Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day

April 22 - "Earth Day"

Just as a crew must always be taking care of their ship, we all should be taking care of the Earth everyday.

When you see or hear the marketing label "eco friendly" you should think, "slightly less eco unfriendly", instead.

Happy Earth Day


Baydog said...

Slightly less unhappy earth day!

Pandabonium said...

touché :^)

Zen said...

Reposted to Facebook!

Pandabonium said...

Zen - thanks. glad you like it.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Panda, should Naoto Kan Should Resign?

Pandabonium said...

Doc - Thanks for asking and for that link.

My short answer: no, he shouldn't. I'll tell you why later, when I have more time to go over that (very misleading) article point by point and highlight its flaws.

One point for now: if Kan, who wants to completely re-examine Japan's reliance on nuclear power, steps down, political rule goes back to the LDP, under whose rule Japan developed nuclear energy. That would be a big step backward.

More later.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

I agree with your answer, Panda. IMO, everybody wants to be as green as possible. At the same time, every nation needs energy, anyway they can get it: petroleum, coal, nuclear. Energy is in such demand, we are all willing to take on great industrial risks in order to harvest it. We must learn as much as possible from this accident in order to improve safety measures. In order for that to happen, there must be maximum transparency. No body should be fired because an accident happened to happen on their watch. But if government officials attempted to limit transparency and cover things up, then that's another situation. In that event, heads should roll!

Pandabonium said...

Doc - I mostly agree, but have a slightly different take. That is, we live on a finite planet. Therefore, infinite growth of the use of its resources is not possible. I think we should, and will be forced by nature, to learn to get along with what renewable energy is available to us. Cheap fossil fuels have lured us down a path of over consumption. That era is going to end. I'm not in favor of nuclear power since it depends a lot on non-renewables to exist. And even if it does not kill as many people (by far) compared to coal or oil or natural gas, it is not that great at reducing global warming, and when an accident happens it is extremely difficult and expensive to contain and clean up the mess.

But as for Naoto Kan and the article you linked, I think making Kan the bad guy is misdirected.

The article is supposedly based on a quotation by Kan, which the author then fails to share with us. There is no policy in Japan to trick people into eating unsafe food, nor did Kan ever suggest such a thing. What he did ask was for people in Japan and in other countries to be reasonable in assessing the safety of Japanese products. This was in response to some countries using the accident as a excuse to gain a trade advantage with Japan.

The word "sacrifice" is taken totally out of context as if Kan suggested people become poisoned to save Japan. Rubbish. Kan used that word in regard to working toward overcoming the entire catastrophe of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. Specifically he used it to defend the idea of a reconstruction tax, saying that all Japanese residents should share the cost burden.

The use of the word "plutonium" was a trow-away line designed to incite fear. It is not even involved in this issue. (The level of plutonium isotopes found at the plant are consistent with the levels found throughout Japan - pre-accident). The contaminated spinach had Cesium and Iodine isotopes on it, not plutonium. The contamination could in fact be washed off, but Japan has very strict safety regulations. Likewise,the water scare - most people do not know, but regulations in Japan are far more strict that other places. For example, London allows 3.5 times the level of radiation in tap water than does Japan. Italian researchers who rushed to Tokyo to measure the water discovered to their surprise that it was far lower than what is normally found in Rome water. Radiation levels in Moscow are three times what they are in Tokyo, and so on.

to be continued next comment...

Pandabonium said...

Doc - part II

Then the author launches into a discussion about LNT and claims it is accepted by scientists as the standard. Well yes and no. It has been the basis of many regulations, but many scientists, as the author later admits, take issue with it.

In his book, "Has Radiation Protection Become a Health Hazard?" Gunnar Walinder, a Swedish radiobiologist, states unequivocally: “The linear, no-threshold hypothesis is one of the greatest scientific scandals of modern times.” Leonard Sagan observes that the LNT model is based on “politics and social concerns," not science. Nobel Laureate Rosalyn Yalow writes that, “the literature and media overestimate radiation damage even if the overall effect does not differ from zero.”

Sohei Kondo at Osaka, Japan’s Kinki University has conducted research into atomic bomb survivors which also casts doubt on LNT.

Dr. Robert Peter Gale, who visited the staging area for workers near the Fukushima plant last month and with whom I had a brief email exchange in which he confirmed my own conclusions, also finds LNT absurd. Dr Gale is Visiting Professor of Haematology at the Imperial College at Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK. He led the medical response team that went to Chernobyl. Not to say because of who he is, he is right, but he certainly deserves our ear.

To sum up, the article focuses on a non-existent policy (selling dangerous products), a suggestion which Kan never made (same), an element not part of the situation (plutonium) and using a "yardstick" that is not established fact (LNT) and is instead questionable, in order to attack the nuclear industry.

By using these tactics he aims at building consensus against nuclear power, but ends up only smearing and harming Japan and the Japanese people.

Ironically, I too wish to reduce our dependence on nuclear energy - especially in this earthquake and tsunami prone country. But do so by reducing our dependence on energy in general and making renewable sources our only sources.

Well, Doc, I'm sure that's more than you needed to hear from me, as you and I aren't so far apart in our thinking, but I felt that since the link may take readers to that editorial, I had to answer it.

Thanks again for your comments and support.

Sweet sailing!

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Good response, Panda! As sailors, we agree on renewables. The wind, especially, is free!

bonnie said...

Reminds me of little blurb I recently noticed on the Poland Springs water bottles pointing out that the bottle cap is now smaller, for less waste.

I'm going to keep drinking tap water from things I don't throw away.

Pandabonium said...

Bonnie - good on you. an aluminum or stainless steel bottle is the way to go both for stopping the waste flow and your health by keeping nasty things out of your beverage (like the DEHP that can leach from PET bottles if used repeatedly, or the BPA from polycarbonate ones).