Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places
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For most of us, traveling means visiting the most beautiful places on Earth―Paris, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon. It's rare to book a plane ticket to visit the lifeless moonscape of Canada's oil sand strip mines, or to set sail for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But in Visit Sunny Chernobyl, Andrew Blackwell embraces a different kind of travel, taking a jaunt through the most gruesomely polluted places on Earth.
Visit Sunny Chernobyl fuses immersive first-person reporting with satire and analysis, making the case that it's time to start appreciating our planet as-is―not as we wish it to be. Equal parts travelogue, expose environmental memoir, and faux guidebook, Blackwell careens through a rogue's gallery of environmental disaster areas in search of the worst the world has to offer―and approaches a deeper understanding of what's really happening to our planet in the process.
method. 3. CHOOSE A LOCATION. You’ve got to work the sightlines. The second day on the yatra, for instance, I found a nice spot behind the ruins of a small, brick building that screened me off from the highway, as well as from a trio of truck drivers lounging by the dirt access road. That left forty-five degrees of exposure to the south, but with nobody in sight I liked my odds. 4. CRAP. Work quickly. This is no time for an e-mail check. 5. In standard North American al fresco procedure, this
rates of respiratory disease, birth defects, and cancer for the communities that live with them. And once in a blue moon—seriously, only very occasionally—the plants self-annihilate. They explode. In Texas City, ninety miles to the west, a 2005 refinery explosion killed 15 people and injured more than 170. The industry here is the direct legacy of the boom sparked by the Lucas Gusher, and the plants that overshadow downtown Port Arthur are the same plants that were built to receive Spindletop’s
from, but there is broad agreement that its sources are disproportionately land-based. A surprising amount of trash manages to avoid the landfill, and when it does, it often makes its way to the sea, whether by way of storm drains, rivers, or other avenues. Since plastic objects don’t degrade easily, if ever, they have plenty of time to work their way out from land and find the ocean’s currents. A plastic bottle taken by the currents off San Francisco will travel south as it heads out into the
executed. All this is made possible by the absence, on the high seas, of anything else but the high seas. There is nothing to steer around, nothing to crash into, indeed no things whatsoever, except for you and your ship. If, within a ten-mile radius, so much as a rain squall or a tall wave threatened to violate our monopoly on thingness, the radar would sound an alarm. All that mattered when you were steering, then, was the heading, which would be provided by the watch captain, in our case the
Chinese government was having trouble keeping the industry in balance. Record-breaking demand created spikes in the price of coal—but the Chinese government was reluctant to let power companies pass the cost increases along to their customers. So the producers simply chose to produce less power, even as coal extraction rose to record levels. That spring would see some of the worst electricity shortages in years. Just beyond the power plant, the plain erupted into walls of bare, craggy rock. A