Earth-day 2011.

                               Earth-day 2011.

Every year on earth day, I usually take part in rallies and write several posts about the issue and the need for change.
However, this year, I am somewhat physically and mentally drained, even tiered.
After the March 11 disaster that struck us here in Japan and the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant, I have not much hope or energy left for another earth-day. In stead the melody of the Doors iconic song “This is the end my friend” is going through my head repeatedly.
I tried to keep my mind sane and clear by planting some tomato, eggplants and many other veggies. Still, It did not help.

I was in my early twenties when Tschernobyl happened and lived right in the centre of Europe then. We went through the milk ban due to radioactive contamination, followed by the mushroom ban and so forth Then we were witnessing children being diagnosed with thyroid cancer this less then a year after the accident. However, in the same year that the Tschernobyl nuclear disaster happened, another followed On the 1st of November 1986 an explosion occurred in the Sandos Chemical factory in Switzerland, which ended up killing nearly all life in one of the world largest rivers, namely the Rhine, which flows from Switzerland through Germany, France and the Netherlands where its waters enter the Northern Sea. The Sandos accident destroyed over four decades of hard work with some great expenses to clean up the Rhine from pollution and the devastation left behind after WWII. Those two accidents strengthened my dedication to protect the environment and all life on earth. The polluters may be responsible to clean up their pollution and to compensate the victims as well. At least in theory they should be hold accountable. Nevertheless, they rarely do pay up and even less end up being hold accountable. Moreover, when they do pay, it is merely a minuscule fraction of the real damage caused to the environment and society. Part of the blame does lay with the consumers and citizen them self that support those industries since they do benefit from them by means of jobs, cheep energy and cheep consumer goods. Until some thing goes terribly wrong such as at the Fukushima Nuclear power plant here in Japan or the BP oil spill in the Golf of Mexico.

Will we ever learn? I am afraid not, most people have a rather short memory and are easily bribed and this with surprisingly very little.
Why bother any longer then? Humanity does not even deserve to prevail especially not when we look at how we behave in Libya or even the U.S.!
However, there is such a thing as care, empathy, love, compassion and selflessness that some of us human still posses for our children, families, friends, neighbours. And some few even care for plants and insects and this planet, that is why we need to stick around for a little longer to help life on earth to prevail for it is well worth it.

In the so-called dark ages, the environment was mostly revered and respected, even though life was rather harsh for most, then again, living with radioactive poisoning can not be any better then the dark ages. In 1461 for instance, some businessmen that committed fraud where bricked alive into a wall in East Prussia, wile in the thirteen's century a couple of merchants that polluted the local river in Southern Germany where stoned to death and their families where disowned and forced into exile. Nowadays we are civilised, letting those that commit fraud receive a bonus and those that pollute our waters, our air, our soils and our sea with crude oil, radioactive substances or even toxic chemicals, receive public money to clean up their mess. We let them increase their profits and wealth; still not holding them accountable for leaving countless people and wild live to endure a slow and painful death.
It leaves us to wonder whether we have evolved into civilised and intelligent beings or merely ended up being brain washed in believing so and become uneducated with all the education we received or should we say indoctrination we underwent, leaving us to become irresponsible, maybe even criminal and insane.
Would we be able to bring a person that lived some two thousand years ago into our polluted and mad world, that person would call us mad and uncivilised, even careless. He would want to go back to his time in a split of a second.
We need to change course as a society for the sake of our descendants and their own ability to be able and allowed to live on this planet. 



By Uwe Paschen.

It is spring now, Sakura season, wherever you go you will see cherry trees in full bloom. The Sakura tree is an important symbol here in Japan; it is not only one of the first trees to come to live in spring. Moreover, it is also one of the most beautiful and its flowers are some of the most fragile as well.
It has been symbolising life, its beauty and its fragility and maybe even our brief time here on earth.
Japan has certainly known its fair share of disasters over the course of its 1500-years of history as a nation.

