The Thaw of the Woolly Mammoth*

By: Valentine

*Fiction piece inspired by Washington Post’s “Radical Warming in Siberia Leaves Millions on Unstable Ground”

The soil held me like cement for 11,000 years. I remained stagnant as the two legged mammals built around me. Them manufacturing a life post-freeze: homes assembled over me, horses grazing and vibrating the surface with speed, roots leading to unfamiliar plants with roots sprinkling my Yedoma soiled sky, harvested like clockwork. Now there is the sound of rivers rushing all around causing hillsides to collapse.

I felt the changes at the beginning of this century. My body held like glue to the earth, the frost refusing to let me go and forcing me into an eternal slumber, or so I thought. A stable ground turning into a sliding scale of change, and right now the slipping soil is in my favor.

The first time I noticed something different was the way my trunk moved slightly. In deep preservation and meditation, I accepted my icy coffin. I never thought I would break free, or at least this soon. 

Soon after the trunk, the ice had turned to a malleable soil, where my four legs are able to gently shift out of their place of frozen residence. Now, my ivory tusks are shaking free from the other organic plants and animals — they too feel the ability to leave a mark on this Earth again. We may be a mix of methane and degradation, but we are back.

My body is filled with a prickling sensation, my tons of fat a part of the melting earth now. Yet, the temperature is so warm, I feel alive. I stretch out of my resting place of thousands of years, fur dripping off me. I reach the surface, exhaling all the carbon dioxide that remained captured inside me for too long. 

***

Quick summary of the Washington Post article:

The article explains the permafrost thawing in Siberia, leaving an awful odor of decay from prehistoric plants and animals that were held in a preserving frost for thousands of years. Siberia is one of the fastest warming places on Earth, already reaching 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Rivers are rising and the ground is collapsing, making homes unstable and residents’ way of life unpredictable. The agriculture that people once relied on, can no longer be grown on the soil: it is useless. 

As the animals and plants decompose, they are releasing a large amount of carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming even more. The people living in the permafrost region of Russia are now migrating, labeled as climate change refugees. To understand the severity of permafrost thawing, this quote from the article explains it perfectly:

“Scientists estimate that the Earth’s Yedoma regions contain between 327 billion and 466 billion tons of carbon. Were it all released into the atmosphere, that would amount to more than half of all human-caused emissions from greenhouse gases and deforestation between 1750 and 2011.”

These are the beginning stages of climate change, slowly impacting our lives. We need to demand action. Take part in civil disobedience. Get involved with environmental organizations.  It’s time to rebel.

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