March 11, 2011 has gone down into recorded history as the worst
natural AND man-made disasters Japan has so far experienced.
"Venerable" scientists had never deemed a "9" magnitude on the
earthquake rating scale was possible--why? For the inexplicably
irrational, utterly untenable reason that one so massive had never
been previously recorded. (--What??) The Tohoku Earthquake
inevitably fueled the tsunami, barreling swiftly toward the east
coast of Honshu...
So some 20,000 souls were killed outright; these are the natural
disasters creating catastrophes with longer-lasting effects, the
man-made nuclear meltdown and irradiated countryside,
forcing mass evacuations and permanent population dislocations.
Vast areas have become permanently uninhabitable; Tepco,
the utility responsible for their nuclear industrial park,
Fukushima-Daiichi, admitted, finally, it would take about
FORTY YEARS to cleanup the massive meltdowns. That
equates to two twenty-year standard operating required
licenses for such said electrical plants.
My thanks go to free TV NHK, available across the USA and
here in Chicagoland. We can keep up with the Japanese
perspective because of them. A few days ago NHK
broadcast programs about the survivors, what they must
do to keep body, soul and family together, having lost
most possessions, homes and employment. The Japanese,
I have observed time and again, are indeed a plucky bunch,
have to be, as all island people have to deal with hurricanes,
floods, the occasional earthquake, etc. Inspiring individuals,
rising above such harrowing, narrow strictures, were showcased,
as well as frequent sharing, cooperating, commiserating with
Japanese children drew pictures which went viral, an
invigorating, innocent artistry of hope, an ennobling
feature of survivor grit. Congratulations to them,
and to the people from many other nations who
have gone to the stricken areas in Japan to help
in any way they can. All of them made/make me cry.
If any reader is interested in more related information,
the BBC and CNN, televised and online, are a
good source of information too. Please, let us not
forget the good people of Japan who did not
deserve such an overwhelming, off-putting fate.
It's been five years, an anguished anniversary of
multi-layered catastrophe: the earthquake(s), the
tsunami's meters-high floods, the disabled nuclear
electrical plants, their meltdowns causing harmful
radiation to escape the industrial park area, dispersing
widely enough to evacuate towns nearby. There
is an important cautionary tale here, with warnings
and prescriptions for the future:
Phase out nuclear power plants, as Germany is doing; do
not keep issuing more 20 year nuclear plant license extensions;
turn to renewables, solar, wind, geothermal, and other
naturally-engendering energy sources. Stop building so
close to the oceans and seas, as tempting as that has been.
Less anguish, more survival sensibility for families' futures,
all of Earth's, as well.