An article in the National Geographic describes the findings of a scientific study into the 1,600 square miles of radioactive wasteland created by Chernobyl. The headline news is that the wild animal populations, particularly large mammals, have increased since the disaster. It would seem that human populations have a bigger negative impact than radiation.
My initial reaction was one of depression: how typical, a place has to be nuked before humans let wildlife have the priority.
But I need to temper my knee-jerks. I am increasingly conscious of how the environmental debate has slipped into a ‘them’ and ‘us’… “THEM” – the corporate global governors who need to “sort the problem” and “US” the disempowered masses able to wash our hands of our own complicity. It is easy to blame and less easy to do good.
I don’t want to be a conservative conservationist: banging on about what the countryside used to look like and how things were done in the olde days. Those days are gone. Nostalgia can easily eclipse purpose.
There is hope. I find it in the toil of compost turning; the glimpse of a hummingbird moth; the incalculable beauty of a green shot emerging from the ground. Find it, hold on to it, never let it go.