To quote Duke Miller “People are doomed, but the earth will do just fine. A few billion years will cure everything and chemical birds and breathing rocks will rule. I note that Chernobyl is thriving.”
He is, of course, right. Animal populations are on the rise in Chernobyl, primarily because there are no people. Wolves are particularly plentiful.
I have crazy-assed friends who believe that wolves are smarter than humans. They not only raise wolf-dogs but sleep and eat with them. They even howl at full moons. One day I expect to visit their ranch and find the humans locked in the dog runs and their wolf dogs playing poker on the veranda, a Make America Great bumper sticker on their old pickup.
I was in St. Petersburg three months after Chernobyl. There are sadder places in the world but none so grey. I was cruising the Baltic with a group of wealthy stockbrokers, one of whom almost got us thrown into jail for trying to smuggle a pretty Russian woman onboard. The harbor master had seen the trick before and took the stockbroker aside for a few sharp words and the admonition to give her his shoes and nothing else.
I can still see her reaching out to him through the chain-link fence as we sailed away. He had other shoes. I couldn’t believe how thin her arms were.
(the photo above is from the movie The Full Monty. )