It is no secret that climate change is causing the recession of desolate permafrost all over the world. This is releasing many things that have been frozen for centuries. Some of them are fun, like methane gas, which recreationalists have used to create natural explosives. Some of them are not so fun, like the more-than-likely reinstatement of the bubonic plague (black death).
Or something worse. You see, the reason humanity has many diseases at bay (compared to our suffering ancestors) is because of the years and years of antibiotic development. Diseases evolve to resist; we make antibiotics stronger. The cycle continues. What becomes problematic is when diseases emerge that are complete strangers to humanity. Just as bad are versions of diseases (like the plague) that have been dormant for some time. Scientists believe bacteria can remain alive—yet dormant—in the permafrost for as long as a million years.
This is far from speculation.
August of last year, a group of villagers (and 2,000 local reindeer) were infected by anthrax because of the thawed corpse of an infected reindeer that had been frozen 75 YEARS AGO. What other diseases lick their lips below the surface of the earth?
Scientists have also discovered RNA contaminated with the 1918 Spanish flu virus in Alaska.
In 19th century Siberia a town lost almost half its population due to a smallpox epidemic. Their corpses are now—you guessed it—preserved in the ever-receding permafrost.
This is a huge indication that smallpox and bubonic plague bacteria are more than likely still alive, well, and lurking in Siberia.
Image via Twitter
Scientists say that the unleashed diseases—while more than probable—are hardly quantifiable. What is more quantifiable is the exponentially growing effects of climate change. Instead of pulling our hairs out about these diseases, we should focus on reducing this atmospheric warming as much as absolutely possible for any hope of a long future on this beautiful planet.
Featured image via Pixabay