Reporter Diaries — Man and Nature Wars

The Man and Nature War.

August 14, 1993…

Hey E.D! I’m pretty exhausted and famished from my trip but I’m not one to skip on duty, hence this update. A trip to the Pierre and Marie Curie collection at the Bibliotheque Nationale in France gave me a lot to think about today, E.D.

As a nature photographer and columnist of a national newspaper, I tour the world in search of memorial sites to take down notes and a few pictures for my fortnightly publishing, but never in my lengthy existence have I happened on such a phenomenon as this.

We were asked to sign a liability waiver and wear protective clothing because about everything in the Curie’s home were radioactive. Everything E.D! — Cookware, furniture, clothing.

The most intriguing of all was Marie Curie’s journals which is still being kept in lead-lined boxes due to their extreme levels of radioactive traces. Stories have it that while the couple’s research lasted, they basically tinkered with radioactive isotopes without protection even taking them in their pockets and storing them in shelves at home, totally oblivious of the harm they were bringing to themselves by the exposure.

I pictured Marie and Pierre conversing about their progress in their lab, clad in nothing but ordinary work clothes, starting from an unprecedented move by the matter in study and laughing at their silly nerves afterwards.

It’s ironical how something Marie gave her all to resulted in her death but who’s to blame; The couples for their ignorance or perhaps unobservant attitude to changes within and around them? Nature? The radioactive matter? It’s a continuous cycle of unending why’s, one leading to another. Did nature wickedly repay their dedication with death by exposure to radioactivity or was it simply fate?

There was no way they could have known about the dastard aftereffects, Uranium being only just discovered, but perhaps they should’ve prepared for the unknown, the unexpected.

All these why’s running about in my head coagulated to the big question now on my lips. Is nature trying to pull a fast one on humans? Repay them for the sarcastic goodness it’s been shown since the advent of mankind?

It’s no news of the continuous damage man does to the ecosystem. Naturalists and ecologists are on an edge as to the unknown that may result from man’s action.

“Man’s simply pulling the trigger at mother nature with each innovation because they think of her as some wolverine full of adamantium who would heal eventually. Forgetting that healing takes time — a break from whatever’s hurting it” An enraged Naturalist ranted on live TV once.

I recall the anger in his voice, the disappointment in his eyes, it was as though mother nature spoke right through him. Perhaps the earth was a better place before man joined the bandwagon, perhaps it’s better off without man.

As Newton had proposed, nature may simply be reacting to man’s action, employing repercussions. As it stands, there’s no telling if natural disasters are mother nature’s ways of looking man in the eye, telling him straight to his face that he was a cheap excuse for a match.

Man has, however, never lost his grace in throwing devastating blows at her, poaching on her with reckless abandon recounting in the loss of her most pronounced species. Species that may yet seem to be myths decades from now — tales of creative writers and scientists to future generations with fossils appearing as 3D representations.

Perhaps this is what nature doesn’t want. She may yet be speaking but man’s forever desire of exploration has proved an inhibition. I believe some things are better left undiscovered, E.D. Man’s to blame but so’s nature. Many different innocent persons have paid with their lives for these discoveries that triggered mother nature. I insist to add ‘almost’ innocent. The only reason for Man’s undying quest for new grounds lies in the insatiability of his fellow man.

Enough been said of man and nature’s loggerhead, nature appears to have the upper hand because try as man may, she always wins. And not because it’s nature and a she, the balance — peaceful coexistence — seemingly looks broken. As I bring this writing to a close due to the insolent grumbling of my sorry stomach, a question tugs crazily at my mind; Was Marie Curie actually a collateral damage of this war?

— Lily BrowGinger

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