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I would like to visit environmental disaster sites

I would like to visit environmental disaster sites

A jeep and visitors seen at the Gateway to Hell, a huge burning gas crater in the heart of Turkmenistan's Karakum Desert.

The Gateway to Hell, a massive burning gas crater at the heart of Turkmenistans Karakum Desert.
Photo: Igor Sasin/AFP (Getty Images)

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, President of Turkmenistan, said earlier this week that the country will redouble its efforts to achieve its goals. The Gateway to Hell is closeA massive natural gas fire has been burning in the middle the desert since 1971.

The net benefit of putting out the flames caused by an industrial accident is arguably its elimination. It would also put a halt to the tourism industry that has developed around this unnatural wonder. It is rare to see the Earth smoldering, and that is not due to human folly. However, it is a good idea to address the problem.

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The Gateway to Hell isn’t the only environmental disaster that has become a tourist spot or occupied a special position in our collective view of the world. These places can be quite difficult to visit. It is not difficult to see Chernobyl’s time capsule-like qualities. The meltdown that occurred there resulted also in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and a unquantifiable number of deaths.

These sites can be visited in ways that honor the destruction done to the natural world or people’s lives. There are good reasons to do so. Being present to environmental disasters can help us understand the causes. These lessons are even more relevant in an age of climate change. Only by learning from the past, can we avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

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