Monthly Archives: August 2011

David Suzuki – the DVD

If you haven’t heard of David Suzuki, you have now.

A DVD about this Japanese-Canadian environmentalist, David Suzuki, has been just released.

The number of Hiroshima A-bombs …

… 168.

That is how much Cesium has been released from the Fukushima nuclear accident. But that is still only one-sixth of the Chernobyl accident.

On Heidemarie Schwermer and Tiger Woods – “Money distracts us from what’s important.”

“Money distracts us from what’s important.” Heidemarie Schwermer

According to this article she has been living without money for 15 years, living purely on bartering or by trading work for the things she needs. I have also said this – that money causes many of our problems – for sometime now, that a society driven by money doesn’t work.

So is it possible to live with money and still remember what is important?

I think it is but very difficult. It takes training, much like Tiger Woods and how he was trained by his father to concentrate with a lot of background noise (crowd noise) during golf. Speaking of Tiger Woods I feel sorry for him because not only are his distractions external but they are now internal as well. I wish him luck to find peace within himself and with-out with those whom he had hurt. People make mistakes. So forgiveness is important. And on his part sincerity of repentence is his work.

In some ways he was distracted by money and the trappings that came with it. He had forgetten the things which are important. Most of us are more fortunate to have less money and fame. At least I feel it is fortuitous to be neither too rich nor too poor. Call it the Middle Way. Call it the Goldilocks Zone. Whatever the name this idea is not new, it has only been ignored or belittled.

Good news … animals flee faster than we think

It is good to hear that animals know when to run and that when they do run they do it fast.

The shifts of habitat due to climate change has been worrying for the biodiversity of the planet. So this study is a welcome finding. But should we continue to live the way we have because of this? For me we should learn to live less damaging lifestyles even though it is in our “nature” to live the way we do. We have the ability to do so much harm but also it is this ability which could allow us to so much good.

The choice is ours.

The answer to life and everything is … 8.7 million

That is how many species there are on the planet.

At least this is the best estimate we have, plus or minus one million.

Of these only 1.2 million have been described, most of which are of land lifeforms. This equates to 14% of land life and 9% of ocean life that we have a name for.

We really know very little about ourselves and our planet.

How feasible is green energy?

According to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry the country’s energy from renewable sources accounted for only 1 percent of the total energy gneration in 2009. And that number has improved in much 2011 though efforts, verbally at least, have increased due to the Fukushima Incident.

Why is this so? Well, it takes area of 65 square kilometers of solar panels to generate the same amount power of one nuclear reactor. Now that is not efficient, is it? The same problem goes for wind power generation. And we have yet to talk about the cost here.

No, the aim for 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020 in Japan just seems near impossible though an accident of the size we had in Fukushima may well change that. One has to ask why must we wait for such things to happen before we act.

First Peace Declaration since the Fukushima Nuclear Accident

HIROSHIMA, 6th August  2011. From Kyodo News

The following is the full text of the Peace Declaration issued Saturday by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui at a memorial ceremony to mark the 66th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Sixty-six years ago, despite the war, the people of Hiroshima were leading fairly normal lives. Until that fateful moment, many families were enjoying life together right here in what is now Peace Memorial Park and was then one of the city’s most prosperous districts. A man who was 13 at the time shares this: ”Aug. 5 was a Sunday, and for me, a second-year student in middle school, the first full day off in a very long time. I asked a good friend from school to come with me, and we went on down to the river. Forgetting all about the time, we stayed until twilight, swimming and playing on the sandy riverbed. That hot midsummer’s day was the last time I ever saw him.”

The next morning, Aug. 6 at 8:15, a single atomic bomb ripped those normal lives out by the roots. This description is from a woman who was sixteen at the time: ”My 40-kilogram body was blown 7 meters by the blast, and I was knocked out. When I came to, it was pitch black and utterly silent. In that soundless world, I thought I was the only one left. I was naked except for some rags around my hips. The skin on my left arm had peeled off in 5-centimeter strips that were all curled up. My right arm was sort of whitish. Putting my hands to my face, I found my right cheek quite rough while my left cheek was all slimy.”

Their community and lives ravaged by an atomic bomb, the survivors were stunned and injured, and yet, they did their best to help each other: ”Suddenly, I heard lots of voices crying and screaming, ‘Help!’ ‘Mommy, help!’ Turning to a voice nearby I said, ‘I’ll help you.’ I tried to move in that direction but my body was so heavy. I did manage to move enough to save one young child, but with no skin on my hands, I was unable to help any more…’I’m really sorry’…”

Such scenes were unfolding not just here where this park is but all over Hiroshima. Wanting to help but unable to do so — many also still live with the guilt of being their family’s sole survivor.

Based on their own experiences and carrying in their hearts the voices and feelings of those sacrificed to the bomb, the hibakusha called for a world without nuclear weapons as they struggled day by day to survive. In time, along with other Hiroshima residents, and with generous assistance from Japan and around the world, they managed to bring their city back to life.

Their average age is now over 77. Calling forth what remains of the strength that revived their city, they continue to pursue the lasting peace of a world free from nuclear weapons. Can we let it go at this? Absolutely not. The time has come for the rest of us to learn from all the hibakusha what they experienced and their desire for peace. Then, we must communicate what we learn to future generations and the rest of the world.

Through this Peace Declaration, I would like to communicate the hibakusha experience and desire for peace to each and every person on this planet. Hiroshima will pour everything we have into working, along with Nagasaki, to expand Mayors for Peace such that all cities, those places around the world where people gather, will strive together to eliminate nuclear weapons by 2020. Moreover, we want all countries, especially the nuclear-armed states, including the United States of America, which continues its subcritical nuclear testing and related experiments, to pursue enthusiastically a process that will abolish nuclear weapons. To that end, we plan to host an international conference that will bring the world’s policymakers to Hiroshima to discuss the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11 this year was so destructive it revived images of Hiroshima 66 years ago and still pains our hearts. Here in Hiroshima we sincerely pray for the souls of all who perished and strongly support the survivors, wishing them the quickest possible recovery.

The accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and the ongoing threat of radiation have generated tremendous anxiety among those in the affected areas and many others. The trust the Japanese people once had in nuclear power has been shattered. From the common admonition that ”nuclear energy and humankind cannot coexist,” some seek to abandon nuclear power altogether. Others advocate extremely strict control of nuclear power and increased utilization of renewable energy.

The Japanese government should humbly accept this reality, quickly review our energy policies, and institute concrete countermeasures to regain the understanding and trust of the people. In addition, with our hibakusha aging, we demand that the Japanese government promptly expand its ”black rain areas” and offer more comprehensive and caring assistance measures to all hibakusha regardless of their countries of residence.

Offering out heartfelt condolences to the souls of the A-bomb victims, reaffirming our conviction that ”the atomic bombing must never be repeated” and ”no one else should ever have to suffer like this,” we hereby pledge to do everything in our power to abolish nuclear weapons and build lasting world peace.