Changing our environment through crisis

There have been two new crises in the world that have occurred in the past few weeks. One crisis is the devastation of the nuclear power facility in Fukushima in Japan, which was caused by building the nuclear power plant close to the sea in region where earthquakes happen routinely, without sufficient protection for the plant from damage by earthquake and tsunami. The second crisis is taking place in Libya, where a civil war, with one side backed by most nations, is happening, with all the loss of life, bombing, explosions and waste that happens in war.

The first crisis has led to leaks of radioactive material. The actual quantity of leaks and their consequential risk to life and to the environment is bewildering, not least because the information about the nuclear accident is contradictory. I get the feeling no one really knows the seriousness of the position.

It is bad enough that the earthquake and the tsunami killed more than eleven thousand souls. That and the physical damage do not end with what we see, but the silent invisible threat of radiation threatens more life and the environment in which life lives.

In Libya there is also a bewildering lack of information. We do not know how many lives have been lost and we do not even know whether overall the measures that are being taken now by NATO will save lives or cost more lives than they save. There are also environmental consequences of any war; the resources that are put into war use vast amounts of energy, and in the case of Libya this energy consumption is creating climate changing emissions which have the effect of saving the Libyan oil fields so that we may use them to make more emissions in future.

 

One Response

  1. The “radiation risk” at the moment seems to be far larger in the public’s mind than in actual fact.

    While the reactors have indeed reached meltdown the problem is still well contained and minor background radiation fluctuations are nowhere near as severe as they sound.

    I think it’s the terminology used “millisieverts” just sound scary…

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