Missing the forest and the trees

by John Duffy

Humans are creatures of myth. We invent stories to help us understand our surroundings, but we then become slaves to those stories, and to the false truths within. The real world, is the physical world; the sun, the soil, the water, the trees, the microscopic fungus, the mud wasps, the cucumber vines… However, the world most people are concerned with, is the man made world of myth we have blanketed over the real world, thus we spend most of our time focused on nations, jobs, mortgages, religions, TV show plot lines, celebrity activity, political parties, and a whole host of other noise that is one hundred percent imaginary. Just because more than one person imagines something, that doesn’t make it real.

Personally, I have lost all but the most trivial concern for the realm of myth, the game within a game, that most people spend most of their time worried about. When people argue about whether or not a particular law or government action is Constitutional, they might as well be asking themselves if every isotope of Kryptonite affects Superman the same way. The only reason the former question has any bearing on your life, is because other humans who themselves are insane with devotion to the imaginary, to the shared hallucination of human ceremony, will come and act upon you physically if you do not bow down and worship alongside them — that is, obey the rules of the game.

We don’t, in our daily lives, concern ourselves with the laws of Mayan or Babylonian society. We do not worry about Egyptian or Norse Gods striking us down. Those human games have long since ended and evolved, so we don’t bother ourselves to play them. Of course, it is just as absurd to concern ourselves with the contemporary imaginings — possibly more so once we acknowledge the folly of adhering to the hallucinations of the past — yet people persist in doing so, for fear of falling out of line with all other humans who are hopelessly dedicated to what amounts to no more than a giant game of tag.

Remember being a child, when some other kid would run up and tag you and scream, “You’re it!” You had no idea kids nearby were playing tag, and you were on your way home from school, so you would innocently reply, “I’m not playing.” The game of tag only existed in the minds of the participants, and you were not objectively “it.” “It” wasn’t anything really, just a designation accepted by the handful of other children in the area. The same applies to being “American,” or “Republican” or “Christian,” or an “Illegal Alien.” To quote comedian Doug Stanhope, “You’re not an American, you’re a guy, a person, an individual or whatever, that’s it …. I’m no more of an American than I am an Aries or an uncle, it’s something you called me and I was, was, here.”

What we seem to have become as a species (aside from converters of living material into landfill fodder) is fleshy vessels enacting ideological war. We have allowed the names on the map to become more real to us than the territory. We have enthusiastically taken to believing that the names we have given things are more real than the things themselves. Thus “muslims” fight “jews” and “conservatives” hate “liberals” and people slave away to maintain their “credit score.” It’s all bullshit. It’s all made up bullshit that immature human minds devoid of any semblance of wisdom take up like a banner, and put the force of their limbs behind. Would you kill to win a game of tag?

Of course, the stories and myths are utilized by the powerful to move real world factors. The specter of “American patriotism” is used to access real world things like oil. It’s likely impossible for an Iraqi to explain to an American soldier that all of the things he fights for exist only in his mind. When you’re staring down the barrel of a gun, it’s hard to not pick one up yourself and defend your life. Of course, via the magic of language you will then be converted from a person into a “terrorist,” an “insurgent” or some other mythical chimera that “Americans” can feel good about murdering. We hate when a person dies, especially an “innocent” person, but we celebrate and high five when a “terrorist” has their brain smeared all over the plaster wall behind his head. And hey, if we have to wipe out a few villages and cities to eliminate pockets of “terrorists,” that’s OK too.

Often, when I share this perspective with people, their immediate response is to point out that violence is a part of life on this planet, that nature itself is savage, and that I am romanticizing the natural world. They want me to fear elements of the real world, and take comfort in the supposed grace of our human manifestations.

Yes, nature can be violent, but it can be equally as giving. What is so beautiful, is that ultimately, nature is completely and utterly fair. Natural laws are true laws, as in they cannot be broken — not through influence, not through corruption, not by any of the means used to subvert human laws. I can’t buy off gravity, or convince it to not have as great a pull on me due to my family name.

All human laws are an attempt to subvert nature, primarily, to skirt death. But our laws are farcical, imaginary, and have no force behind them but other men. (Not to mention, a police officer’s club has behind it all of the biases burned into the mind of the man behind the badge since birth.) Natural laws are divine. If you trip you fall down, if you don’t eat you starve, if you contract a virus you grow ill. They apply to all equally. Tough but fair. In the wild, there are no favorites, no loopholes, no Kafka-esque bureaucracies.

I’m not concerned with this world within a world. It’s a twisted circus of the absurd which I cannot be bothered to try and make sense of. It frightens and saddens me that most people are willing to destroy the real world, the living physical world, in order to achieve some goal in the realm of the shared hallucination. Ultimately, what will come to pass will come to pass, and I am but one body, one consciousness roaming this planet. What I am loyal to is the water, the air, and the soil — the fish and the birds and those people around me who I love. The force of my efforts, the strength of my limbs, will be used to fight for those things, those very real things on whom I depend for life and happiness. When people try to stir me up into caring about this candidate or that political movement, all I need to know is, “Does this person love what I love? Do they care more about clean water than economic growth? Do they care more about functioning biomes than job creation?” Chances are, they do not. Chances are, they are slaves to the story line, and they want to put more thrust behind converting the living into the dead. Thus I deem them what they are — Psychotic; infected with the sickness of putting myth before reality, insanely staking the world on a dream.

I realize my size in all of this, as just one man. The best I can do, is just that, the best I can do. I can speak with you, I can urge you to lower your sword and stop serving the myths, the ceremonies, the language that is supposed to describe the objective – not the other way around. When you leave the psychopaths in charge of the asylum long enough, the place will be reduced to ashes, and that is the state of the human world. A purge is coming, and it will be a long overdue immolation of everything we thought that we were. Hopefully what grows afterwards is more humble, less eager to speak and more intent upon listening, gentler, and ready to find it’s place within the world, not hacking away at everything trying to build a throne upon it’s summit.

Until that time, I shall do as Voltaire suggests, and tend to my garden.


John Duffy is an artist and an activist currently residing in Austin, Texas. Having disavowed the culture, he has given up on his previous career choice as a filmmaker in favor of growing food and raising hell.

Comments 142

  • I really enjoyed this essay. Thanks John for writing it and thank you Guy for posting it. I think I’ll share this with my students this week.

  • John:

    You certainly raise a bit of hell here.

    Something else for the beginning of the cruelest month:


    by A.R. Ammons

    Honor a going thing, goldfinch, corporation, tree,
    morality: any working order,
    animate or inanimate: it

    has managed directed balance,
    the incoming and outgoing energies are working right,
    some energy left to the mechanism,

    some ash, enough energy held
    to maintain the order in repair,
    assure further consumption of entropy,

    expending energy to strengthen order:
    honor the persisting reactor,
    the container of change, the moderator: the yellow

    bird flashes black wing-bars
    in the new-leaving wild cherry bushes by the bay,
    startles the hawk with beauty,

    flitting to a branch where
    flash vanishes into stillness,
    hawk addled by the sudden loss of sight:

    honor the chemistries, platelets, hemoglobin kinetics,
    the light-sensitive iris, the enzymic intricacies
    of control,

    the gastric transformations, seed
    dissolved to acrid liquors, synthesized into
    chirp, vitreous humor, knowledge,

    blood compulsion, instinct: honor the
    unique genes,
    molecules that reproduce themselves, divide into

    sets, the nucleic grain transmitted
    in slow change through ages of rising and falling form,
    some cells set aside for the special work, mind

    or perception rising into orders of courtship,
    territorial rights, mind rising
    from the physical chemistries

    to guarantee that genes will be exchanged, male
    and female met, the satisfactions cloaking a deeper
    racial satisfaction:

    heat kept by a feathered skin:
    the living alembic, body heat maintained (bunsen
    burner under the flask)

    so the chemistries can proceed, reaction rates
    interdependent, self-adjusting, with optimum
    efficiency — the vessel firm, the flame

    staying: isolated, contained reactions! the precise and
    necessary worked out of random, reproducible,
    the handiwork redeemed from chance, while the

    goldfinch, unconscious of the billion operations
    that stay its form, flashes, chirping (not a
    great songster) in the bay cherry bushes wild of leaf.

  • John,

    I enjoyed reading your amazing essay. Thank you for sharing it.
    Your perspective rings true, and helped me to see things in a new way.

  • Thank you John for saying so well what I frequently feel and think but cannot articulate to those around me. They can’t see the mass delusion they participate in, and they think their decisions are based on “free will” (most people I know act more like Pavlov’s dogs).

    When you say:
    “Hopefully what grows afterwards is more humble, less eager to speak and more intent upon listening, gentler, and ready to find it’s place within the world, not hacking away at everything trying to build a throne upon it’s summit.”

    I think of these kinds of people:

    Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance


    Mayb you, and the rest of the meek inherit the earth… dog’s speed to you!

  • That really was a rather beautiful essay. Hopefully it describes the perspective of the majority of humanity in a generation or two; most of us today can only strive for it, and with difficulty. Thank you, John, and thanks to Guy for posting it.

  • John,

    As is so often noted here at NBL the problem is people. The subtext, however, is that there are so many people. Further, many of these many people act badly, as you note. For some reason you have failed to make the connection between people and the rest of the natural world. We are products of the earth. Our actions are based on hardwired, earth-evolved systems. If we’re bad it’s because through natural selection we evolved to be that way. We also developed, through the natural selection process, the need to rely on culture; group systems that gave weak, defenseless, but big brained people an advantage. Physical beings evolve slowly. Culture, on the other hand, develops quite rapidly and can be shown to exert tremendous influence upon the actions taken by the individual in a particular situation. Our job is to foster an evolution of mass culture into a new paradigm that helps the natural world rather than attempting to destroy it. As Guy notes, there is probably not enough time for that. As Guy also notes, that may be the best thing for the planet.

    Michael Irving

  • Just when i think that i am an island in a sea of misunderstanding i come across such loveliness as this.

    I guess i cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater after all. How is it that humans can be so beautiful but in large masses so devastating all at the same time? this is a real issue for me as an artist i see both sides of the coin.

    I sometimes wonder what civilisation would be like if the creatives not the sociopathics were in control.


