I'm working on a few projects and haven't been watching the news feeds as vigilantly as I have in the past. Not because I don't care about the news and delivering it but the news somehow isn't saying much that I haven't heard before. And I hate repeating myself like a mainstream parrot.
Alas, that is part and parcel of media and its wretched 24 hour news cycle. The public's attention span has been whittled away, their focus is emotionally political rather than grounded in civics and to keep one's finger on that pulse too long is to be awash in a sea of petty idiocy and hot air.
Free press is a lone boat with one tattered sail praying to see a lighthouse. It's a shitty job but someone has been doing it for a long time -- longer than me -- only to be met with more censorship the harder we row. There is no quitting, however. For those of us who respect and love the power of the pen, quitting is simply not an option.
I'm working on building some lighthouses with other media people. The horizon ahead isn't clear for many because the mainstream media fog gets thicker every day. While stories like these go unheeded by the majority -- like so many buried columns or spun into fodder to keep people ordering dessert while the Titanic takes on more water:
"Marion Nestle, Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU, came out with some interesting tidbits regarding the food stamp program. One of them is extraordinarily disturbing. She shows that Wal-Mart gets as much as 25% to 40% of revenue at some stores from food stamp dollars. This says it all folks. Food stamps are of course the perfect business for Wal-Mart and JP Morgan, which as I pointed out previously makes a lot of money running the program and keeping the populace in perpetual serfdom." [What do you think will happen when JP Morgan fails? See first headline...]
"...none of the measures address the most critical issue pertaining to Europe: where is the money going to come from?"
Guest Post: It's Time To Connect The Dots - 6/29 [please see #3] "When you connect the dots, the next steps lead to what may soon be regarded as an obvious conclusion: the system, as it exists right now, is crumbling. No amount of self-delusion can make this go away."
This really isn't rocket science. Mainstream media talks to the public like children with no basic math skills to keep them from asking questions. The hard questions are and have been being asked by independent press and the truth delivered with stunning accuracy. But because money equals speech and attention spans are have waned -- critical thinking people will have to work harder if they love life and the people they share it with. I'm no math scholar but I have connected these dots.
Time and a lot of meditation brought me to understand and accept the picture that is forming. It no longer scares me more than it makes me concerned for others who have not yet made the connections. It is the reason I keep going.
In Dr. Guy McPherson's last essay, On Being a Radical -- he ended with several questions: "How radical are you? Do you love life? Are you willing to fight for it?"
Many of those dear to me who are not connecting the dots, I love as much as I love life, so I am willing to be as radical as necessary -- for them. That is why I am scouting ahead to learn from Dr. McPherson about a more durable set of living arrangements. I think of it as choosing the option of a stronger foundation for my lighthouse so I can be prepared, not just for myself but for others who will need these skills when the time comes. I will personally become more durable. Resilient.
This system hates that...so of course, it is in my nature to automatically relish it.
It is so surreal and odd that my grandparents victory gardening skills, ability to create community to survive through the Great Depression by sharing skills, food and resources would be or seem at all radical. This is how I know the current system is very, very sick and I do not wish to participate in it. It quite honestly, made me spiritually ill.
My whole life, I have been willing to fight for what I love...what I learn in New Mexico will only make me more able. Quitting is not an option. Quitting this system, however, is easy when its function prevents the exercise of inalienable rights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on a global scale, not just at home.
American rights and democracy aren't lifestyle options -- these are things that die when they aren't used.
Another Collapsetarian? No...he's just referring to Obamacare, not the big picture. Poor bastard.
This episode of the show covers a solidarity anti-foreclosures action for Cruz family Minnesota. OWS Week also covers the Occupy Catholics General Assembly with the US Catholic bishops calling for a "Fortnight for Freedom" open-air general assembly and Night of the Living Debt: a rally by protesters dressed up as zombies for the fourth weekly Casseroles event in NYC. Last but not least, a Solidarity Rally for Healthcare Justice, hunger strikers who are demanding medical treatment for their community.
A surprise Arab drive for freedom, the West's structural crisis and new hope coming from Latin America. That's the modern world in the eyes of Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali, two prominent thinkers and this week's guests on Julian Assange's show on RT.
