Five days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami off the northeastern coast of Japan, the country and its citizens are still reeling from those natural disasters while alarm continues to rise over a looming man-made nuclear disaster.
Japan is a country lauded for its emergency preparedness, yet although the Japanese government and people are responding as quickly as possible in an extremely difficult situation (compare the U.S. response to the comparatively smaller disaster of Hurricane Katrina), there are still countless people without access to food, clean water, and shelter. The death toll continues to rise, with more than 15,000 people unaccounted for.
All of us in the industrialized world should sit up and take note of the Japanese crisis. One lesson we should take to heart is that there’s no avoiding nature. People who live in the developing world, who are generally less cushioned from the day-to-day impacts of nature than those of us with air-conditioned houses and cars and well-stocked refrigerators, already know that. Those of us in the industrialized part of the world, who burn a disproportionate amount of the world’s fossil fuels, need to absorb this lesson before we have pulled the rest of the world with us into climate chaos.
Once we hit the climate tipping point, the cumulative effects of global climate instability will be unstoppable, like Friday’s tsunami wave that took out everything in its path. Scientists have been warning us for decades about the effects of our continued warming of the earth’s atmosphere by unrestrained burning of fossil fuels. Why wouldn’t we all be working together now, while we still have time, to stop the climate change “earthquake” from happening?
From Al Jazeera, a summary of how a nuclear meltdown could happen at the Fukushima power plant:
For comprehensive information on how to reach out to the Japanese people, to go CBC’s Japan Relief page.
Peter Sinclair over at Climate Crock of the Week has been providing excellent and frequent updates on the Japanese nuclear situation: ClimateCrocks.com