The last post (and even the one before it) went thud. Maybe the quietest thud in my scribbling history. I am trying to figure out why but in the meantime will take a guess. Also, just for those who like to know whether or not there are any topics in a post that interest them, this post will have three separate subjects, all loosely interrelated.
When one tries to obtain something like a geiger counter and realizes that the supply has vanished, questions arise. However, if the primary suppliers all tell more or less the same story, then the probability is that there is something to the story. That story is that the government (as in U.S. government) bought up every dosimeter and geiger counter available. Moreover, they did not just buy what was on the shelves but rather months of production, months of production from companies making simple consumer products that do not meet the standards for reliability and durability required by the military. If then these units were provided as interim devices at radiation testing sites or even if they were handed out to inspectors of food products, there might be some explanation, but the reality is that countless testing sites were closed and information just vanished. It's almost like the biggest nuclear disaster in history isn't even news any more.
|To put this in perspective, I would like to introduce one of the more thought-provoking journalists in Asia, Yoichi Shimatsu. His writing is a marvelous mix of fact and philosophy, and his command over language practically qualifies him as a poet. To entice you to read more, I will quote a few sentences and then give you a link.
"The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has allocated 1 trillion yen ($12 billion) in funds for nuclear waste disposal. Areva, the French nuclear monopoly, has teamed up with Tepco to find an overseas storage site. So far, the Tepco-Areva team have quietly contacted three Asian countries - Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia -- to set up a center for "reprocessing", a euphemism for nuclear dump site.
"A more logical choice for overseas storage is in the sparsely populated countries that supply uranium ore to Japan, particularly Australia and Canada. As exporters of uranium, Canberra and Ottawa are ultimately responsible for storage of the nuclear waste under the legal principle of industrial recovery.
"In a lapse of professionalism, the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA) has never seriously addressed nuclear-waste disposal as an industrywide issue. Based on the ratio of spent rods to reactor fuel inside U.S. nuclear facilities, there are close to 200,000 metric tons of high-level nuclear waste at the 453 civilian nuclear-energy plants worldwide. Yet not a single permanent storage site has ever been opened anywhere."
What Mr. Shimatsu is saying is that when all the costs are added together — mining, operation, responsible retirement of plants, proper disposal of nuclear waste — renewable energy looks cheap in comparison. I might add that if we factor in other risks, nuclear power is prohibitively expensive. That is, when environmental degradation, health risks, and occasional accidents are added to the costs of doing business, nuclear energy is the most expensive method imaginable for having light. If on top of these issues, we consider that spent fuel is recycled into deplorable and prohibited weapons, the politics of nuclear power lose all persuasive force. We are all perhaps so numb that we cannot budge from our paralysis. If someone else's baby is born with an eye the size of a tennis ball, that is not "our problem" any more than when a neighbor's child develops leukemia or someone we read about in Chernobyl or Japan develops thyroid cancer. We have insulated ourselves from perpetual shock by thinking the problems do not exist in our own insulated worlds.
So, what our small team set out to do is what our governmental agencies and research institutes should have been doing all along: we have been trying to determine IF there is a problem and how serious that problem might be. After the supply of detectors dried up, there was a gap of about 10-12 weeks before new personal use devices began to become available. However, the EPA, FDA, CDC, and countless universities, laboratories, and other places should have been providing data on an hourly basis. They did not so why didn't they?
Government never wants a crisis it cannot manage. As we have seen, governments can use fear to build up their own power over people so one possibility is that government is reveling in pandemonium, but much more likely, there is something government does not want the public to know. This has provided fertile ground for the frustrated literary aspirations of countless conspiracy theorists, but I am neither a novelist or politician. I am a healer and I want to know the medical risks.