You probably recognize this symbol, though you might have forgotten its name: √
When I write the symbol on the whiteboard in a class, and ask what it is, the response is invariable: “The square root.”
I respond, “Yes, its function is to take the root, including the square root or any other root. But what is it called?”
Extended silence ensues, followed by, “The square-root symbol.”
I lead the abundant laughter.
“Really? Nobody took math in junior high?”
“I’ve insulted everybody here within the first minute of our meeting,” I say. “Now that that’s out of the way, we can proceed.”
Long pause before I give away the answer: “It’s called a radical.” Another long pause before I reveal the point of this exercise. “It’s called a radical because it gets at the root. That, by the way, is the definition of radical: of or going to the root or origin.”
I use this anecdote to introduce myself to the class. I’m a radical, I point out. And, whereas this culture has convinced most people that a radical is a bad thing, similarly to anarchy, it’s actually not a bad thing, and it’s different than most people believe.
On this topic, the words of H. L. Mencken resonate with me: “The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”
A good citizen driven to despair. That sounds about right. A few excerpts demonstrate the point:
The perfect parrot was the perfect pupil …. As students in grammar school or in high school we seldom question the truth of any statement. Instead, our concern was to get each phrase exactly as the teacher or textbook stated it …. Imagine the effect of years of such training on the developing mind. The habit of mental conformity becomes almost ineradicable. I was merely one of generations of victims. How many teachers suggested to us that the established order was not all that it might be? Even the possibility of change was hinted at only vaguely. We were not rebels. We were not pioneers. We were not even enthusiastic or devout copyists. We were mere discs on which the language of our generation was cut. At certain intervals, called examination periods, we were expected to reproduce this language, word by word and paragraph by paragraph.
The American Way was not based on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but upon the determination of business men to hold down wages and push up profits. The American Way was designed to make the rich richer while it kept the poor in their places.
Meanwhile the war makers, whose profession is wholesale destruction and mass murder, had taken over control of the United States and its policies, were writing the words, calling the tune …. The United States of my youth was slipping from under my feet and vanishing from my sight. The Mayflower Covenant, William Penn’s charter of love and good human relations, Thomas Jefferson’s Bill of Rights, the Constitution of 1789 which as a schoolboy I had learned word for word, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural had become obsolete scraps paper …. We had begun beating our plowshares into swords and our pruning hooks into spears, transforming tools into weapons and techniques of destruction and murder.
Where did I belong? How could I classify myself? Was I a Don Quixote, tilting ineffectually at windmills? Was I crazy and were my stand-pat conservative fellow citizens sane? Was I alone sane and they all off the track?
This world I saw was not at all to my liking. It was a world in which the destructive forces clearly had the upper hand. I had been taught to believe in the possibilities of well-being for every individual and the probability of social improvement. I found myself in a world hell-bent on its own destruction.
I live in the United States only because my post of duty is there …. I am ashamed of any connection with the oligarchy which presently misgoverns, exploits, plunders, and corrupts the United States and the world.
As an individual, I continue to do what I can. I go about, talk, and write in the face of ignorance, inertia, escapism. I believe there is a growing awareness of the crisis and the gravity of the menace hanging over humanity. There is also a growing awareness that the crucial decision has been made and that the process of vaporizing western civilization is well under way …. My personal contribution is increasingly a form of foreign aid — a contribution to fellow citizens whom I seem not to know. They are a people without history, misled, deluded, inexperienced, baffled. They are people who are turning more and more away from reason and foresight to instinct, emotion, and pathetically desperate efforts to escape a fate that is closing in around them as a fog envelops a ship at sea.
With increasing awareness of the real situation there has grown up in me a conviction that I should do something about it. I have tried talking, writing, speaking, lecturing, and have been bypassed and ignored by my fellow Americans. I continue to do what I can, at every opportunity. I have spoken my lines as I have thought them out and learned them. I continue to offer my help to my fellow Americans as one would offer help to a drowning man who every moment is being carried farther away by an irresistible current. I offer this aid gladly, hopefully, anxiously.