    Forgive me if i am missing something……. i have been chained to the woodfire making maple syrup.


  • Excellent. Thank you John and Guy. We are fortunate to have NBL as a forum for basic truths.

    This is where the slow motion train wreck is starting the week:

    Nymex Crude Future 108.32
    Dated Brent Spot 118.87

  • John, well put….. very well put.

    “All human laws are an attempt to subvert nature, primarily, to skirt death.” I would say the same of human religions. We apparently alone of all the creatures on the earth know we must die. Others are like us programmed to avoid that which causes death, the hawk from the sky, the panther from the tree, the knife in the back. But knowing that despite all that avoidance we cannot in the end avoid it, creates endless angst for us humans. In living in the natural world and watching the cycles of birth life death we can I think find much more acceptance of our mortality.

  • Wasn’t rats that got our chicken eggs, it was a weasel. First we have known here. Our little rat terrier killed it – its pretty small so must be a young one. Not good – they can do a lot of damage in a chicken yard. Always something.

  • Thank you for the terrific essay. All the best –

  • Excellent work…and I agree wholeheartedly!

  • Kathy — a weasel??? I didn’t know we had ’em in the Southeast!

    Something else to worry about…

  • Shoot! Voted down again. That’s pretty much the way it runs with me, 10 to 1 against. Hmmmm? Maybe I need to recharge my empathy gene.

    Michael Irving

  • ‘Hopefully what grows afterwards is more humble, less eager to speak and more intent upon listening, gentler, and ready to find it’s place within the world’

    Excellent article, John. When I read this, it came to my mind that among of the true characteristics of a person in tune with natural processes are the abilities to listen to what is going on around them, to observe all life, and to humbly seek one’s place in the natural harmony around them. It is when we stop listening, stop observing and begin the task of conquest that we and our children lose these skills and this connection over time to the detriment of all creatures.

  • ‘Nymex Crude Future 108.32
    Dated Brent Spot 118.87’


    And no end in sight. The thing about futures in a supply-constrained market is that they are highly sensitive to changes in perceived risk – like the problems in Libya. The MENA states are a boiling cauldron of high risk, and will likely become even more so.

    I am wondering where the price point is that triggers market collapse.

  • Christopher, yep the long tailed weasel’s range covers our area and down on through Mexico and a bit beyond. I have heard of them around here but never had one. This was a young one which means we may have an interesting summer…(:

  • Victor [I am wondering where the price point is that triggers market collapse.]

    Who knows but I bet it won’t take $147 this time around.

  • Kathy

    Have you tried wormwood as borders around your chickens to help control animals getting in?

    Does anyone know if the terms “blood and bone” and “bonemeal” are synonymous?

  • Of course, the chickens might not like it either – OTOH if it means their life, they might get used to it… ;-)

  • Price spikes can burst bubbles, as in 2008. An even more ominous and threatening event is an extended period of high prices for oil – not a spike. In case of such extended price levels, the entire economy comes to a point over time (perhaps 6-8 months?) that these prices can no longer be absorbed into dwindling margins, so the price of all related goods must eventually be significantly increased across the board. We might well be seeing this effect in the autumn, a time in which many companies have indicated that they will have to raise prices.

    2012 should be an interesting year.

  • I’m sure TPTB have learned their lesson and recognise that if the price of oil is allowed to rise too quickly the impact on markets and trade is just too great; it results in extensive losses which negate some of the speculative gains they like to make.

    If the ‘correct’ regime can be installed in Libya -well the part that is energy rich, never mind the sandy bits with no oil underneath- we could see oil pushed down below $100 for a while: the proles have become conditioned to current fuel prices and will think everything is wonderful if fuel prices drop a few percent.

    Don’t forget there are Olympic Games in 2012: it now seems to me the system will be held together until after they are over, whatever the cost. That gives us another 15-18 months breathing space, and another 15-18 months of rampant planet wrecking.

  • Yes, we must have our sports fix before the Collapse!

  • I mention to people, even political activists and environmentalists, that the sports and entertainment industries are equivalent to Roman Games to keep the people otherwise occupied from actually doing something useful, and I get blank stares and even hostility. Do anything but don’t mess with my favourite sport.

  • Victor I tried once to get wormwood going in the garden and it failed. Our chicken yard is 1 acre. I doubt with my bum knee that i could get the whole perimeter wormwooded. I may try a small live trap. Or hope the dog gets more. She is however not jumping so high these days – I’m afraid some arthritis has set in in her back legs.

    The fence is an electric netting fence about 4 feet high. The purpose is not to keep chickens in but predators out, but by and large the chickens like to be with the crowd and stay in. Works great for dogs and foxes. Possums get in – perhaps drop from trees or push under with their nose down. No raccoons yet, one ground hog but seems to have left. No defense against hawks. One made a swoop in about 5 feet from me the other day. The dog ran after it. Her presence has seemed to limit hawk predation. They are vulnerable if they are on the ground eating a full size chicken. Of course they can still swoop for chicks.

    Like my husband’s father said “everything is after something I’ve got” :)

  • Democrats make me want to vomit

  • Michael, touché

  • Kathy,

    Just a normal day here, 30+ wild turkeys around my bird feeders, toms in full display, and right in the middle one lone buff orpington hen controlling a 3 foot diameter empty space. She has all of them, even the toms at least 5 times her size, completely intimidated. All my girls are that way around the turkeys but the buff looks like a little old schoolmarm wielding a ruler. Maybe “buff” actually comes from “buffaloed” rather than the color.


  • kathy
    good luck w/ u’r chickens. we have had nite raids with raccoons, weasels & minks. i now lockem up @ dark, & release after dawn. the coop though is marginal @ keeping out weasels, & minks…11/2 in space is all they need; i poke sm. chick wire is spaces. i use a baby monitor when they are in a predatory period…it also saved some of my industrial biddies in a rabbit cage this past summer from the rat snakes…they were thick this past summer…killed about a dozen; even when the biddies were some size, & were loose in a large area.i could get no hen to take em on & none had become broody [older] so no mama to protect! i eventually put the rooster, & hens in a kennel around the rabbit cage; then @ nite had to bring them indoors in our mud room. what a lot of work.

    robin, kathy
    thanks also for the detailed info on hatching, etc. i try to do things as close to natural as possible but the summer before was cool & wet & all the eggs set on rotted…different rooster. i did run off one rat snake, when a hen left her eggs due to him. i haven killed the snakes until the biddies, last summer & one snake got three in one nite, & the last two ; he had one coiled @ both ends, & my second time out there that nite…same snake…the end. my last 3 older hens are gone; one a cat i believe, 2 others old age/illness, so i will likely let some set this summer. thanks again for the info!

  • John,
    “Yes, nature can be violent, but it can be equally as giving. What is so beautiful, is that ultimately, nature is completely and utterly fair. Natural laws are true laws, as in they cannot be broken — not through influence, not through corruption, not by any of the means used to subvert human laws. I can’t buy off gravity, or convince it to not have as great a pull on me due to my family name.”

    This reminds me of a quote I read somewhere that everything in the world tends toward eqiuilibrium. As I see it, the laws of nature are founded on equilibrium. We are a part of nature; and when we defy the laws of equilibrium/nature, we must be prepared for things to seek that balance that we have upset, however slowly it takes.

    You’re right that politics and such are of no significance. I didn’t always know this and would participate in political discussions and feel smart that I was on the correct side of things. I know now this isn’t true or real. In a way, it’s liberating not to have to concern myself with such insignificant trivia and to have moved on to concern myself more and more with what is real. The difficulty is extracting oneself from the game when you’ve spent your whole life as a player.

    Thank you for your essay.

  • Michael, that must have been a sight. Our first hen to go broody and raise chicks was a Buff Orphington – she raised chicks for us every year for 7 years. Her last brood was successfully raised and the day after she weaned them she dropped dead. She is remembered fondly. Her genes run in a lot of our crosses.

    Sam we lock our chickens up at night but in old farm buildings with as many holes patched as we can find and as you note chicken wire keeps out only a few of the problems. That protects at night from owls. Not from rats or rat snakes or sometimes even from opossums. We usually pull about 4 rat snakes a year out of the coop and run them several miles down the road near a creek. I was told to use hot lime around the edges to keep them out – so put it around the nest boxes – maybe it helps. I wouldn’t mind having rat snakes around if they would stick to rats, but eggs appear to be easier to hunt. They get young chicks too. Rats get young chicks as well.

  • Wow. Brent Crude has passed $121. I did not expect to see that so soon.

    Hang onto your hats… maybe.

  • Thanks for all the kind words and praise.

    @Michael Irving: I don’t think I would say that “the problem is people.” By blaming ourselves to the core, we then alleviate ourselves of blame.

    “It’s just how God made us,” excuses all of the awful things we may do. Often on this topic, people find odd ways to appeal to nihilism, and though yours may have been completely accidental, I would caution against it. Remember, there are still people alive who are not part of the problem, who live within the means of their land bases.

    The problem, is an idea that we carry in our heads. The idea of civilization. There is a natural way for humans to organize, which is the tribe. Humans lived tribally for hundreds of thousands of years. I’m sure life was hard for some, and there was some barbarism along the way.

    However, our current paradigm of civilizing ourselves (really, civilization was spread with the sword, gun, and the small pox covered blanket) institutionalizes barbarism and requires the exploitation of the land. By removing this organizing principle in our brains and replacing it with the one that comes naturally to us, we can return to a sustainable way of living.

  • John, I did a bit of cognitive therapy for a while. Basically the therapy teaches you to talk and write to yourself until you rid yourself of irrational beliefs that are causing problems. After a while I began to see that some of the irrational beliefs that caused me problems were in fact rational beliefs for H-G’s living in tribes. For instance, the irrational belief that I must not offend anyone, would lead me to worry about some remark I made to the supermarket checkout clerk. Irrational because I might never see that person again and they had no power to cause me trouble if I did offend them. However in a h-g tribe Everyone I would have regular contact would be someone vitally important to my survival and thus being careful and caring toward everyone I met on a daily basis would be the norm and worry about possible offence given would not be irrational.

