On April 25th, 1986 reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear underwent a standard safety test that resulted in the world’s largest and most severe reactor malfunction in history. Displacing 50,000 people and rendering approximately 4300 square kilometers uninhabitable as a “no-go zone.” In later decades the number of the displaced would rise to 330,000 with 5-7 percent of the population of the Ukraine and Belarus receiving governmental compensation for the accident. When held under a global lens, the causes and effects of the explosion and fires show not only the obvious domestic ties, but foreign influence and consequences.
Paralleling the current trends in Africa, the need for rapid technological advancement to supply greater outputs (energy in this case) surpassed the Ukrainian’s ability to put in place safety measures to protect against catastrophic environmental fallout as explained by the World Commission on Environment and Development (433). Thrown into economic instability during the Soviet occupation, need to supply the Communist power’s infrastructure was essential in a country previously prided on its fertile lands. Thus, nuclear energy took hold during the global race to improve both weaponized and practical forms of the new power source. Thus, two resultant causes of the travesty were produced: an under trained operating crew who lacked theoretical training and knowledge and an absolute secrecy pact held behind the Iron Curtain which would allow the situation to spiral out of control as well as prevent the disclosure of accurate and necessary effects from the radiation.
What is clear now is that this isn’t nearly a Ukrainian situation to handle presently, it is still a lasting issue for not only neighboring European countries, but also those economically tied to the affected countries. When acid rain, live stock, crops, and ground water are subsequently rendered unsafe or unusable, locals become dependent on foreign resources and aid. While varying from Africa in the effect that the majority of the affected countries are further developed, Eastern Europe is still injured because of their inability to harvest their own resources for their benefit. Drylands in Africa turn to desert while deciduous forest die off in the Ukraine (434).
Even in a developed country there are 4,000 deaths attributed to the fallout and another 2,000 cancer cases a direct product of environmental radioactive pollution. This “interlocking crises” is yet another example of the many factors (political, economic, environmental) that intersect and can not only cause, but be further affected themselves by their own self-destructive nature (433). Pushing forward towards power and glory without foresight will continuously outrun our ability to observe the damage done and stunt our efforts to adjust or reform our attempts to preserve our global ecosystem that we’ve been granted.