Like the Ancient Mariner, I am saying to preoccupied passersby: you have chosen and are following a path that leads to your destruction and probably to the destruction of hundreds of millions of your fellows. I have advised, opposed, warned, decried, denounced. You continue on your way to perdition. You rush on, unheeding. I continue to warn. You do not look and do not listen. You do not see the infinitely rich possibilities of life, lying unused at your feet. You go your own way — the way that millions of humans have gone before you, lured and corrupted by the glass beads and printed calicos which civilized societies offers to its devotees.
I have turned my back on the American Oligarchy, the American Way of Life, and American Century, the American Empire, western civilization. The entire chain of civilizations have brought a little light, learning, joy, and hope to a very few human beings while multitudes lived and died in darkness, ignorance, misery, despair. I have turned my back on this short-sighted, opportunistic acceptance of that which is, because I am convinced that we could reach out, create, touch, and grasp a better life and make it ours, if only we would put forth the effort.
I have burned the last bridge which connected me with the American Way of Life because I am convinced that the ideas, devices, techniques, and institutions of civilization have been tried time after time and found wanting. They are superfluous and obsolete because better ways are already in being, available to any who will turn their backs on the past and face the future hopefully, confidently, creatively, and conscious of the need for concerted, radical action.
I say farewell to western civilization. With no shadow of regret I try to dismiss it from my life as I try to dismiss any other unsavory, painful memory.
My separation from western civilization and its ways is almost as complete as my separation from the civilizations of Rome and Egypt. I continue to live in the United States, the power center of western civilization because this is part of my assignment, but I have no more sympathy with it or concern for it than an emissary of the United States has in a precapitalist areas of equatorial Africa or South America. The emissary lives in the midst of backwardness, but is not of it. This is exactly my feeling about my relations with the United States, in which perforce I must live.
Who could have imagined in the early part of the century that after a brief foreign sojourn I would return to these shores and find large sections of Los Angeles, Detroit, and Washington smoking ruins, sacked, and looted? Who could have foreseen the mounting drug addiction among the population, the vicious crime waves, the riots, the police ferocity? Each time I asked myself, incredulously, can this be home?
The affluent, drugged, debauched, corrupted, polluted, deluded nation is a country I never envisioned in my youth. It is an alien and hostile land. When I return to it I cannot say happily, “I am going home.” Instead, I must gird myself and prepare to return to a foreign and none too pleasant habitat.
No thoughtful person can face the facts of present-day life without realizing the terrible urgency of the situation. It is the dawning of this realization that is largely responsible for the tidal wave of protest, disruption, and destruction that is presently sweeping over the planet. The reaction is more evident among young people. They have their lives ahead of them. The parents, members of the previous generation, are more inured to the situation. Most of them never had it so good.
Man disturbs and upsets the balance of nature. Nature retorts by restoring the balance. From childhood to man’s estate we construct dams and dykes. Before we turn our backs nature is undermining and breaching. Water is again running downhill. Nature is tireless, persistent, implacable.
Teaching is my job. Teaching, in its largest sense means searching out the truth, telling it to all who are willing to learn, and building it into the life of the community. Truth is often unpleasant, annoying, and unpalatable to those who hold a disproportionate amount of worldly goods, who are power hungry, and who are pushing a cause to the detriment of the many. So they try to avoid truth, to cover it up, to forget it. It is the job of the teaching profession, of which I have been a lifetime member, to keep on uncovering the truth, reminding the rich and powerful of its character and its significance, bringing it to public attention, and arguing that it be made the cornerstone of local, regional, national and planet-wide public life.
I have had the rare privilege of being present, and of assisting slightly, at the death process of one social system and through the early stages of the development of an alternative pattern of human society. If this were all that life had granted me it would be a lifetime well spent. I am grateful for the opportunity and hopeful that my fellowmen will carry on to victory in the perilous fight, taking fuller and fuller advantage of the infinite possibilities for creative experiment and persistent improvement.
The preceding words, like those of Mencken, resonant with me. They were written by Scott Nearing and published in 1972 in his autobiography, The Making of a Radical. He was 89 years old at the time. References to his youth and to the early part of the century offer his perspective from the early 1900s.