    I agree with you entirely that we are programmed to live one way and have boxed ourselves into a cage. We are like animals in a zoo of our own making. I do not know if h-g’s living in small tribes are “better” or “worse” and that is unimportant. They are living a life that their genetic programs fit with. Because we are infected with the memes of civilization it is hard for us to feel we fit outside of it and hard for that reason and many others to escape the cage. But I believe that people born to h-g tribes at least feel like they fit in the world. I have on the other hand often felt like a misfit in this culture.

  • Kathy.

    Yes. ‘I have on the other hand often felt like a misfit in this culture.’

    Anyone who has connection with the natural world and cares about things of real value cannot fit into this culture, since the dominant culture rewards destruction of the natural world and erosion of things of real value. As we all know, under this system, the greater the destruction, the greater the reward.

    What scares me is that there seem to be so few who are connected with reality. There is no mass movement to throw off the culture of deceit and destruction; most people seem very happy with the current state of affairs, i.e. being misled by politicians and having their productive land base destroyed. Even when it is all pointed out to them, they defend the system that has enslaved them. Obviously a lot more collapse is required before there will be a culture change.

    Oil at close to $121 will help, but it will take a lot more than that to break the spell.

  • Wait a second, John Duffy, you may want to lay off the “small pox covered blanket” part of it.

    Don’t give anyone an excuse to attack environmentalists. In this case, the “excuse” is that the implication is slightly wrong.

    The Native Americans weren’t killed by diseased blankets out of malice; it happened out of incompetence. The soldiers gave them blankets without checking them first, and they happened to be covered in smallpox.

    Pseudo-conservatives already think environmentalists hysterically make things up. Don’t give them an excuse to think they’re right.

  • Per wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_warfare
    “The Native American population was devastated after contact with the Old World due to the introduction of many different fatal diseases.[34] There are two documented cases of alleged and attempted germ warfare. The first, during a parley at Fort Pitt on June 24, 1763, Ecuyer gave representatives of the besieging Delawares two blankets and a handkerchief that had been exposed to smallpox, hoping to spread the disease to the Natives in order to end the siege.[35] William Trent, the militia commander, left records that clearly indicated that the purpose of giving the blankets was “to Convey the Smallpox to the Indians.”[36]
    British commander Lord Jeffrey Amherst and Swiss-British officer Colonel Henry Bouquet certainly discussed this, in the course of Pontiac’s Rebellion; there still exists correspondence referencing the idea of giving smallpox-infected blankets to enemy Indians. Historian Francis Parkman verifies four letters from June 29, July 13, 16 and 26th, 1763. Excerpts: Commander Lord Jeffrey Amherst writes July 16, 1763, “P.S. You will Do well to try to Inocculate the Indians by means of Blankets, as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race. I should be very glad your Scheme for Hunting them Down by Dogs could take Effect,…” Colonel Henry Bouquet replies July 26, 1763, “I received yesterday your Excellency’s letters of 16th with their Inclosures. The signal for Indian Messengers, and all your directions will be observed.”[37] While the intent of carrying out biological warfare is clear, there is debate among historians as to whether this actually took place despite Bouquet’s affirmative reply to Amherst, and the continuing correspondence on the point.”
    34 The Story Of… Smallpox – and other Deadly Eurasian Germs
    35 Anderson, Crucible of War, 541–42; Jennings, Empire of Fortune, 447n26.
    36 Calloway, Scratch of a Penn, 73.
    37 “Did whites ever give Native Americans blankets infected with smallpox?”. straightdope.com. October 24, 1997. Retrieved May 1, 2009.

  • When I was reading this, this story came to mind. Maybe you have read it before..


  • John, thank you that was wonderful. I don’t have the time to get back here much these days, but that was a treat.

    Kathy, seems to be all in the bait. Marshmallows for skunks, cat food for oppossums, and frozen shrimp for the mink. We let our guard down, and lost 2 more ducks to a mink. Young male, that should be down in the marshes with the females. Injured 4 others that will survive, but it has been a crappy week for them. Getting ready to deal with the moles, as we start to plant outside. It’s always something.

  • World-views are indeed based on narratives. Narratives guide action as a vestment for intent, and the narratives evolve to fit the objectives of intent. Limitation in the purview of intent is reflected in inadequacy of the narrative to deal with issues of consequence that have their origins outside that purview.

    Ultimate intent arises in the realm of ethics and aesthetics, values and emotion, while action lies in the realm of intellect, logic and cognition. The former is far subtler and is essentially insusceptible to modification through intellectual discussion or logical reasoning.

    Until the consequences bite enough to cause emotional distress, neither intent nor the narratives will be impacted.

  • Looks like Monbiot is seeing the same lack of evidence and objectivity within the anti-nuclear faction that I have referred to in the past – esp as it concerns deaths, cancers and genetic damage attributable to radiation.

    He has received a lot of flack and outright slander recently because of his altered views on nuclear power. Frankly, I admire his courage to speak out within his own environmental activist community.

    This latest is the result of an exchange he has had with Dr. Helen Caldicott – calling her out on her most significant statements.


    I could not possibly agree more.

    still anti-nuclear…. ;-)

  • victor
    not schooled in this area but if i understand correctly….where do i opt out of the current experiment of ingesting a few of these I 131, etc. emitting particles….we don’t really know what the cumlative results will be do we as this particular disaster is very different. one likely reason japan isn’t stopping the throwing of these particles into the heavens is the wind has been taking them out to sea…now the winds are shifting inland.

    here is a more interesting to me bit…the first currency casualty of these currency wars?

    (Reuters) – Iran aims to slice three zeros off the end of its currency which has weakened steadily over many years despite a policy to keep it loosely pegged to the dollar, the official news agency IRNA reported on Saturday.


  • John,

    Haven’t heard from you in a while. Hope all is well. I, too, continue hacking away in the garden.

  • ‘Scientists: Arctic ozone depletion ‘unprecedented’
    U.N. agency says region sees loss of about 40 percent from beginning of winter ‘


    Not good news…harbinger of things to come?


    No question about it…Japan’s nuclear disaster is just that – a disaster! But essentially local in nature. And there is yet no loss of life (though that might not remain the case). I 131 is the most dangerous element produced out of this, because it is light and can be carried a good distance by the winds and water. But fortunately, it only has a half-life of 8 days, and that which is dumped into the sea will be readily dispersed.

    As for Iran, not sure what to think about that. Have you any thoughts you would like to share?

    still anti-nuclear…

  • http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-japan-nuclear-20110406,0,2697428.story
    “Reporting from Tokyo—
    The operator of Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday that it had found radioactive iodine at 7.5 million times the legal limit in a seawater sample taken near the facility, and government officials imposed a new health limit for radioactivity in fish.

    The reading of iodine-131 was recorded Saturday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. Another sample taken Monday found the level to be 5 million times the legal limit. The Monday samples also were found to contain radioactive cesium at 1.1 million times the legal limit.”

  • @victor
    Was somewhat shocked when reading monbiots link. Can’t tell the truth about Caldicott delivering evidence or not. But to me the first question was: How much did they pay him, but this conclusion is wrong I believe now, when reading further at Monbiot.
    Had a look at:

    – it is in German so. They claim that there is a contract between WHO and IAEA dated 28. Mai 1959, which gives IAEA control! over the scientific research and publication done by doctors at WHO.

    If this contract exists, what kind of research will be done?

    When reading: http://www.monbiot.com/2011/03/31/seven-double-standards/
    I found this:
    “Replacing current nuclear generation when the power stations reach the end of their lives is a tough decision. So is not replacing it. Not replacing it is a decision to do one of two things:

    A. To switch to coal or gas, which means greatly increasing the rate of industrial deaths and injuries, levels of pollution and the impacts of climate change.

    B. To add even more weight to the burden that must be carried by renewables.

    Response A is far more likely, and appears to be taking place already: for example in Germany…..”

    So as he can see only A and B as possible ways to go, that to me is the reason why Monbiot puts lipstick on the pig – nuclear power.
    To keep things going it can’t be shut down.

    As for the double standards further down the link, each one of them could have extensive discussion.
    for example death and injuries. A massive amount of people dies in mining accidents he claims, I believe this.
    He puts it in contrast with radiation accident like this:
    “What this means is that, in the normal course of operations, at least 6 people are killed in Chinese coal mines every day. Even if you accept the official figure, Chinese coal mining alone kills as many people every week as the worst nuclear power accident in history – the Chernobyl explosion – has done in 25 years.”
    Anyhow it is ridiculous to argue about which kind of energy usage kills more people, but: The link to the IAEA says this also:
    ” * Although several hundred thousand people, as well as the emergency workers, were involved in recovery operations, there is no consistent evidence of health effects that can be
    attributed to radiation exposure, apart from indications of increased incidence of leukemia and of cataracts among those who received higher doses.”

    To know anything about those hundreds of thousands of emergency workers you would have to have a list of names and medical examinations.(Some say they were 900k) How likely is this?
    Unless IAEA does not provide such evidence how are we supposed to believe anything they tell us?
    Besides, man killed by mining, you can prove this instantly, he is dead.
    How do you prove that cancer, deformity and so on, is caused by radiation exposure, even if under medical surveillance, how do you prove it?

    Sorry Victor for the length.

    When following the events in Fukushima, there was also report that the
    spent nuclear fuel rods have to be constantly cooled for seven! years before they can be taken somewhere else.
    So, as this site tends to look at societal collapse, there will be Fukushimas and Chernobyls all over the place.

    Only for this reason, mankind can? only shut them down, now. Result would be societal collapse.

    Shit, I didn’t ask to be on this earth.

  • John Duffy,

    Thank you so much for pointing out my error.

    I thought I was noting that the “nature” running barely controlled just under the surface in each of us (love, hate, sex, hunger, pain) is a product of evolving on this planet from less intelligent ancestors. You’ve helped me to understand that is just an excuse that allows us to do whatever we want in the name of civilization and that we really need to just return to a simpler time.

    I thought I was saying that culture was the only tool we had to advance away from the horrors of the civilization that resulted from following our “natural” tendencies. You’ve helped me to understand that there is just that one little, tiny imperfection in our brains that needs to be addressed, that idea of civilization. We need only to magically remove that imperfection from our brains to access our true nature.