Without information, we are speculating. So, as I told Dr. Hiranuma last night, I could explain what I think to be the case, but I cannot prove a thing. I.e., we don't know how many of the symptoms reported to me or experienced by me personally can really be linked to radiation. I believe they are related, but that is because there are no other explanations. Take this and multiply it by 200 million or one billion and you have the number of people whose recent health complications are in search of an explanation. Addressing these issues takes an immense amount of time and effort so we started with the list of radioprotective herbs. Dr. Hiranuma has added to her plate by posting on psychospiritual approaches to grief, loss, fear, uncertainty, confusion, and that mental and emotional paralysis I am calling catatonia. The scope of her involvement is enormous but what we are both seeing is that there is more and more movement now. Shock attended by silence is gradually moving in the direction of deep thinking and discussion. Most likely, action will ensue from this well of trauma. We are both seeing an incredible resilience in the Japanese psyche as well as a reconnecting to source energies, the myths that sustain cultural identity and the sense of belonging. This has been an incredible journey but there are countless practical matters requiring action.
We have a plan for our own roles, but I feel we still need to hammer home some details about radiation. Only those with very sophisticated equipment can identify the particular isotopes raining down on the Northern Hemisphere. I am going to take another huge risk and propose that if a very simple device such as I used the other day detected radioactivity on locally grown spinach, the extent of the problem is being underestimated by a factor of at least 10, perhaps 100. Let me try to make this as clear as possible. Most devices are measuring gamma radiation and x-rays. The one I used picks up beta radiation as well but some of the radioactive materials released are alpha emitters, especially the very serious uranium and plutonium from the completely demolished reactor using MOX fuel. I am not trying to scare people, I am trying to encourage people to take realistic precautionary measures. So, while the bad news is that I have yet to lay my hands on a detector that can measure alpha radiation, it is this radiation that is most easily blocked by something as thin as a piece of paper. However, if the particles are inhaled or ingested, we have another problem, one of significant dimensions. Please wear face masks when mowing your lawns or using weed whackers or blowers!
One of the issues in Japan has been school playgrounds. These are not safe. Not only are they outdoors but the fallout has permeated the top inch or so of soil. To check this here, I repeated some of the steps described on Japanese blogs. It is true that the levels increase as we come closer to the ground. For someone who has invested so much personal time and energy is creating nutritionally useful flowers for bees and butterflies, who has struggled to convert outdoor space to practical sources of medicinal herbs and food, and who has tried to encourage others to do the same, the fallout has been devastating. Worse, my dog's fur set off the geiger counter. I have kept her indoors 95% of the time but once in a while, she wants to curl up on the ground, in the sun or shade, and I haven't engaged in a battle of wills with her. You can, however, imagine how hard it is to take responsibility for not being more firm with her.
I will try to wash off what I can and have a chat with our animal communicator but the point is really that we have moved beyond the stage of initial emergency measures to longer-term health and environmental issues. The Japanese are moving very fast with water and soil remediation. I knew this would happen, but it is going even faster than I anticipated. So, the Kurosawa film was provocative in this context. There was not a single comment about it from anyone, but I think Dreams is a curious mixture of Dante's Inferno and the prophecies of Nostradamus, all set in contemporary times with themes that are shockingly relevant. How did Kurosawa's psyche present such images to him 20+ years ago? More importantly, the post-disaster world that emerges from the wreckage is engaging, not in a sophisticated way but in a way that touches the heart and gives it permission to rule over the modern mind with its dangerous attachments to manipulation and control.
Finally for today, I want to continue my very slow-moving tale of safe food production. I found out this morning that the heating cables I ordered hadn't been shipped. That's my karma and I had it coming to me, but they were sent today so there will be pictures of the project next week. In the meantime, I have ordered a lot of seeds for stir-fries, Asian cuisine, and Macrobiotic gardening:
Obviously, it is my hope that if you are in an area with fallout, you will grow things on window sills or hoop houses or greenhouses, but under cover!
To encourage you to take care of yourself and those you love, I am creating a coupon code for 15% off on Pacifi Ka, Black Seed Oil, Goji Tonic, and Dragon's Blood. Enter "Radiation" (without the quotation marks) in the coupon code box when checking out and the cart will give you 15% off everything if one of these items is in the cart. This is valid through this weekend.