Too, I am ignored or disparaged when I point out the obvious signs of human-population overshoot and the likely near-term results, as well as the root causes of overshoot. The calls increase in number and tenacity when I point out the seemingly obvious need to destroy industrial civilization, the system that is driving to extinction several hundred species each day while making us sick, driving us to insanity, and killing us while we further human-population overshoot and the despoiling of our only home.
Imagine this scenario: You walk past a house every day. In the house, an old man kills 200 human babies as you stroll by. What shall you do? The response to which I’ve become accustomed: You walk past the house, plugging your ears to the screams and closing your eyes to the sights.
It’s not a hypothetical scenario, and it’s far worse than I’ve indicated. It’s not merely 200 human babies this old civilization is killing every day. It’s 200 species. In other words, it’s genocide. The majority responds by wishing this omnicidal system will continue forever. A slim minority wish it will end, thereby leaving habitat for humans for another few years. Vanishingly few people are motivated to the type of action that might preserve life, including habitat for humans.
How radical are you? Do you love life? Are you willing to fight for it?
Gabrielle Price seeks your support as she makes her way to the mud hut to learn skills. Learn more here.
Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi and Yves Smith of the website Naked Capitalism
A must watch installment of Bill Moyers & Co.
On the heels of two new articles written by these stellar economic reporters, it was quite a treat to find both of them on Bill Moyers to discuss the nature of the fraudulent bank system that can truly no longer be ignored, spun or blamed on anything other than their mafia tactics.
Remember this video when you hear anyone in US media pointing fingers at European banks, another country, some 'terrorist' or any one person in the sham of a two party system. Both parties are complicit in allowing these banks to continue their criminal activities at the expense of the entire US economy...and the global economy which can no longer be propped up.
Except when I am presenting at a conference or symposium, nearly all events are free and open to the public. At some events, donations are accepted to cover my travel costs.
Sunday, 24 June 2012, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Jubilee Building, 545 Parnell Road, Auckland, New Zealand. The twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin: Responding to climate change and energy decline. Details here.
Click to full view
Monday, 25 June 2012, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Kingston House, 123 Hone Heke Road, Kerikeri, New Zealand, Tips for building a durable lifestyle (details here)
Tuesday, 26 June 2012, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Kingston House, 123 Hone Heke Road, Kerikeri, New Zealand, The collapse of the modern world
Friday, 29 June 2012, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Puke Ariki, 1 Ariki Street, New Plymouth, New Zealand, Different thinking: Establishing durable living arrrangements in uncertain times (details here)
Click to full view
Saturday, 30 June 2012, 10:00 a.m. – noon, Bridge Club rooms, 70 Hobson Street (opposite the vehicle-testing station), New Plymouth, New Zealand, Different thinking: A follow-up workshop
Friday, 6 July 2012, 7:30 p.m., Community Board Room, Petone Community Library, 7/11 Britannia Street, Petone, New Zealand, Three huge threats: climate change, peak oil, and economic collapse
Friday, 3 August, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., CoHo Ecovillage, 1975 SE Crystal Lake Drive, Corvallis, Oregon, Topic To Be Determined
If you would like to book a presentation or solicit Dr. McPherson's participation in an event, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. To read more about booking an event, see Guy's Speaking and consulting page.
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss economic Jack and the Beanstalk style miracles that look a whole lot like simple ponzi schemes that Lilliputian financial journalists fail to report. In the second half of the show Max talks to Satyajit Das, author of Extreme Money, about the European debt crisis, how much longer Germany can stay solvent and whether German banks would have survived if the Irish taxpayer had not bailed them out in the first place.
This OWS Week episode covers the March from NY's Washington Square to an Obama fundraiser at an actress' house to protest no substantial investigation into the massive, criminal Bankers fraud. NY Silent March Against Racial Profiling: thousands march in silence as an illustration of both the tragedy and serious threat of NYC's "stop and frisk" policy. NYC and Chicago's noisy casserole rallies in solidarity with Quebec students, a report on the NATO-5's day in court on Tuesday, June 12th on terrorism charges, and PEPCO electric bill hike protests in Washington DC.