    I’m still a little confused about one thing. Where exactly did that “organizing principal in our brains” come from?

    Michael Irving

  • Bernhard,

    Putting lipstick on a pig is indeed what nuclear power advocates are doing. “A” or “B” thinking is a big problem. There are many more letters in the alphabet.

    Michael Irving

  • One of the reason environmentalists are seen as making up absurd things is that they say reasonable things and then on purpose the “right” distorts what they say. This was done to Silent Spring author Rachael Carson who did not say use no DDT, but did say to use it judiciously, not only because of its dangers but also because heavy use for mosquitoes results in DDT resistant mosquitoes in about 7 years. This was done to the authors of Limits to Growth – Matt Simmons when he decided to read it discovered that it did not say the things it was purported to say.

    The comparisons made to radiation exposure from an X-ray as opposed to ingestion make me quite sure that the don’t worry stance is false. As long as the don’t worry folks don’t make the distinction between receiving a dose of radiation from a radioactive source and ingesting a radioactive source that continues to radiate your body until its half lives wear it out, then I will trust the worried people over the “don’t worry” crowd.

    When radioactive compounds enter the human body, the effects are different from those resulting from exposure to an external radiation source. Especially in the case of alpha radiation, which normally does not penetrate the skin, the exposure can be much more damaging after ingestion or inhalation. The radiation exposure is normally expressed as a committed effective dose equivalent (CEDE).

    Also of note, even after the iodine is decayed in the body, the damage can still surface later in life.
    “Much smaller incidental doses of iodine-131 than are used in medical therapeutic uses, are thought to be the major cause of increased thyroid cancers after accidental nuclear contamination. These cancers happen from residual tissue radiation damage caused by the I-131, and usually appear years after exposure, long after the I-131 has decayed.”

    Victor if Monbiot has acknowledged that difference then maybe he is worth listening to. When Helen explained the difference on Democracy Now and looking over the transcript he seems to just ignore when she said “I was commissioned to write an article for the New England Journal of Medicine about the dangers of nuclear power. I spent a year researching it. You’ve bought the propaganda from the nuclear industry. They say it’s low-level radiation. That’s absolute rubbish. If you inhale a millionth of a gram of plutonium, the surrounding cells receive a very, very high dose. Most die within that area, because it’s an alpha emitter. The cells on the periphery remain viable. They mutate, and the regulatory genes are damaged. Years later, that person develops cancer. Now, that’s true for radioactive iodine, that goes to the thyroid; cesium-137, that goes to the brain and muscles; strontium-90 goes to bone, causing bone cancer and leukemia. It’s imperative, George, because you’re highly intelligent and a very important commentator, that you understand internal emitters and radiation, and it’s not low level to the cells that are exposed. Radiobiology is imperative to understand these days.” http://www.democracynow.org/2011/3/30/prescription_for_survival_a_debate_on
    If you can show me some writing of Monbiot’s where he explicitly says that inhaling or ingesting radioactive particles is different from being exposed to radiation in the environment and therefore not comparable I could begin to think he has something worthwhile to say.

    Victor you write “I 131 is the most dangerous element produced out of this, because it is light and can be carried a good distance by the winds and water. But fortunately, it only has a half-life of 8 days, and that which is dumped into the sea will be readily dispersed.” I would say rather that “I 131 is the may be the dangerous element to people outside of Japan, because it is light and can be carried a good distance by the winds but has a short half life.” Beside I 131, elements with much longer lifespans are getting into Japan’s food and water, and will cause some area of land there to be unusable for agriculture in a country that doesn’t grow enough food to feed its own people. Disasters always look different from a distance.

  • Ed, thanks for the note on baits. Since we knew we had rats and rats often will go for apple in my experience I set a rat trap with apple on it and around – no takers. So now knowing we had at least one small mink, and having just bought some extra catfish at a fish fry, I baited the rat trap with fish tail and some pieces around. Left out the apple. This morning all the apple is gone and none of the fish touched, on the trap or off. Are they playing games with me????

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Know you are busy.

  • Bernhard

    If this contract exists, what kind of research will be done?

    Well, good question. But the health risks associated with nuclear are studied by many more folks than the IAEA and WHO. We can get very conspiracy oriented here, but if we do, I promise that person that I am going to start asking hard questions like “Where is your proof?”. \it is easy to get sucked into that frame of mind, especially when the area of concern is so polarised.

    “Replacing current nuclear generation when the power stations reach the end of their lives is a tough decision. So is not replacing it. Not replacing it is a decision to do one of two things:

    A. To switch to coal or gas, which means greatly increasing the rate of industrial deaths and injuries, levels of pollution and the impacts of climate change.

    B. To add even more weight to the burden that must be carried by renewables.

    Response A is far more likely, and appears to be taking place already: for example in Germany…..”

    What then is option C? (Besides do nothing at all… ;-) If you shut down nuclear, then you really only have those two options available, do you not? Or perhaps I am missing something here?

    Besides, man killed by mining, you can prove this instantly, he is dead.
    How do you prove that cancer, deformity and so on, is caused by radiation exposure, even if under medical surveillance, how do you prove it?

    Another good question. The answer to that is just what you suspect – you can’t prove it. And that is my point. There is simply not the evidence available. But on the other hand, that argument works both ways – those that claim millions of cancer-related deaths are obligated to show proof of that. I read Caldicott’s argument in support of 1-2 million deaths. It was a complete farce based upon fictitious statistics. A lot of people have studied this, and the world’s most eminent authorities seem to agree on the official estimates (and they ARE estimates). But again, if you believe in hidden agendas that no one has yet proven exist, then you will basically be telling me that some of the most highly competent scientists are simply on the payroll of the nuclear companies. Maybe. maybe not. Until we have proof such a conspiracy exists, then we need to be a bit more cautious about which side of the argument we take?

    If you actually look at some of the links provided, you can begin to see where the exaggerations are located. I am inclined to accept the views of the experts who have studied this.

    I particularly liked this quote Monbiot gave by Gerry Thomas, Chair in Molecular Pathology, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College, London

    ‘I actually was a member of the UNSCEAR committee on the Health effects of the Chernobyl accident and wrote the section on the molecular biology of thyroid cancer. I can assure you that none of us are in the pay of the nuclear industry. I was anti-nuclear until I worked on the after effects of the Chernobyl accident – now I am very pro-nuclear as I realise that we have an unwarranted fear of radiation – probably due to all the rubbish about a nuclear winter we were fed during the cold war.’

    Here is a medical expert who worked on the committee UNSCEAR that everyone in the anti-nuclear community castigate, and who is offended by the suggestion that he might be in the employ of the nuclear industry. Sorry, I believe him.

    When following the events in Fukushima, there was also report that the spent nuclear fuel rods have to be constantly cooled for seven! years before they can be taken somewhere else.

    You have at last hit on one of the excellent reasons for not adapting uranium-based nuclear power. You can’t shut these plants down! It takes decades! And billions of dollars! Good God! What could we do with all that time and all that money?

  • @Victor

    Although with my poor abilities in English, I’d love to discuss this in detail.

    But just this option A or B. If mankind, and possibly all life on earth is worth to survive to at least some extent – you must accept option C, shut them down and have next to nothing to replace it.

    This will shatter society, it will possibly not extinct life on earth.

  • Kathy

    I haven’t really reead any of the material on people like Helen Caldicott put out by the nuclear industry. Not doubting your word, but I simply haven’t seen it, not am I particularly interested in it. Helen Caldicott’s statements speak for themselves – she uses almost exclusively hyperbole to make her points. And there are quite qualified scientists who disagree with her.

    Again, as an example, Gerry Thomas, Chair in Molecular Pathology, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College, London –

    “Cancer is not an infectious disease so it does not have an incubation time. As we cannot definitely say what has caused a cancer (there is no radiation profile that would stand up in court) we cannot prove what the latency is for radiation induced cancer. All we can say is that different cancer types seem to present themselves in the population at different times – leukaemias seem to have a shorter latency, but thyroid cancer in the young can appear within 4 years. We simply do not know the life-time risk without doing the Lifespan studies such as those instigated after the atomic bombs in Japan. Even here the increased incidence of cancer in the population is around 1%. I suspect that more Japanese have developed lung cancer as a result of smoking than all the radiation induced cancers put together.”

    And again as regards cancer incidence,

    “Cancers will not inevitably increase – depends on the isotope involved, and the actual exposure to the population. Reality check – Chernobyl resulted in 136 hospitalisations for acute radiation sickness, 28 of these died. There have been 5000 extra thyroid cancers, of which 1% may die of their disease over their lifetimes (I.e. 50 – and that is probably an overestimate. End of story – no other scientifically validated further effects. No inherited defects seen in a population that was exposed as children (many of those exposed as children have already had children themselves, and I have personally met some of these). It is interesting how few second cancers result in the population treated with radiotherapy (and/or chemotherapy, which in many respects has a similar biological effect – induction of DNA damage) – even in a population that may have been enriched for those with germline defects that predisposes to cancer. This suggests to me that as a species we have superbly honed defences for this type of insult.”

    I am not prepared to dismiss Monbiot solely on the reason that he might not have distinguished between ingestion, inhalation and external exposure to radiation. Monbiot usually does his homework – he has to because he puts himself on the firing line every day. Besides, my point in bringing up Monbiot in the first place is not to use him as some kind of expert reference, which he is not, but to highlight some of the facts he brings out through his research.

    And speaking of ingestion and inhalation, it matters a lot just how much is ingested or inhaled. This is one of the areas that hyperbole takes a huge leap. Look at what Gerry Thomas says above. We have pretty good defences against this kind of exposure. Others, like Yuri Nikiforov, a professor of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, suggest that the risk of exposure depends upon the source, the amount ingested or inhaled, and the length of time exposed. In an MSNBC article ( http://msnbc.msn.com/id/42312474/ns/health-health_care/ ) he states:

    “Plutonium acts upon the lungs the same way as radon. At low exposures, plutonium is considered safe, just like radon,”

    The article also says, “You could possibly develop lung cancer from inhaling large quantities of plutonium, says Andrew Maidment, an associate professor of radiology and chief of physics and radiology at the University of Pennsylvania.

