Post-apocalyptic landscapes today

the world doesn't end all at once
Those of us who live in better parts of planet often don't realize how much we have already lost. Here are some regions of the world that, due to negligent behaviour, created problems that those who live there today can't afford to solve.

The Sahara

Where the Sahara lies today has been productive land in the past, including serving as a source of food for the Roman Empire. The Sahara desert owes its expansion both to natural variations and to overuse.

The Sahara covers 6% of the Earth's land area. (33% of Earth's land is covered by deserts.)

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is the result of a 1986 nuclear power plant failure that has rendered the surrounding area too contamined to live in, although a handful of people refuse to move away.

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone covers only 0.002% of the Earth's land area. We're very lucky that so little of Earth has been contaminated — we have had several near-misses with large-scale radiation contamination, although the radiation from nuclear weapons tends to dissipate more quickly than that from power plants.

Vietnam's dioxin contamination

Dioxin, used during the Vietnamese War to defoliate forest cover, has stayed in the ecosystem and continues to produce a rather high percentage of nightmarish birth defects from generation to generation.

What next?

For those of us that live in nicer parts of the world, it's easy to look at world-changing dangers as being in some sort of vague abstract future time. However, in other parts of the world, they're already living on the wrong side of a casatrophe. Becoming familiar with their everyday realities can help us break free from the sensation of unreality that surrounds our risk-related thoughts, which in turn can motivate us to reduce those risks.