'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.' And to know everything is impossible. How to find the truth, the bare objective facts gets harder every second in almost every area as new stats or discoveries are published.
Especially surrounding the secretive world of the
Fukushima clean up and Japan's path toward alternative renewable energy
sources. There is a massive amount of confusing data and political
discrepancy about what is being planned longterm for energy
infrastructure. There is no smart-grid reference, no clearly defined
govt endorsed policy or map forward and we are left with all the big
name industrial companies proposing agendas with diff priorities and
timelines. It is so confusing.
Recently I learned that one of the
leaders in our town for the promotion of wind energy was receiving
threatening phone calls from citizens directly opposed to the expansion
of the wind turbine program. It was just one of many incidents that have
shown that the seeming solidarity of the anti nuke force has an equally
solid and active opposition party.
One of the main objections
to the expansion of WWS energy sources from laypeople is the initial
cost and the necessary increase in electric bills needed short term in
order to pay for the shift to an alternative energy network. Materials
needed like neodymium for turbine gearboxes and indium for solar cells;
lithium for ion batteries and fuel cell platinum. These are all metals
or compounds that given funding can eventually be replaced with man made
alternatives but as with almost every scientific innovation ever begun
involve initial financial investment.
Surely the world and Japan
needs to think long term not short term. Of course short term management
and considerations are important too- dealing with the food labeling
and testing of radioactivity for example, but short term projects are
band aids not cures or promises that the same will not happen again.
3.11 seismic activity along fault-lines under Japan, and in fact the
whole world has increased dramatically. It is entirely possible that
another major quake could hit Japan and another nuclear meltdown happen.
The cost of cleaning up Fukushima as well as the appalling
health risks of any nuclear disaster has to be included in the package
of 'cheaper' energy.
If the main public opposition to wind and
solar power in Japan continues to be the initial expense we need to find
a way to explain in simple terms to people the disparity of logic
within the concepts of short term and long term gains.
continue to rely on nuclear energy in a land rocked by quakes and tidal
waves (all nuclear plants in Japan are coastal) we will need - middle
term- new plants, repair and huge safety reforms as well as long term
the hidden costs of pollution, contamination of soil water and food
supply, climate interference and more. Are the short term economic
benefits really worth all this long term ecological and therefore
ultimately economical sabotage? And if not, do we really care about our
future as a human race?
The shift to dependency on wind and solar
power is absolutely do-able. The initial expense and inconvenience is a
small and reasonable price to pay. We should be embracing the idea with
excitement and hope , not fear and suspicion. Japan lies under one of
the highest wind density zones in the world. Wind can be harnessed at
both ends of the inland sea by tidal flow turbines, generating
electricity in both directions. Wind power produces zero greenhouse
gases and pollutants; in terms of environmental impact, long term and
middle term cost efficiency it is the top energy source available to us
It is a crying shame that a commitment to change is so
difficult to orchestrate and co- ordinate; and that we cannot widen our
vision from macro to panorama.