As a Justmeans staff writer for the Sustainable Foods editorial department, I explore the disparity between consumerism and independence through the topic of sustainability. As a self-described 'urban homesteader' I look to find the balance between a sustainable lifestyle and use of corporate convenience. I don't necessarily want to live without electricity, but I want to be comfortable if eve...
Nuclear Fallout: Japan And Everybody Else
Early this morning, the news came swiftly: radiation had been detected on the California coast. Moments later, another article revealed that, eventually, the radiation will reach Western Europe at minimum, and probably will end up circling the globe entirely.
Last Friday's earthquake in Japan has left something like 20,000 people either dead or missing. Survivors of the natural disaster are now left to face the unnatural disaster: radiation poisoning. Ireland's Independent says, "Increasing numbers of people are being forced to scavenge for food in the debris of their homes."
ABC News gave a report claiming that milk & spinach have already been detected with radiation, saying, "The tainted milk was found 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the plant, a local official said. The spinach was collected from six farms between 60 miles (100 kilometers) and 75 miles (120 kilometers) to the south of the reactors."
These examples beg the question: What will we do when the inevitable nuclear meltdown happens in The United States?
25% of our nation's food is grown in California, not to mention Mexico, Guatemala, Beliz, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua in conjunction with radiation fallout from (this time) Japan and (next time, any other country), it gave me serious pause. How many reactors are set up along these industrial food hubs?
In fact, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Site is located on a fault line in San Luis Obispo County, just west of South San Joaquin Valley, our nation's top industrial food region. There's very little we can do about a system that depends on manufactured energy sources outside of manpower, but one major thing we can do is urge our senators to stop supporting nuclear power and elect representatives that share your ideals.
The next best thing we can do may take longer, but will be more powerful in the end, if we even make it that far: We absolutely must stop using outside energy as much as possible. Obviously it can't be completely eliminated, but what it does mean is if we can use our own energy first, that is what we should use.
That means that sometimes we don't get what we want when we want it; sometimes we'll have to wait. Sometimes we'll have to quit our jobs because they are too far a commute. Sometimes we have to give extra money to activists so that they can hound our senators for us. Sometimes we have to grow our own food. Sometimes we have to keep our heat at below 60º in the winter; in the Summer, sometimes we'll have to sweat. But all times we need to be conscious of our part in this play and do our best to reverse it by using our energy sources wisely enough to remove dangerous methods like coal, oil and especially nuclear.
Photo credit: Anosmia on Flickr Image of Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania which had a nuclear meltdown in 1979.