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss Libor traders who rigged global interest rate market escaping charges while Iceland sentences bankers to four year prison terms. At the same time, Iceland's central bank is raising interest rates to deal with a growing economy while Western bankster-riddled economies prepare for another round of money printing to deal with all the fraud. In the second half of the show Max talks to Brett Scott about financial activism, a Wikileaks for finance and collaboration with hedge funds.
I've written about the importance of a decent human community (here, most comprehensively). I’ve hosted hundreds of visitors here, and I’ve spoken and written often about this rock-pile in the desert as an example. In this essay, I provide a brief summary of the ties that bind the members of this human community, with a focus on the few hundred people within five miles of the mud hut rather than the five-person community occupying this small property.
Love for this place
The humans here love this place. Consider the examples at either end of the fiat-currency continuum. There are several financially wealthy people here. They could live anywhere, but they choose to live here. The majority of my human neighbors, though, choose to live in financial poverty. A mile up the road is a land trust with 13 members who share life on 20 acres. They grow their food and share a common well near the center of the property. They could live in dire financial poverty anywhere, but they choose to live here.
This is not a bad spot. I’ve grown quite attached to it. The latest trailer for Mike Sosebee’s film* reveals the perspective of one of my neighbors.
Respect for self-reliance
If you can’t fix it, learn how. If it’s an emergency, learn quickly. The preferred route is to teach yourself. If that doesn’t work, you are welcome to call one of the neighbors, most of whom have been pursing self-reliance for many years. They know about building structures, installing electrical lines, repairing the plumbing, changing the carburetor, growing food, tending animals, mending clothes, and mending fences.
And you’d better not call the expensive plumber in the town 30 miles away. Not when your neighbors need the work and appreciate the companionship and the Federal Reserve Notes. As John Steinbeck wrote in Grapes of Wrath: “If you’re in trouble, or hurt, or need – go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help – the only ones.”
Appreciation for diversity
Most of us claim to tolerate other races, creeds, and points of view. But that claim comes up well short, in many of my experiences.
And tolerance isn’t nearly as much fun as appreciation. Here, we appreciate diversity in its myriad forms. My favorite example is the combination New Year’s Eve and house-warming party I crashed a couple years ago. About 20 of us were attending another party. Two of party-goers had been invited to a party at the home of the financially wealthy literary agents up the road. So we all went.
We were welcomed, of course. The party was attended by 150 or more people. At one point during the festivities, I happened to notice one of the well-dressed hosts chatting with a cowboy from the cattle company. The cowboy was dressed to the proverbial nines, including the requisite felt hat, pearl-button cowboy shirt, vest, starched blue jeans, and ostrich-skin boots. I suspect you’d be hard pressed to find two people in this country with more disparate political views. They were joined by a man from the land trust. His dress and personal hygiene reflected his living arrangements, with limited access to fiat currency and water. The three men continued an animated, thoughtful conversation for 30 minutes or so, as if they care about each other. Which they do.
I’m not suggesting it’s all rainbows and butterflies here, much less that the years ahead will bring nothing but good times. We have our differences, thankfully, even here on this hectare.
There are many attributes that could keep us apart. But there are even more that can hold us together, if we allow. I’d like to believe the latter is stronger than the former, despite the tendency of civilized humans to find an “other” in our midst.
*Please join me in supporting Mike Sosebee’s film. To learn more, click here.
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, the european short change con in which debt and debt facilities are created and swapped at ever increasing speeds in order to defraud the population. In the second half of the show Max talks to economist Yanis Varoufakis about the ponzi austerity screwing Europeans right down to the ground with more debt.
This episode of the show reports on the 'casserole' solidarity rallies across the US, Milwaukee protests with mounted police charge and arrests. OWS Week also covers the NATO-five rallies in Chicago and the SEC protests in New York, plus art and culture theater group activities in support of Bradley Manning.
Just viewing OWS Week allows them to continue. Occupy MSM - view the ONLY weekly, professionally produced OWS news program on the web!
You'll hear about all of it in this interview. About the things we're doing to our living habitat on Earth.
By the way, "habitat" doesn't mean "mall." Doesn't mean WalMart either And that big screen TV? That's not it, the stuff on it isn't even real.