    “Plutonium acts upon the lungs the same way as radon. At low exposures, plutonium is considered safe, just like radon,” Maidment says.

    “It is only at continuous high doses that concern arises.”Maidment says. “It is only at continuous high doses that concern arises.”

    The article goes on to say:

    “There is some evidence that plutonium can raise the risk of lung cancer, says Nikiforov. “It’s been shown that miners who have been exposed to plutonium, have a slightly higher risk of lung cancer compared to the average person,” he explains.

    As for cesium-137, a third radioisotope that’s been identified in fallout from the Japanese reactor, it’s effects are pretty much in-between. It’s heavier than iodine-131, but lighter than the plutonium isotopes, Nikiforov says.

    “There was considerable contamination around Chernobyl by cesium,” Nikiforov says. “But not as far from the site of the accident as with the iodine — less than 100 miles.”

    Cesium tends to build up in the muscles, but so far nobody has documented a heightened cancer risk in these tissues, Nikiforov says.”

    Notice how these folks do not feel the need for such hyperbole, mainly because they have the facts to back them up.

  • Bernhard

    you must accept option C, shut them down and have next to nothing to replace it.

    This will shatter society, it will possibly not extinct life on earth.

    Correct. The third option is shut them down and replace with nothing. At least civilisation would then likely collapse and the earth, as well as perhaps even a few humans, would be spared the long-term effects of global warming.

    This is the one I would favour, though it is the least likely option – indeed, you might even say from a practical standpoint, it is academic only. And actually, I don’t know if we have the time to shut them down. Scary thought….

  • Kathy

    Beside I 131, elements with much longer lifespans are getting into Japan’s food and water, and will cause some area of land there to be unusable for agriculture in a country that doesn’t grow enough food to feed its own people. Disasters always look different from a distance.

    I am not as certain of this as you. Again, it does not matter so much the half-life of a radionuclide as it does the amount of exposure and the length of time exposed. For different elements, there are different toxicity rates, and thus far I have seen no numbers that would indicate that the situation Japan now faces is any more than temporary as far as ongoing exposure goes. We really do not have a feel for accurate measurements yet from these areas, I believe. No doubt they have been affected by fallout, but how much? We simply do not know yet. You might be right, but I think it a bit premature to say that significant portions of agricultural land will be unusable. Right now I find that hard to accept.

  • Victor you quote “Cancer is not an infectious disease so it does not have an incubation time.” That starts out with a very misleading premise. Helen Caldicott nor anyone else who is anti nuclear would make the claim that cancer arises later because of incubation of an infectious agent. Ingested nuclear particles act similar to incubation of an infectious agent in that the particles lodge in the body and continue to emit over time right there in the body. In fact over time they cause cancers specific to the region where they have an affinity and lodge. Thus I 131 causes thyroid cancer, strontium which the body treats like calcium causes bone cancer and disease. Personally I don’t trust people who calmly argue straw dogs and would rather listen to people who come on strong because they really care about people.

    You might want to note this about Gerry Thomas’ employee

    “Imperial College London owns and operates the UK’s last-remaining civilian research reactor, but the viability of its future is in doubt without support from the sector.” As to what sector that means since it is on the Nuclear Industry Association’s web site I suppose they mean support from the Nuclear Industry http://www.niauk.org/industry-link/issue-5/the-future-of-the-uks-last-civilian-nuclear-research-reactor–1964-to-.html

    University of Pittsburg has a nuclear energy graduate certificate program. Bet if I looked a bit I would find funding to the university there as well.

    When I learned we might be close to peak oil I put my trust in Colin Campbell because he was retired from the oil industry and not the oil industry itself. When I was told that this or that climate denier had the real facts I found every single one quoted to me had ties to the oil or coal or gas industries.

    I’ll go with Helen. Her bias if any is because she cares about human beings.

    I also find it strange that while the west routinely dismissed everything that the Soviet government said as propaganda, the reports on Chernobyl are considered god given truth. I also find it strange to trust reports on our bombing of Japan and aftereffects as it is well known we did quite a bit of coverup and Japan has really been under our thumb for quite some time. The US has 35,000+ military personel in Japan and we have a treaty of mutual cooperation.

  • I agree whole heartedly that human society is a hallucination but unfortunately this hallucination is about to put a bullet in our collective heads. In SCL Punk, the point was made that you cannot affect the system from the outside. You have to enter it to create change within the system. I feel unending gratitude toward the people who willingly enter the mass hallucination to try to bring positive change to this society. Guy, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Anna Lappe, Robyn O’Brien, and all the unknown organizers of the thousands of demonstrations that are occurring EVERY DAY in this country come immediately to mind. It is nice for the rest of us to talk about stepping outside the hallucination and living a ‘real’ life among nature but these people step into it, drive themselves absolutely bonkers with the madness of it all so they can effect change and give the rest of us the luxury of standing outside just a little longer smelling the flowers before that hallucination pulls the trigger.

  • Nothing to worry about downwind from a nuclear explosion


  • Kathy

    So because of the statement you quote, you think to discredit Dr. Thomas and his opinion? As if to say, because his employer is having difficulty staying in business due to the ever more difficult funding problems in the educational sector of the UK, his message is not valid?

    And you are basically telling me that Helen Caldicott is right because she cares about people? She might care about people, but that doesn’t make her right. And I think that is a bit unfair to those scientists who have also studied the effects of radionuclides upon the population. The same is said about climate scientists – that they will lose their grants if they don’t publish the right conclusions, or that they might not get published at all if they don’t support global warming.

    Don’t be naive about this. Everyone has ulterior motives. Everyone. Including non-profit non-government groups that are expressly hard-wired to an advocacy role. Those folks have to use hyperbole to keep themselves heard above the accepted sources, and to keep the money coming in for their organisations. They will often stretch the truth to unbelievable lengths to keep their visibility. And in my opinion end up discrediting themselves and their mission as they become more and more separated from fact. And though they might appear to care for people, they are doing people no favour by such noise.

    So these things might be true. But there is precious little hard evidence to support them in my mind. Most scientists I have listened to seem very concerned that their hard-studied conclusions are tossed off like so much suspicious garbage. And I find it very hard to believe that ALL the scientists who contributed to UNSCEAR were paid whores of the nuclear industry. That is a pretty serious allegation to my mind and seems to me lacking in evidence.

  • @victor.

    Short story from over here. Late seventies, social democrats (then socialists) where in power. Chancellor Kreisky to some extent for me, changed things in society to the better – out of dark middle ages – was my opinion then.

    But then also, they thought they must bring nuclear power to this country, the plant is called Zwentendorf and still exists as a plant that never had fuel rods. Conservatives didn’t like the idea of Kreisky being that strong, so they, although actually promoting nuclear, “jumped the bandwagon” brought about by environmentalist movement.
    So there was this plebiscite in Nov. 1978 about whether the – finished – plant should go into operation. Well plebiscite said, very close but did, NO we don’t want nuclear power.
    This night, there was a report on radio, telling that the IAEA offered Austria to pull that plant down, for the reason they had never done this before and wanted to learn out of it. Free of cost.
    I was working, couldn’t believe my ears and kept working for another hour to hear it again. Nill, nothing, that story was on air once and never was heard again. So Kreisky and his bunch must have thought – ah well, it was close, in a years time or so we will get it to work somehow. But the plant never went into operation. So we might be the only country which has a nuclear power plant that isn’t any more dangerous than any high rise building.

  • @ Kathy

    saw that youtube film, unbelievable bunch of unbelievably sick people governing this world.

  • So we might be the only country which has a nuclear power plant that isn’t any more dangerous than any high rise building.


    Good story. Quite amazing in fact. We should have more countries like that. Unfortunately, all other nuclear facilities are operational, and thus we will have a very, very difficult time closing them down when the time comes – and it will come….

  • Yeah, some one should get the idea and promote this strongly. If we wait, like last time Chernobyl, it might a be late.

    I’ll make a plan:-), ok?

  • Victor, don’t be naive. Pressure on people in many different areas including science is often quite subtle. No one comes and say create a false study. Its a word here a word there and the message gets across. People can yield to it without even knowing that they are doing that. Frankly there are a lot of scientists in the world whoring for industry. How about Monsanto. They may convince themselves they are not but they are. How long did it take for the US government to admit to the dangers of Agent Orange. How many doctors went along with it and left sick vets without recourse for years.

    How about DU – Neither the VA nor DOD has provided clear research needed to answer the basic question: what part did depleted uranium play in causing death and illness among more than 30% of Gulf War veterans? Basic epidemiological studies such as identifying cause of death as recorded on death certificates have not been reported in the literature.
    The DOD asserts that:
    1. There is no scientific evidence of any increased health risks from exposure to Depleted Uranium, including cancer and leukemia.
    2. Depleted Uranium was not a problem in the Persian Gulf War and is not a potential hazard in the Balkans, except under very limited circumstances.

    Of course people have agendas. Do you want as a doctor one who only wants to make a lot of money or one who cares about you. What course of action they might advise – surgery, medicine, etc. is very likely to be affected by that agenda. I go with the agenda of the Doctor who cares (do you remember Dr House’s comments some time back that he no longer gets visited by drug reps because they get info from the drug store on what doctors prescribe and they learned that he prescribes mostly generic so they don’t bother with him anymore – Dr. House correct me if I portrayed that wrong). Do you think that those other Drs are not affected by the visits from the drug reps???? I know Helen has studied this for years and she exhibits the attributes of a person who cares. Since I have not done any studies personally I have to choose other ways to decide who to believe. Just as I don’t know how much oil is in the ground in Saudi Arabia but I trust Colin Campbell over Daniel Yergin and looks like I made a good choice.

