After reporting on my great trip to the far north, I’ll turn to one thing that I saw along the way.
As we left Murmansk and headed west, we came upon an area that had apparently recently been burned by a very large forest fire:
By way of contrast, here are two views of the land not too far from there:
Having recently been in Montenegro where there are forest fires in the summertime, this burned area was a familiar sight to me. I asked Yura when the forest fire had happened.
His reply astonished me. He said, “It has been burned, but not by fire.”
It took me a little while to grasp his meaning as he told me more. Pollutants from local mines and smelters cause acid rain to fall on the area, burning the land and killing the plants. It appeared to me that thousands of acres have been affected. Here some other views:
And here is a video I made as we drove along —
Russia took control of this area in 1944, and all of this damage has been done since then. It will surely take decades to recover once the acid rain ends. I’ve heard that they’ve been installing scrubbers in the factories, so hopefully things are beginning to get better.
I’ll close by saying that even though the land appears burnt and forlorn, the hearts of the people I met there are full of light and love. We had great fellowship there, and I look forward to my next visit.