This column was published in the West Quebec Post, January 23, 2014.
"George," I said to Himself, who was careening around the corner as we made our way to somewhere important, "George, I am now an anti-nuke activist."
"That's nice dear," said Himself. He was blistering the air with impatience at a red light now while inside I was steaming the windows with my hot flashes. I was thinking at least we had some protection against the bitter cold day besides the feeble efforts of our old car as it swept down the wintry streets.
"You know," I said, "I could have an entire tea service, cream, sugar, cups and saucers on the dashboard of this car and when I came to a halt they'd all be still there."
"And your point is?" he asked.
"Are we are going to have to start wearing whiplash collars for when you stop at red lights from now on? But that is not the point. The point is Fukushima. Nuclear power is not safe. It has never been safe and needs to be eradicated from this planet in short order."
"This is not Cape Breton. Nobody drives the speed limit here and nobody stops his or her car to let you walk across the street. And good luck with getting rid of nuclear power plants. How would I watch TV? They are a necessary evil."
"No. They are not. It just means that this world needs to learn to live within their means in terms of what Mother Nature can allow. Mother Nature used to be a renewable energy source, now it does things like extinction. Where are the sardines? Where are the seastars? What about the oysters off Australia?"
"Extinctions have always happened in the history of the planet. That's not new. Are you going to start dressing in black and running about handing out pamphlets and camping out at nuclear plants?"
"I wouldn't camp out at a nuclear plant if you paid me. They release tritium. The point is, I'm an anti-nuke activist and anybody after Fukushima who isn't is not just a traitor to their fellow human beings but a fool to boot. They have no method of disposing of the waste products that is even remotely okay. And they have no idea what is going to happen with the 3, count 'em 3, cores going into meltdown because they didn't anticipate this! What kind of an industry does this? What kind of industry would do something like this without anticipating worst case scenarios?! Okay… all kinds of industries do that. Pharmaceutical companies, e.g. But they needn't think that we are all so profoundly stupid as to believe the nonsense they put out there to serve their financial ends."
"Follow the money?"
"Exactly. Some estimates are saying the Pacific Ocean has six years left. I don't know whether to believe them or not, but from my research, it's not looking good out there."
"They will never get rid of nuclear power."
"That's because nuclear power plants are actually nuclear/military complexes that are required so human beings can wage war as they always have. If we did not have nuclear power we wouldn't have nuclear weapons. One day somebody is going to wake up with the grand idea that we shouldn't wage war."
"Didn't they do that in the 60s?"
"You know, the 60s didn't count. They slept in, grew their hair long, smoked dope and made love all day. They didn't have to get up in this world and go to work sometimes two jobs to put food on the table and pay the taxes. They were a privileged generation full of idealism where mommy and daddy footed the bills. There were jobs around every corner. Dreamers who eventually would become everything they railed against. ‘Tis always the way."
“But there was some good music.”
“Dust in the wind. All we are is dust in the wind. Buckyballs in the wind.”
“Buckyballs are the result of salt water mixing with nuclear isotopes and becoming windborne dust-sized balls. They are deadly. But that is beside the point. David Suzuki has taken back his earlier unscripted statements on Fukushima. Why would he do this?”
“Follow the money?”
“Either that or there is nothing they can do and so we’re not allowed to know because it would cause mass panic… Much like your driving. Suzuki actually didn’t take his statement back. He actually said ‘he regrets having said it.’ He doesn’t cite any research to back up his turnabout. That’s likely because those peer-reviewed studies do not exist. Here is the point: we are being told what to think instead of being shown and that is one step short of criminal behavior when children are involved. If they put up the monitoring sites they took down and gave us real-time data, if they tested seafood in large quantities on a regular basis, if they checked for at least more than cesium of all 400 or so isotopes that were released, I’d be happy. Because they are not and have not, I’m now an anti-nuke activist and it is up to our governments to change my mind. And Cesium by the way, comes with Uranium, Plutonium and Strontium. They aren’t testing for those.”
“Yes dear. You realize they aren’t going to listen to you.”
“Yes. I know. I’m a small fish in a small pond. And probably radioactive too. A two-headed baby whale washed up ashore in California. What are the odds of that happening at just this time?”
“One to two? Twice as much as one?”
“Don’t annoy me dearest.”
“Don’t annoy me dearest.”