Amid fires, record heat waves, and worsening drought, there’s little to feel optimistic about right now when it comes to climate change. But signs of resistance exist in small corners around the world, notably the ones abandoned by people.
The most well-known example is Chernobyl in Ukraine, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. In the 35 years since, the exclusion zone around the collapsed nuclear reactor has made an astonishing recovery, becoming a refuge for animals like elk, deer, bears, and wolves. It’s a testament to the planet’s incredible ability to heal itself, and offers a shred of hope for environmental recovery.
Journalist Cal Flyn visited Chernobyl and 11 other sites that humans left after war, toxic contamination, and natural disasters. Her new book is “Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in a Post-Human Landscape.”