What Does Uninhabitable Mean?

Abandoned kindergarten in the now uninhabitable Ukrainian city of Pripyat following the Chernobyl Disaster.
Abandoned kindergarten in the now uninhabitable Ukrainian city of Pripyat following the Chernobyl Disaster.

What is Uninhabitable?

The human race has fathomed the construction of a myriad of domains to subdue the blue planet of earth. However, there are certain segments which have eluded the footfalls of the human race. Sometimes, the deepest core of nature has vaulted its sovereign virginity from human beings, and sometimes the human beings have cursed their own history to barricade themselves from certain areas by debris of the holocausts of the past. Hence, both natural and man-made catalysts have been instrumental in christening specific sectors of the globe as "uninhabitable" (i.e. not suitable to live in).

Nature Unconquered by Mankind

Even though 21st Century man has treaded the deepest forests of the planet, surmounted the heights of Mount Everest, dived into the depths of the world’s oceans, and even orbited in space, there are still a number of places on Earth that humans have not yet inhabited, either due to the presence of extreme climatic conditions, difficult topography, or chances of the occurrence of natural calamities at these locations. For example, the continents of Antarctica, much of Iceland, Greenland, northern fringes of Canada, Siberia, and other locations in the higher latitudes near the poles, are largely devoid of permanent human settlements due to the freezing temperatures prevailing in these regions. The hot, arid deserts of the world, occupying nearly one-third of the world’s land area, are also among the least habitable places on our planet. The vast expanses of the Sahara Desert in Africa, the Arabian Desert in the Middle East, the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in China and Mongolia, the Thar Desert in India, and the Mexican Desert in Central America are highly inhospitable to mankind. Topography of land also plays a major role in determining human habitation of a region, and thus the rugged, alpine zones of the Himalayas, and many other major mountain ranges of the world, are not only devoid of human settlements, but are also completely inaccessible to common, untrained men and women. Only expert mountaineers and climbers are able to complete the danger-laden ascents to the peaks of these mountains. Many islands of the world are also largely uninhabited, which could be related to their relative isolation and inaccessibility (for example, the Kerguelen Islands of the French Overseas Territories) or due to the absence of enough freshwater resources (for example, the Kahoolawe Island in Hawaii) at these locations, as well as the presence of active volcanoes (for example, the Antipodes Islands of New Zealand.

Man-(un)-kind to Habitation

While the raw face of nature inhibits human habitation in many locations, many places on Earth with a prior abundance of natural wealth and hospitable conditions have been rendered uninhabitable by human activities. For example, Pripyat in the Ukraine, a once bustling town of 50,000 residents, had to be completely deserted in the aftermath of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster of 1986. High radiation levels prevailing in the region rendered it completely uninhabitable. Another example of anthropogenic activities ruining the habitability of a place is the extensive contamination of the groundwaters of Gilman, Colorado in the United States, caused by highly irresponsible mining activities in the area. With no safe drinking water available, the residents have been forced to migrate to safer areas of the U.S.A.

Dooms Days Ahead?

The future of mankind looks bleak if one is to trust the huge volume of data generated by the world’s climatologists, environmentalists, economists, and anthropologists. Scientists warn that, if climate change is not quickly and effectively addressed, soon half of the world might become completely uninhabitable. A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change predicts that, by the end of this century, vast areas in the Middle East, including such major cities as Doha in Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and Bandar Abbas in Iran, might become completely unfit for human survival. Another study conducted by the scientists of the University of New South Wales claims that, within just three centuries, the Earth’s average temperature will rise by 12 degrees Celsius, transforming many of the world’s countries into complete deserts. Besides rising temperatures, large-scale flooding by rising sea levels will also submerge coastal cities like Miami, New York, and Boston in United States, Mumbai in India, Osaka in Japan, Shenzhen in China, and various islands distributed across the world’s oceans. The residents of these cities and islands may have to flee these places, leaving them uninhabited.


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