The Paradox of Our Time

Perestroiska -- Russian for "structure" -- was a political movement seeking to reform the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The Soviet Union was suppose to be reborn, but instead Chernobyl exploded in a fiery, radioactive rage, the Berlin wall was smashed to bits, and the Cold War ended.

The decay of the Soviet Union has left us with an ever-lasting reminder of the evil in humanity's soul. America taught us to hate and fear Russians, while proclaiming us the "good guys." And, yes, the Soviet Union was evil, but we are not so good ourselves. By we, I don't mean Americans. Instead I refer to the human collective.

If the Soviet Union had a divine purpose in its less than 70 years of existence -- shy of a man's lifetime -- it was to perpetually remind us of what we can do not only to each other, but also the environment. The eternal gift of the Soviet Union is: Chernobyl. The 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is considered to be the dirtiest radioactive site in Europe. It will not be safe for humans for another 20,000 years -- multiple times longer than the existence of human civilization.
It was feared that no life would ever return to Chernobyl, and very few of the city's 300,000 inhabitants have returned. The absence of humans, however, has led to an explosion of wild life. Chernobyl today is the largest animal sanctuary in Europe. Though the flora still suffers -- with mushrooms very dangerous -- the fauna have spoken.
It's as if the future is speaking back to us, telling us that we humans today are worse for the planet than radioactive fallout. In a 1,000 years, long after we are all dead and our names are but echoes in history, our progeny will proclaim: "they were worse than radiation."