    But since you don’t like Helen how about The New York Academy of Sciences (third oldest scientific society in the United States.) which Helen correctly said has published a book “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,” which was compiled by authors Alexey Yablokov of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow, and Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko of the Institute of Radiation Safety, in Minsk, Belarus. In an article about the book it says the book documents that The proportion of children considered healthy born to irradiated parents in Belarus, the Ukraine, and European Russia considered healthy fell from about 80 percent to less than 20 percent since 1986.
    Numerous reports reviewed for this book document elevated disease rates in the Chernobyl area. These include increased fetal and infant deaths, birth defects, and diseases of the respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, hematological, urological, cardiovascular, genetic, immune, and other systems, as well as cancers and non-cancerous tumor … Little research on Chernobyl health effects in the United States has been conducted, the authors found, but one study by the Radiation and Public Health Project found that in the early 1990s, a few years after the meltdown, thyroid cancer in Connecticut children had nearly doubled. This occurred at the same time that childhood thyroid cancer rates in the former Soviet Union were surging, as the thyroid gland is highly sensitive to radioactive iodine exposures.
    more on the book at http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2010/2010-04-26-01.html

    In the interview Helen asks George if he has read the report
    HELEN CALDICOTT: Have you read the New York Academy of Sciences report?

    GEORGE MONBIOT: I haven’t read the whole report; I’ve read part of it.

    Maybe we should both get a copy of the book and come back to this discussion.

  • Concerning power, how about this for an interesting read:


    Hydro power is an option. Perhaps not the entire solution but it is clear that there is no magic bullet solution that will solve our crisis. It is going to take a million and one small options that we take advantage of. Change our lifestyles, reduce our energy consumption and raise our energy production that uses safe alternatives. All need to happen at the same time if we are going to phase out of nuclear energy production and shift from an oil economy. Will it happen? Probably not in time.

  • @Don Ford: Hello friend! I didn’t know you were an NBL reader! Good to hear from you. I’ll send you an email.

    @Michael: You’re being facetious, I see that.

    I don’t know how my response to your post offended you, but I will reiterate, that people aren’t inherently good or bad. We do seem to have an method of organizing ourselves that comes naturally, and that is in tribes. Wolves have packs, cows have herds, all animals have their organizing patterns, so humans should be no different.

    Where the civilization meme came from originally, I couldn’t say (Babylon? Gobekli Tepe?) but what is clear, is the method by which this meme spread. Civilization requires access to greater and greater amounts of resources, and thus the expansion of territory controlled by said civilizations. When this expansion encountered other people who would not submit to the new organizing principle, they were slaughtered. And thus the tribal ways have become nearly extinct.

    Unlike a virus which we can’t just wish away (well, maybe we can wish away viruses, I’m not sure, but lets move on,) a poisonous meme can be killed consciously with reason.

    The civilization method of human organization is detrimental to the health of the planet, the soul of man, and thus the potential for human life to continue (not to sell short non-human life.) Tribal humans never built a nuclear power plant, never launched a world war, never strip mined a mountain, never made a tire yard…hell, they never made a single piece of non-biodegradable trash.

    If we like it here, it’s time to stop living in a way that will prevent us from doing so in the long run.

  • john
    If we like it here, it’s time to stop living in a way that will prevent us from doing so in the long run.


  • Carrie, hydropower has its problems too, including environmental ones (just ask Derrick Jensen about dams and salmon) but pretty much every river that can be used for hydropower has been used AND some that are in use are rivers fed by glaciers thus as the glaciers melt the river water will fall and the power will cease. Droughts brought on by climate change will have the same effect. That was a problem last year in Venezula http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2010/world/africa/drought-climate-change-jeopardize-and-complicate-hydropower-policies-around-the-world/

    Damming up major rivers in India has displaced people above the dam (they were supposed to be relocated but there was really no place for them to go) and affected irrigation below the dam. We saw a pretty damning movie about that at one point, can’t remember the name. Some of the indigenous people decided to just stay and drown. They were dragged off and not allowed to die for a cause, but no doubt died later from having no land to farm anymore.

    And then the usual lack of caution in trying to get energy – dams on fault lines that is really smart. How many people will it take if there is an earthquake there.

    “The Lower Subansiri hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh, northeast India, has been built on a major fault zone, paying no heed to safety norms. Local inhabitants fear that the network of dams will rob the place of its rich indigenous culture and ecology.” more at http://southasia.oneworld.net/todaysheadlines/india-save-the-dam-rivers

    There is one solution – power down this civlization.

  • Kathy,

    Here is what Monbiot says about that book, including a quote from the Academy of Sciences about its veracity:

    “Its publication seems to have arisen from a confusion about whether the Annals was a book publisher or a scientific journal. The academy has given me this statement: “In no sense did Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences or the New York Academy of Sciences commission this work; nor by its publication do we intend to independently validate the claims made in the translation or in the original publications cited in the work. The translated volume has not been peer-reviewed by the New York Academy of Sciences, or by anyone else.”

    Do you think he quoted something that the Academy did not say?

    He further states with my own version of his references included in parentheses:

    “A devastating review in the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry points out that the book achieves its figure by the remarkable method of assuming that all increased deaths from a wide range of diseases – including many which have no known association with radiation – were caused by the accident(1). There is no basis for this assumption, not least because screening in many countries improved dramatically after the disaster and, since 1986, there have been massive changes in the former eastern bloc. The study makes no attempt to correlate exposure to radiation with the incidence of disease.”

    (1) MW Charles, 2010. Review of Chernobyl: consequences of the catastrophe for people and the environment. Radiation Protection Dosimetry (2010) 141(1): 101-104. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncq185. http://rpd.oxfordjournals.org/content/141/1/101.full

    (2) The authors announce that they reject this method in the introduction to the book. Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko and Alexey V. Nesterenko, as above, page 2.

  • victor/kathy/bernhard, & all
    it seems to me to be a lack of hard science on any side…even in u’r best quotes victor there are mostly generalizations from death rates etc. if we erred on the side of safety all along we’d have never had nuclear power. i suspect our weapons programs have been the primary driver from the beginning. probably nuclear medicine has the best hard data; but it is also very different, as dosage, is so highly controlled, & known.

  • The coming northern summer looks all set to be very interesting, since it is starting from a record low winter ice cover.

    Independent UK today:

    Why build-up of fresh water in Arctic could spell trouble for Britain
    Steve Connor: Scientists fear huge volumes of meltwater from diminishing ice caps may divert the Gulf Stream.

    Ozone layer damaged by unusually harsh winter
    Steve Connor: We may be on the brink of major instability

    Leading article: The greatest emergency of all is being ignored

  • Leading article: The greatest emergency of all is being ignored

    Our response to climate change should be as urgent as it is to crises in Libya and Ivory Coast

    Emergencies around the world are grabbing our attention and prompting action from our political leaders. The nuclear crisis in Japan has galvanised governments, from China to Germany, to review their own nuclear power programmes. The threatened humanitarian disasters in Libya and Ivory Coast have prompted military interventions from Nato and the United Nations. But when it comes to the most pressing international emergency of all, the destabilisation of the planet’s climate through mankind’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other industrial gasses, all urgency has drained away.

    Today two stories underline the dangers posed by global warming. A consortium of European scientists is warning that the melting of Arctic sea ice could disrupt the North Atlantic Drift and the Gulf Stream. It is this current of water that ensures Britain has a mild, rather than an Arctic, climate. If the Gulf Stream is disrupted, these islands could experience winters as severe as northern Canada.

    This is not certain to happen. But nothing is certain about the outcomes of this experiment we are performing on our planet’s climate. All we know is that the more carbon dioxide we pump into our atmosphere, the greater the risk we run of dangerous consequences.

    Another report today shows that the Arctic ozone layer exhibited unprecedented damage this winter, partly as a result of emissions of industrial chemicals. The ozone layer crisis was declared “solved” many years ago thanks to tighter regulation. But those chemicals that mankind pumped into the atmosphere in previous decades are still having an effect. This is a lesson in the dangerous delay in the impacts of environmental pollution. Like ozone-damaging chemicals, the full effects of the carbon we are sending into our climate at this moment will only be felt later this century.

    If we were behaving rationally, our response to global warming would be just as urgent as it is to the threat of crimes against humanity in North Africa or the Middle East. The risk to life and prosperity is just as great. Yet we seem unable to focus on any crisis that does not threaten disaster in days or weeks.

    Last year, David Cameron proclaimed that his Government would be the “greenest ever”. But he has failed to live up to that pledge. Last month, George Osborne suspended the scheduled rise in fuel duty, even though this is one of the most effective “green” taxes because it encourages people to use less petrol.

    This is not just cynicism from ministers. The general public do not hold politicians to account for their failure to meet environmental pledges. Nor is it an exclusively British disease. The story is the same abroad. There is depressingly little pressure from populations anywhere for action from their political representatives on global warming.

    That needs to change. We need to understand that the sort of humanitarian crises we are witnessing now, and the climate emergency that looms later this century, have a connection. The revolts across the Arab world are linked to the world’s thirst for fossil fuels. The West has propped up repressive regimes in the region because they have kept the oil flowing. Now those brutalised populations are fighting back. Cutting our dependence on fossil fuels would yield a humanitarian dividend.

    There is another connection. Those same parts of the world that are in ferment now will feel the effects of climate change first. Global warming is already encouraging violent competition for water resources in Sudan. The present surge in refugees fleeing Africa for Europe is merely a foretaste of what is likely to come if we do not act to prevent runaway climate change. If we are to hand down a stable world to future generations, we need to focus not only on those emergencies that dominate the daily news headlines, but also the slow-motion disaster of global warming.

  • victor
    re iran’s x 1000 revaluation… i guess the economic punishments worked. QE2 may have given the final push[per james rickerts].if they get some unrest due to this they may add to problems already present, & troublesome.

    one other piece deflationists are focusing on is the M1 Money Multiplier Hitting All Time New Low.


    there is a good link there by a mr. dodge.. from elite trader forum.

    the gist is that money velocity has gotten so slow that bernake needs to do the opposite of his game plan, as printing has run it’s course such that it is actually counterproductive against deflation; i. e. more money, but moving slower & slower as he electronically prints. in some of the discussion there is talk of a collapse that is hours in the making[but deflationary/no hyperinflation]. my experience has been that the deflationists usually are some of the..things dragging out over yrs., as opposed to some of the collapse in a matter of hours…usually a hyperinflation scenario.

    i need to go ahead & get the backup property/place in mi. & get broke [& yet more secure] so that it won’t matter which way this tree falls… we will already have a set plan. i just checked on a place that we walked away from due to probate problems…supposed to hear back soon.

  • thanks kevin…easy to focus on the crisis of the week/month & forget the “slow motion” disasters, that are far more powerful.

