Panic is rarely ever a good idea because it closes down the brain with fear, can cripple creative responses, and generally causes people to not think straight. Denial is worse. Like it or not, nuclear power is everywhere. Some consider it worse than Satan, others think it's the only logical solution to address global warming by reducing dependence on dirty fossil fuels and coal. The answer, as always, is probably somewhere in the middle. Most humans prefer to either panic or fade into denial but there is good reason to take a pro-active and informed approach now for the sake of public health in generations to come. We have Mark Heley and Fukushima Research Group to thank for leading the charge in this direction.
In November I did a story called Fukushima, Humanity's Defining Moment about Lakota Elder and Chief, Arvol Lookinghorse presenting a statement on Fukushima at The UN Tillman Chapel. I have to admit that I was on the verge of panic myself and happy to see First Nations Leadership speaking out when nobody else seemed to be. We have The Idle No More Movement to thank for bringing the native voice back into prominence at a time when we desperately need leadership with regards to environmental concerns.
The Fukushima issue continued to pick up steam until it erupted over the holidays with panic that The West Coast was going to fry. I had just read a long but beautifully written piece in Esquire by Luke O'Neil called "The Year We Broke The Internet," which I highly recommend. In short, he talks about the ways that sensationalist, and completely untrue articles spread virally solely for clicks online. It's that panic thing I guess, the amygdala causes us to "impulse click" on links when we are frightened or angry which can make lots of advertising dollars at the expense of ethics and truth. This same philosophy applies to the disgrace our mainstream corporate media has made of itself in the past decade.
Mark Heley made a Facebook post around that time saying that in response to the Fukushima panic attack spreading across the web that he was starting The Fukushima Research Group. In the last month Mark has assembled a stellar team of intelligent and grounded researchers and spent hundreds of hours pouring through information to deliver a much needed resource for all of us.
His first article, "An Overview of Fukushima and a Call For Meaningful International Collaboration" came out on Reality Sandwich and was an instant hit, spreading far and wide across the internet. It is long, but a must-read for anyone concerned about Fukushima.
Meanwhile, people like Tim Worstall at Forbes and others are suggesting that we just dump all the nuclear waste into the ocean because it would be a "cheaper" way to deal with it. Cheaper for who? The nuclear industry makes a pretty good profit, don't you think they should invest some of that money into a better solution than dumping it into the oceans? These "banana analogy" folks conveniently overlook the fact that Cesium-137 is many millions of times more radioactive and dangerous than Potassium-40.
Heley followed up with "Radionuclides in the Food Chain, the Real Risks From Fukushima" which is an absolute must-read for everyone. It is easily digestible and informative with topics like:
-Debunking the 'banana analogy'
-The health risks of ingesting cesium-137
-Research on the health impacts of cesium-137
-The impact of cesium-137 on the children of Chernobyl
-The effect of cesium-137 on the heart
-The effects of cesium-137 on the female reproductive system
-The overall health impact of cesium-137 and SLIR Syndrome
-The identification of children at risk in Fukushima
-An integrative approach to treating the effects of cesium-137 contamination
-The treatment of cesium-137 contamination
In true academic form he also includes a long list of references for anyone who would like to research deeper. There was so much in the article that made me feel relieved (I can eat non-endangered sushi again and watch the sunset on the beach!) yet I still feel called to action. That is what good writing and solid information can do for us all and The Fukushima Research group has made it easy for us to be on our game.
One thing that really stands out as a major problem that has yet to be addressed by The United Nations, The International Atomic Energy Agency, or The World Health Organization after Chernobyl is summed up in this quote from Heley:
The suppression of the work of (Dr.) Nesterenko and (Dr.) Bandazhevsky is an act of criminal negligence that the IAEA has chosen to do nothing to address. Although their work is virtually unknown in the West and is never cited in the official toxicological and medical literature on the effects of cesium-137, the research that they conducted was to the most exacting scientific standards and published in peer-reviewed journals. The reason for its obscurity is for purely political, not medical, or scientific reasons. Bandazhevsky's research shows that the health risk of cesium-137 is far greater than nuclear regulatory bodies worldwide admit, especially in children.
Japan is far far away, but many of the very same reactors are right here in our backyards in the good ol U.S. of A. New York Times reported last spring, "All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology, the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said..." So we have a real opportunity to consider Fukushima a wake-up call for every one of us.
Take some time to console your friends if they are still in a Fukushima panic and pull up 'yer bootstraps coz there's work to be done! Take a visit at Fukushima Research Group, or their Facebook Page, sign this petition, and check out The Elders Council Statement.
Now, more than ever, humanity is at a place where we can't afford to be ruled by fear, ignorance, or denial. We have the intelligence and resources to make the planet safe for all life and we have the ability to cause irreparable damage for generations to come. The choice is ours.