Our living habitat comprises all the things that industrial civilization does not value: the air we breathe, our oceans, the dirt under our feet. If it can't be mined or made into a dumping ground, it's useless. Even the people living here are only useful as consumers.
In this 32-minute interview, Guy McPherson shares with Co-Host Daniel Kerbein his view that industrial civilization is destroying everything so quickly, that if we don't stop it in the next few years, we are quickly headed for an uninhabitable planet.
Dr. McPherson came around to this while a tenured professor of Environmental Science at the U. of Arizona. He couldn't reconcile his position of privilege with his realization that a collapse is mandatory for humanity's continued survival. So, he says, he "walked away from Empire."
Now he lives with a group of like-minded people, producing what he calls "the Big Four- healthy food, clean water, body temperature maintenance (clothing & dwellings), and a decent human community." He also volunteers his time teaching others how to walk away.
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss shamed, naive and unsustainable ponzis and the UK's Metropolitan Police's Total War on Economic Crime (or at least that committed by the bottom 99%). In the second half of the show Max talks to Mitch Feierstein, hedge fund manager and author of Planet Ponzi, about global ponzi schemes, asymmetric hedging and whether or not hedge funds do any 'good.'
This episode of the show reports on the Bilderberg meeting protests in Virginia, New York solidarity with Canadian protesters. OWS Week also covers U.A.W picket line and stop foreclosures action in Minneapolis.
The Refreshment Center's Gabrielle Price interviews Michael C. Ruppert at his home in Sebastopol, California. We talk about Occupy and how the collapse of industrial civilization is coinciding with the most dynamic protest movement since the 60's. Mike touches upon geopolitics, energy depletion and environmental issues that humanity faces and the spiritual awakening that is taking place globally. He also shares his experience of the Occupy camps, the women of Occupy and the many veterans who support the movement. [We also verify that no animals were harmed during the making of this film...]. Cameraman: Arran Edmonstone
For more information about Michael Ruppert and Collapsenet, please visit http://www.collapsenet.com and make a connection in the Lighthouse Directory. You can also tune in every Sunday night to hear Mike's radio show, The Lifeboat Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
With the blue fin tuna story breaking in the US this past week, it is imperative that we keep our eyes and ears open when the mainstream media reports on the continuing problems facing the Japanese people. Because if the reactors are not contained as soon as humanly possible, there is no end to these problems for the rest of the industrial world when you consider the supply chain of global markets.
Keep in mind how many products are shipped from Japan and are sold in the US. Everything from food to car parts used in manufacturing is likely exposed to large amounts of radiation as indicated in this film by CNN.
What can be done? For starters, you can tell your local stores to stop carrying products from Japan. You can also sign these petitions that demand we know where our food products and ingredients come from.
Japan sends food ingredients all over the world. In the United States for example, big food manufacturers like Kellogg’s, General Mills, PEPSICO (makers of Gatorade, Frito-Lay products, Quaker, etc.) have all said they are getting ingredients from Japan but they won’t say what it is they are getting, citing “proprietary information” : basically none of your business to know. http://newsforyourfamily.blogspot.com/2011/08/corporate-responses.html
Denial is not an option when the health of every living creature on the planet is at stake. Shareholder's bottom lines are negotiable -- as well as the American way of life [sorry to break it to you, G.W. Bush].
It will not be possible to maintain any way of life if we aren't concerned with the health of everyone being effected by globalization -- including the creatures and plants. This madness must end before it ends us.
ACTION ITEM: CALL THIS NUMBER USA +1 (615) 898-2300 or email the form letter below by copying/pasting into an email and adding your name in the salutation, to Sidney.McPhee@mtsu.edu (President of Middle Tennessee State University) with a CC to firstname.lastname@example.org (the parent's organization) with the Subject: Parents Concerned About the Fukushima Reactors
OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT of Middle Tennessee State University, the University that is planning on sending 10 students to Fukushima Japan to study natural disasters on Monday, June 4, 2012. Call or email before THIS MONDAY.