  • ‘Physical beings evolve slowly. Culture, on the other hand, develops quite rapidly and can be shown to exert tremendous influence upon the actions taken by the individual in a particular situation. -michael irving

    this is discussed at some length in the early part of the latest ZEITGEIST film, released on youtube a couple of months ago. a discussion well worth checking out for those of u interested.

    ‘I sometimes wonder what civilisation would be like if the creatives not the sociopathics were in control.’ -redreamer

    as a creative artist u should also check out the zeitgeist film series if u haven’t already, redreamer. the movie’s creator, who goes by the name peter joseph, is a very talented and interesting character. if intrigued, google ‘who is peter joseph’. u’ll get a 6 part series of brief videos of him talking about his work and views.

    victor, i’m only about 1/2 way through this latest zeitgeist that u solicited opinions about some time ago. so far it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience (watching the movie). i agree that joseph’s and jacque fresco’s faith in technology is absurd, but that doesn’t detract from my admiration of their overall talent, intelligence, sanity, and passion.

  • Terry.

    There is a peculiar disconnect in Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist work.

    When it comes to social conditioning, the manipulation and lies of our so-called leaders, the fraudulent creation of money etc. he is spot on. But when it comes to energy and the environment he is hopelessly lost. Yes, absurd is the only word to describe the global resources network and ‘ecological’ cities advocated in Zg3.

  • Kathy, the pdf I linked was related to gaining more power from damns already in place in the United States. Enough power to replace 12 nuclear plants which I find significant in light of what is happening in Japan. Interesting and compelling. Also, power has been generated from running water without dams for ages. Could power be generated using the ocean currents? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/renewableenergy/3535012/Ocean-currents-can-power-the-world-say-scientists.html
    Heck yeah it can, another source of hydro power.

  • Carrie, sorry I didn’t keep to just discussing US hydropower.

    OK forget the rest of the world, drought and loss of glaciers will affect the rivers of the US and thus any new power gained by using dams not already providing power will be offset in the near future by lower water flow in places where many dams are now extracting power. For instance the Hoover Dam is on the Colorado River. The headwaters of the Colorado river extracts power is the Rocky Mountains. “Glacier National Park in the Rocky Mountains has seen about 75 percent of its glacier area disappear since 1910. Remaining glaciers may melt completely by 2030. In many US agricultural regions, snow and ice masses are the leading source of irrigation and drinking water. In the southwestern US, for instance, the Colorado River—the region’s primary source of irrigation water—depends on snowfields in the Rockies for much of its flow.” http://www.just4theplanet.com/global-warming-mountain-glaciers/ Heck even water level in the Great Lakes has been down in recent years and is causing concern for hydroelectric companies.

    Looking at the map of the current hydropower plants in the US I note that a very large number of them were built in 1900-1929. Given the state of the US economy and the already failing grades the US has gotten for infrastructure maintenance I would bet that a bunch of these current dams are going to fail before long. “The number of dams determined to be unsafe or deficient has risen from 3,500 in 2005 to 4,095 in 2007” http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/dams

    I also note that a bunch are located in California which is earthquake prone.

    As for ocean currents, frankly I think we have done enough damage to our oceans. Does anyone know what effects it would have on life in the sea if we captured the ocean current energy in a big way. Like all energy in the environment, IT IS NOT DOING NOTHING. But we will not fully understand all it is doing until we capture it in large measure for our use.

    Luckily the country, the world, the states the municipalities are all broke and so further attempts to extract energy from the environment for the use of humans are non-starters no matter how many studies with optimistic charts are prepared.

    The end of industrial civilization is IMO the only way to end the rape of the planet by humans. Thus any “solution” to our energy problem is a contribution to BAU which will kill us all if it goes on for much longer. So if the possibilities that you note do work, we are all the more damned. IMHO of course.

  • Victor, “Do you think he quoted something that the Academy did not say?” No. I think the Academy is saying something like the things I get on movies “commentaries on this DVD do not represent the views of the studio” or something like that. Just a standard CYA. Why would they publish something they think is false? Why would they risk their own credibility for doing so?

    I can’t prove that Helen and others are right because I don’t have the ability to do studies myself, but when powerful corporations and national governments want the data to show what they want, they make it happen. They have the power to discredit anyone who finds differently. People realize that their credibility and jobs may be on the line if they step out of line. In this issue the interested players are multiple and extremely powerful – the military, the defense industry as well as the nuclear power industry.

    The miracle is that global warming gets talked about at all. Pretty hard to ignore glaciers melting I guess (unless you believe Al Gore is out there every night with a blow torch). But as has been pointed out many times here, especially by Kevin and Guy the dangers and extent of GW are being underplayed even when the reality is admitted. Remember when James Hansen worked for GWG Hansen, speaking on a panel about science and the environment to a packed audience at the New School university, said that while he hopes his own agency will soon adopt a more open policy, NOAA insists on having “a minder” monitor its scientists when they discuss findings with journalists.
    “It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States,” said Hansen, prompting a round of applause. He added that while NOAA officials said they maintain the policy for their scientists’ “protection, if you buy that one please see me at the break, because there’s a bridge down the street I’d like to sell you.”

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/02/11/MNGSOH6PNL1.DTL#ixzz1IiVhwXbB

    If Hansen hadn’t spoken up would we know about this obvious attempt by the US gov’t to influence what the public learns about issues near and dear to their corporate sponsor’s hearts? If you think this isn’t going on regarding the dangers of nuclear radiation I have a bridge to sell.

  • Radionuclides are atom-sizes radiation bombs that mimic the normal atoms: entering the body like Trojan horses, they do their mischief on a very few adjacent cells. Since this mischief is random and the latency period after mutation (if one happens to occur) is quite long (even decades) direct cause-effect relationships are difficult to establish: more often, relationships are discerned in statistical analyses.
    These radionuclides persist in the environment and concentrate in the food chain. They are the greater hazard. Radiation from an external source that passes through the body at the speed of light, if intense enough, may kill by acute radiation sickness in a few days or induce mutations that will manifest in malignancies after various latent periods, but the source is usually localized and identifiable, such as a heactor core: it presents a different set of issues from, say, a contaminated backyard – which could remain contaminated for generations.
    Once those radionuclides escape containment, they are virtually impossible to corral again.

  • Kevin

    You are absolutely correct. The attention of the world towards GW is simply not there. Occasionally you have news items appear, things get hot for a while, but then the next crisis comes along, and all is forgotten again. There is a serious lack of ‘prioritisation’, if you will, over these issues. The news media tend to stay on the hot issue of the day for readership purposes. We on the receiving end are presented with a multitude of issues to deal with that no normal person can fully comprehend.

    GW is speeding up. This is truly serious….

  • sam

    it seems to me to be a lack of hard science on any side

    There is a lot of science here, but as Robin points out, the cause-effect issue is simply not visible. When radionuclides enter your body, you MAY get cancer IF the dosage is high enough AND you are exposed to it long enough. Or you may NOT get cancer. And the length of time between cause and effect is often such that it can only be determined statistically, which of course is why people on both sides of the issue are not truly able to give a convincing case for either.

    My point has always been that the notion that 1-2 million people have dies as a result of Chernobyl is based purely upon statistical results and not hard facts. And it is BAD statistics at that. It is scaremongering, pure and simple.

    May be don’t get accurate information from industry-dependent scientists on this issue. But we certainly don’t get dependable info from those such as Helen Caldicott either.

  • I must agree with |Kevin here re:Zeitgeist. Great and solid analysis – very poor on the solution side….not just poor – unworkable and little more valuable than science fiction.

  • sam

    I think you are taking the right approach. I can see both the hyperinflationist and the deflationist sides of this thing. I lean towards the deflationary side, but I am not confident in that position. As you say, the right approach is to position yourself to weather it no matter which way things go down. That starts, I would think, with reducing your debts.

  • The problem with alternative energy sources is that all of them so far are fossil fuel dependent, the technologies are also often dependent upon huge water resources or other constricted natural resources, the shoes they must fill are simply too big for the time we have left before peak oil shifts into high gear, and there is little business or political or even social pressure behind them at this point as they are more expensive than fossil fuels. I fear the expense involved in changing the global infrastructure to accommodate ocean-power, as an example, would be astronomical, and in these times the investment would not be available.

    There is a really good book available free online and written by David MacKay, one of Britain’s premier energy scientists, and entitled Sustainable Energy – without the hot air. It is a really quick and valuable read.

  • Kathy and Robin, so good to have you here for company!
    I’ve been an anti-nuke campaigner to national level for 18 years. I served 12 years in NZ army part-time, 8 as field engineer with NBC warfare training. I became aware of the DU issue as a peace activist in the late 1990’s and sent copies of scientific reports on DU contamination to NZ Govt PM, ministers, and all party defence spokespeople. I did this in late 2002 or early 2003, just before GW2. I asked them not to send NZ personnel to Afghanistan or Iraq. Apart from minor parties saying thank you to me for the heads up, I was ignored.

    I found the Monbiot-Caldicott debate to be appalling. Mainly because I still can’t get my head around how supportive of empire George is. Absolutely disgusting display of mainstream pig-ignorance, and a very good example of why we don’t need any more mainstream environmentalists, but we sure as hell need a resistance movement!

    If we turned off all the nuclear plants today, the spent fuel assemblies would have to be transferred to their pools and get their constantly changed water for many years to come….after 20 years a spent fuel assembly is still pumping out 3000 btu’s an hour…!

    IMO electricity has become an incredible curse if it comes from nuclear power. After the nuclear power stations are closed down, they will still need power to run those pumps for many years, power to run the transfer cranes, and the special waste plants to deal with putting the rods into dry storage systems….

    And at this point it would be good to start the monastic order of monks and nuns to watch over the waste dumps for the next half million years…this idea came from a top level brainstorming exercise with engineers in the US a while back…no techno solution to nuclear waste could be found, but a social solution based on passing on the knowledge of how nasty this shit is, and what a radiation warning symbol meant…might make a difference…!

