Letting it All Sink In


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Continuing in the casual mode, I would like to respond to some questions that have been asked privately. One person asked for examples of what the Japanese are doing technologically to resolve the Fukushima disaster. I think I have been reporting these developments as they come to my attention but keep in mind that everyone is starting at the bottom of the learning curve and the slope there is steep and slippery. This said, proper responses require access to correct information and this is only moving at a trickle in Japan and barely reaching beyond the shores of the Rising Sun. As of this morning, our hero, Dr. Tatsuhiko Kodama, is comparing the releases to Hiroshima bombs and suggesting that we are presently at the level of 29 such bombs.

In reality, there are no devices capable of measuring releases at the level suspected to be the true figure. Meanwhile, Dr. Hidehito Nakamura of Kyoto University has invented an inexpensive measuring device made of the same kind of plastic used in pharmaceutical bottles:

It appears to work on the principle that radioactive emissions can be detected, ergo the proposed name for the device: Scintirex. If the response seems slow, we may need to cut some slack for both the chaos and shock, part of which may include as yet to be explained vulnerabilities. The Japanese claim to be under enormous pressure from the U.S. So, this brings up the vice president's trip to Mongolia. Please connect dots. Remember our eloquent journalist, Yoichi Shimatsu? Waste disposal is a multi-billion dollar business, maybe a criminal enterprise that masquerades as something necessary for environmental well-being, but throwing my waste in your backyard is rather rude so let's see what the talkative but sometimes charming Joe Biden does on his trip.

The Mongolian proposal disturbs me greatly because Mongolia has been a sort of wilderness in which truly pristine ecosystems can still be found. Besides, the culture is fascinating and it just happens to host a museum with the paintings of my favorite artist:

Oh, and have I mentioned goji berries lately? They grow there, but I am going get some seeds from Bradley because this is becoming outrageous.

Anyway, back to Japan.

Unfortunately, nothing reported thus far suggests that the radiation leak has either been contained or might be contained in the near future. Likewise, though there are some water purification devices capable of removing some radiation, nothing both affordable and efficient has come off the production line. I am not saying that individuals cannot manage this challenge but when trying to purify the water for a metropolis like Tokyo, there is no cost-effective solution at this point. Worse, radioactive trash is being burned and volatilized and contamination is now widespread in everything from bagged compost for gardeners to food products, both vegetable and animal. However, people are waking up and they are becoming more inventive with every full moon!

This said, TEPCO has its first water purification system running now:

This is important, very important, but we just have to hope more containment occurs soon. We also want to see more devices and more soil remediation. Believe me, people with expertise are working round the clock, often under quite stressful and even dangerous conditions. We need to send them our love and thanks.

Finally, I am taking some time off for celebrations. As some of you know, I live very close to Suquamish and the grave of the father of the environmental movement, Chief Seattle. The grave is in a magnificent spot overlooking Puget Sound. I often go there to meditate. Once a year, First Nation people from "everywhere" gather in Suquamish and share their music, dances, and crafts. It's mobbed but not impossible to move about. The dancers come from Alaska, South America, the South Pacific, and all over Central and North America. It's very colorful, nourishing to the soul, and free. Besides, Savika is allowed to join and she is such a traffic stopper that I get to meet lots of excited children. In the evening, I am going to a movie, first one in several years. Not counting the operas, the last was "Geisha". This is "Buck", Sundance Film Festival, and is a documentary about the real horse whisperer.

Have a great weekend,


"Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man."

Chief Seattle



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