[copy/paste from below, here]
It has come to my attention that your school is sending 10 students and some staff members to Japan next week to visit an area that is approximately 45 miles from Fukushima, Japan. That is close to the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. There are several nuclear reactors on site. Some of which have suffered meltdowns already. Some which are currently in meltdown. Some which Tepco, the power company that runs the site, are unable to maintain a consistent safe temperature. When too much pressure and heat develops inside the reactor, Tepco does steam releases, purposeful releases of radioactive material into the atmosphere to bring down the pressure inside the reactors. They would not want the pressure to build up too much inside those reactors because it would explode. Tepco, with the permission of the Japanese government, is forced to choose between the lesser of two very bad evils.
1] When the pressure builds up too high in the reactors that are in trouble, do nothing and let the pressure inside build until the proverbial pot gets too hot and explodes.
2] Release radioactive steam into the atmosphere to relieve some of the pressure. The chemical makeup in these radioactive steam releases can cause cancer. Who will get cancer from these releases that blow on the winds and through the air that people there breathe in and who won't? Well, that is luck of the draw. Furthermore, nobody knows when the reactors are going to "misbehave" or when the next earthquake might hit, to require this intervention and how much radioactive steam will need to be released to settle the reactor back down.
This alone would make me not want to send my child or any child on this trip. Dr. Schmidt, the Vice Provost for International Affairs at your University, said that going to Fukushima is like going to Louisana after Hurricane Katrina. They both suffered damage after natural disasters. While that piece is true, one critical piece has been left out: There is another ongoing disaster. It is the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.
Dr. Schmidt pointed out in a phone conversation, that Fukushima University has received money from the Japanese government to invest in promoting and encouraging universities from around the world to come and partner with them. I am all for that if the disaster was really over. But it is not. IF they go, those students will be put in harm's way. They will be entering an area that has suffered a 3 fold disaster, two of which have passed -- the tsumani of 3/11 and the earthquake -- but the 3rd, the nuclear disaster -- is far from over. It is the piece in this 3 fold disaster that apparently Fukushima University failed to mention to your Vice Provost of International Affairs when this trip was being planned and that sir, is simply unethical and disingenuous.
I couldn't fathom the notion that your colleagues were aware that the nuclear disaster is still ongoing but yet would still choose to put this group into harm's way because of some great deal that the University of Fukushima is offering. I really hope that is not the case. This would be considered totally unprofessional and unacceptable -- unless each student and their families were made aware of the dangers outlined in the following information and are still choosing to go anyway.
1.] If reactor 4 blows up in Fukushima it will be disastrous
2.] After the Chernobyl accident, many people who didn’t need to be poisoned by the nuclear disaster were. They got cancer. They ended up with mutated DNA that severely affects generations to this day because they ate food that had been contaminated from the initial fallout.
4.] Here's another link to a document stating the amount of contamination in a forest nearby, which was just published on May 25th, 2012. It was put together by Soil Resources Laboratory, Department of Forest Site Environment, Forest and Forest Products Research Institute, 1 Matsunosato, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8687, Japan.
President McPhee, in my view students should NOT be going to Japan. They should NOT be put in harm's way without, at the very least, informing them and their families about the things outlined in this email and give them the INFORMED choice before sending their children to Japan. Any parent I know I would appreciate the full picture.
Provide all this information to the families and let them decide for themselves or cancel the trip all together. This is NOT like helping after Hurricance Katrina. This is like walking into an ONGOING disaster or even a war zone. You don't know when the enemy -- the nuclear reactors -- might go off.
Is it really worth it, sir?
Thanks for your time,
[Insert you signature here]
P.S. President McPhee,
Here is some more information:
This problem will be magnified substantially around the world in the case with Japan b/c unlike Russia back in the 1980s, Japan sends food ingredients all over the world. In the United States for example, big food manufacturers like Kellogg’s, General Mills, PEPSICO (makers of Gatorade, Frito-Lay products, Quaker, etc,) have all said they are getting ingredients from Japan but they won’t say what it is they are getting citing “proprietary information” : basically none of your business to know.
In essence if you live in the US and you want to avoid consuming something from Japan, you can’t. Japanese ingredients are also going into medicines, make up, animal feed, and a myriad of other products. Citizens have a right to access to this information so if they want to avoid eating it, they can. This petition gives citizens that right.