    In that spirit, here’s what my friend Becky put up on her fb page:

    SANG — Suicidal Anti Nuke Grandparents (yellow canary for mascot/symbol)

    Many of us older folk have figured out Collapse ain’t gonna work too well for us. We have civ-related health issues, need civ-related meds, or are too old/tired/sick/useless to pull our own weight to do the kind of hard work that needs to be done. We also know a lot of us need to die off. We also are the ones who have lived from the birth of the nuclear age and understand all too well the horror of what man has done.

    So we agree to go clean up this plant, and all future ones. There are conditions; all things nuclear get shut down. Stopped. Ended. Period. Now. Not negotiable. Someone elsewhere mentioned a need for “monasteries” around these sites (not just plant sites, but mines and weapons places also); SANG would staff these monasteries (no one of child producing age should be allowed near any of them, just in case). These “monasters” (sounds better for guarding nukes than monks does;-) would make sure the stuff is kept as safe as can be, doesn’t have ‘issues’, and is never used again.

    We’d also draft all white collar executives of all companies that profited. SANG would take over said companies, run them (into the ground) to fund the monasteries and health care for SANG (at least morphine for pain when dying, or as an optional out). These funds would also be used to start shutting down the next death machine (coal, natural gas, oil, take your pick, I’ll let those of you who know which is the worst pick the next target).

    SANG’s first word is “Suicidal”. That means that everyone knows from the outset that we consider ourselves the walking dead. There are some strong implications of what that means: we already consider ourselves dead — we plan to die from radiation poisoning, so would ‘they’ really think we wouldn’t take their bullets instead? People who join SANG would have to consider themselves already dead, and be prepared to do what it takes to get these nuclear monsters as neutralized as we can hope for. (This, like what we’ve done to the soil and water, isn’t going to be as easy as going back to “before”; we’ve wiped out ‘before’.)

    We can co-opt “I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag” for our theme song, if Country Joe doesn’t mind too much:

    “Well, it’s 1, 2, 3, what are we fightin’ for?

    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,

    Next stop is nuclear Japan.

    And it’s 5,6,7 open up the pearly gate.

    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,

    Whoopee we’re all gonna die.”

    “Be the first one on your block
    To have Granny come home in a box”

    Why should young people w/families be the ones cleaning up this mess? (We all know who SHOULD be, and maybe a conscriptive draft of guilty politicians and corporatists might be something the Tea Party could push through for us!.

    Basically, uranium in all its lovely forms (mining, bombs, power) is already killing people — we just start choosing who and how…………

    And I’m wondering how Carter and the Elders group he’s with would go for this…………..

  • And my comment about not needing any more environmentalists came from this:

    The Failure and Future of Environmentalism
    Cameron Murphey and Lierre Keith present at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in Eugene, Oregon on March 4th, 2011.

    Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMRXT4Rg1p0

    Download as mp3 audio: http://www.mediafire.com/?84evl6so2uh7ac3

  • Kathy

    If Hansen hadn’t spoken up would we know about this obvious attempt by the US gov’t to influence what the public learns about issues near and dear to their corporate sponsor’s hearts?

    Yes, it would have come out. The issues were already visible at the time, and the government efforts to slow this information flow would have been found out – they always are. Hansen showed great courage in disclosing the government’s actions, but if he hadn’t, someone else would have eventually.

    I have never indicated that government’s and industry do not try to cloud the issues and inhibit the free flow of information.

  • Here’s a whole lot more reasons why I don’t like nuclear anything. For George to use the idea that a lot of people would die mining more coal if we stop nuclear power flies in the face of all the people already dying due to uranium mining…

    Spokane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59TR_NXyZY0&feature=player_embedded#at=434

    Laguna/Acoma Pueblo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_5s9WWc0Ks&feature=related

    Crownpoint/Navaho: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwAv6QmlBKw&feature=related (in Navajo & English)

    and here (EPA produced): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbhTcQGx17I&feature=related — “they may find more sites” — may find a barf bag handy for this one

    trailer for movie Poison Wind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbhTcQGx17I&feature=related — 19 pueblos are taking a stand


    Grants (Mt. Taylor): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux-Fg5TuOIE&feature=related

    Broken Rainbow (7 parts, deals w/Hopi/Navaho land issues): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iN3zdpdgvY&feature=related

    Dine history: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Swj696B9G-s&feature=fvwrel

  • Also to be noted is that a Geiger counter measures that part of the radiation coming at it that hits its detectors. It shows high readings near a nuclear reactor core because of the astronomical number of radionuclide atoms (= radiation bomblets) constantly going off. Each variety of bomblet has it’s own proclivity to explode: this is described as the “half-life”, the time in which half the bomblets will explode. Geiger counters do not inform about when a particular bomblet inside one’s body will explode, or how close it may be to a cell’s DNA when it does explode.
    Radiation levels that are dangerous close to a reactor may be almost undetectable 6,000 miles from the reactor, but it does not address the issue of the unexplored bomblets that get into one’s body and are then esconsced adjacent one’s cells.

  • Following on from Kevin’s post, one of the articles linked in it provides a bit more info concerning the Gulf Stream disruption aspect:

    Why build-up of fresh water in Arctic could spell trouble for Britain


    A quote from it:
    Studies have shown that a surface layer of fresher water in the Arctic Ocean has increased in volume by about 20 per cent over the past two decades. Scientists believe this is the result of melting sea ice and an increased flow of rivers from Siberia and Canada carrying large volumes of meltwater from permafrost regions.

    In the Canada Basin area of the Arctic to the west of Greenland, for instance, scientists are monitoring a huge pool of icy meltwater more than 7,500 cubic kilometres in size, which is about twice the volume of Africa’s Lake Victoria. This pool of cold freshwater, which is less dense than the saltier seawater on which it floats, is being kept in its place by circulating winds.

    The scientists are concerned that a sudden change in wind patterns might send this fresher water south via the Labrador Current into the North Atlantic where it could interfere with the complex “thermohaline” ocean circulation. These currents, which keep the warm Gulf Stream flowing towards Britain and the rest of north-west Europe, flow between the sea surface and the seabed and are controlled by the relative saltiness of seawater.

    “In the past we know that a sudden change in Atlantic currents has happened because of a relatively sudden release of freshwater into the North Atlantic. We can imagine that it could happen again,” said Benjamin Rabe, of Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven.

    As many of you are aware, Britain and Northern Europe had a significantly harsher winter this year. It was apparently for a similar reason – the change in prevailing winds due to a warmer Polar region caused a disruption in the flow of warmer weather conditions across Britain. That warmer weather was sent in a southerly direction leaving Britain exposed to more Arctic weather. For a while it was quite chilly here.

    It might be useful to bring out another popular misconception at this point. Global Warming leads to abrupt climate change – or as Kevin is fond of saying, Climate Instability, which is a more accurate term, I believe. This does not necessarily mean the whole planet gets hot (which it could of course, and will if things continue), but instead that we will experience large variations in climate across the globe that both we and the rest of the flora and fauna will have great difficulty in adapting to. In other words, Bor a time, Britain could indeed become like Siberia. Could we readily adapt to a sudden change like that? I think not.

  • Ted Howard makes a good point when he brings out the difficulties involved in shutting down a nuclear power plant. This is an extremely serious concern even today as older reactors are scheduled to be decommissioned and replaced. The time and expense involved is quite significant. We are talking years (really decades) and billions of dollars.

    But of greater importance to us in the Collapse community is the terrible question remaining during and after Collapse – What happens when you can’t keep the plant operating and you can’t shut it down? We have well over 400 nuclear plants in the world – what happens when these are at risk of being abandoned for lack of money, governance, collapsed commerce, and die-off? At some point their cooling systems would fail, and after that meltdown. Left untended, these reactors could literally burn away for many, many years spewing out enormous clouds of radioactivity across the globe. This is a very real scenario in my mind – and one of the ultimate nightmare scenarios.

    And before you say it, yes, I DO believe that heavy and sustained radioactive emissions are highly toxic to the animal and plant life.

    The inability to shut down nuclear power plants in a controlled manner is one of my prime reasons for seeking to shut down all existing reactors before Collapse. But of course, that will never happen given current conditions.

  • Radiation levels that are dangerous close to a reactor may be almost undetectable 6,000 miles from the reactor, but it does not address the issue of the unexplored bomblets that get into one’s body and are then esconsced adjacent one’s cells.


    This is, of course true. But in most cases our bodies are able to repair the damage or ignore it without consequence. Occasionally we get cancer though – not always, but occasionally. Even there, as you say, the cause-effect connection is not always clear.

    Certainly if we are continuously bombarded with high doses of radiation over an extended time, those chances of dying or contracting cancer rise dramatically – thus my statement about unmanaged shut-downs above.

    Our fear in this area is on the irrational side. It has similarities to the so-called War on Terrorism where in our national fear of terrorism everyone becomes a potential terrorist and Al Qaeda is everywhere and all powerful and all Muslims are bad people.

  • Ted, where do I sign up for SANG?

  • Victor, I wasn’t saying GW wouldn’t come out, I was saying the assignment of a “minder” on Hansen wouldn’t have come out if he hadn’t spoken out.

    Using minders or other pressure is BAU for the government in the US, they learn it from their corporate sponsors.


    It would be naive to think that the US or the UK doesn’t use any form of pressure they think will work to get studies to say just what they want them to say. It would be naive to think that only those like Hansen who speak out about it are subject to this pressure.

  • victor
    There is a lot of science here, but as Robin points out, the cause-effect issue is simply not visible. When radionuclides enter your body, you MAY get cancer IF the dosage is high enough AND you are exposed to it long enough
    Certainly if we are continuously bombarded with high doses of radiation over an extended time, those chances of dying or contracting cancer rise

    my point has been, as robin is making… is there is no science to tell me when…we have I131 present now + others…to tell my neighbors who still use their cistern water they collect off their roof. Not to use..at least not to drink it.

    when the particles go in & bounce around it sounds like it becomes a probability game; no harm, or damage a cell’s dna; maybe to show up later as cancer. i can not find/verify any numbers/science except for exposure…

    hence robin’s point
    it does not address the issue of the unexplored bomblets that get into one’s body and are then esconsced adjacent one’s cells.

    & yes victor; u’r scenario re nuclear plants in a collapse is horrifying.

  • ted
    that was great. laughed; cried!