However, this latest triple disaster may very well top them all. Not only have we been hit with the strongest earthquake in recorded seismological Japanese history, we also where struck by one of the mightiest Tsunamis this country as ever seen and as if all this was still not enough we ended up with what may become the world worth nuclear disaster so far as well.
I live about 160 Km South from that nuclear plant where the prefectures of Ibaraki and Chiba share a boarder. We are less then 30 Km from the coast of what once was a beautiful rural area with much history an some of the most beautiful shrines, rice fields, sweet potato fields and vegetable fields as well as dairy animals and several once striving fishery villages.
We where fortunate though, since the tsunami waves where only four to six metre high along our coast line. Where as further north those waves reached in one village up to 23 metres in hight. In addition, in many other areas along the coast in the prefectures of Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Aomori, those waves reached on average over ten metres in hight, taking with them every thing, even steel reinforced buildings, which surprised most engineers here.
Our farmhouse is still standing. However, it is no longer structurally sound and has to be torn down as so many buildings will have to be in our area due to the damage that these last earthquakes have caused to them.

The demolition of our house has been estimated at one million Yen or more ($ 13,000.00). Building a new house will cost at least six million Yen ($78,000.00). Our house was not insured, since earthquake insurance insure only brand new houses and this for a premium that is not affordable anyhow.
Even if we had insurance it would take at least a year before the old building could be torn down due to the massive devastation that was caused through out Northern Japan and that left many homeless and took the lives of over 28000 people and maybe even more.
Even though those expenses may very well bankrupt us and force us to give up, since property values for farm land and houses as well as apartments went down to next to zero due to these disasters and the radioactivity that we received on top of it all, we are still fortunate. Many are far worth off, lost far more in machinery and buildings, and especially loved ones.
It is hard to focus even work and yet I keep my self busy at all times, cleaning up our mess and trying to help others far worth off as much as I can.
Whenever I stop to think about it all, I wonder why I am still alive and survived so many disasters through out my life wile so many good people have died.
I am some what furious at all the talk by stock holders and politicians as well as the nuclear industry, proclaiming that nuclear energy is still safe, and that radiation is some what still okay, when in fact it is not. None of those executives, stockholders or politician dare to put a foot into the contaminated area or volunteer their golf time with friends to help the countless refugees. Many people will end up dying due to this radiation and many more will get sick from it, all just so some few can make a profit at the expense of the masses and those masses end up paying for these accident on top of it. 
They proclaim that we need nuclear energy to fight CO2, which is nonsense, since the CO2 generated to extract the uranium ship it, refine it and to build those nuclear power plants does by far exceed any other forms of energy production (Other then Coal and Oil of course) especially from renewable energies sources. The production of solar panels and wind mils and so forth, does generate CO2 as well but nothing compared to the construction of a Nuclear power plant, especially not if we compare those to their real operation life and their KiloWatt produced. Those renewable energies do also come with out a death threat attached to them since they just break down or stop working after a major earthquake or tsunami, they do not end up becoming a death trap them self such as nuclear power or other fossil fuel tend to do, See the Golf of Mexico’s oil disaster. It is grand time we start to wake up and face facts.
We could save a lot of energy by simply using energy efficient machines and appliances as well as by stoping to waste so much. The proof lays in Japans current disaster, people voluntarily save energy in order to avoid black outs and it works with out impacting too much on the comfort level of the city dwellers. We do not need all the streetlights to be on, nor all the billboards or five lights on in every room even though there is not one person around. We can do well with less heat in the winter since most places are way to hot anyhow and we can also do with much less air-conditioning in the summer, after all, most of us freeze when ever we enter an air-conditioned building in the summer. We can do with out nuclear power there for. It is simply not worth the risks it generates. The same would apply to all other fossil fuels.

The government keeps on promising that it will compensate the losses encountered due to this nuclear accident, wile this may sound noble at first glace, it is merely politics, permitting crowd control. It will be financially impossible for any government to compensated the magnitude of those loses in business and lives. Nor should the government have to do so, since it is the tax payer that will end up paying for all this wile the industry that caused it will get off with a bonus, making some few much richer in the process wile the masses lose their basics to survive.
Every year the Sakura trees give us much joy in the spring with their beauty. However, this year they remind us of the fragility of our lives as humans and that of our environment more so then ever before.