-for-sissies gene.) The penguins, fortunately, are too light to set off the mines, and have the beaches to themselves:
Argentina, which puts the number of remaining mines closer to 15,000, is offering to help clear more fields to adhere to an international treaty on land mines.
Falkland Islanders, however, are not pressing on the issue, and most believe it is better not to fiddle with the fields.
"There is a risk that only 95 percent would be removed," said Falkland Islands Gov. Howard Pearce. "You would bring a sense of complacency to the community and increase rather than reduce the chance of injury."
Besides, he noted, "The environmentalists like them."I wonder how long until someone on the militant fringes of the environmental movement decides to start sowing their own wildlife-friendly landmines in endangered areas of ecological importance.
(via bOING bOING)