Archive for April, 2015

Scientists detect Fukushima radiation on North American shores

BREAKING NEWS – Scientists detect Fukushima radiation on North American shores” — Coastal communities ‘concerned’ — Over 7 Bq/m3 of cesium from dock in Pacific Northwest — Professor: It indicates arrival of other radioactive substances — “Represents potential radiological health risk” (VIDEO)

 

Statesman Journal, Apr 6, 2015: BREAKING NEWS Scientists detect Fukushima radiation on North American shores — Seaborne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has reached North America… cesium-134 and cesium-137 in a sample of seawater taken in February from a dock on Vancouver Island… It’s the first time radioactivity from the March 2011 triple meltdown has been identified on West Coast shores [see: April 2011 — California seawater squeezed from kelp sample had 400,000 Bq/m3 of Iodine-131]… sample was taken Feb. 19… It contained 1.5 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m3) of cesium-134, the Fukushima fingerprint, and 5 Bq/m3 of cesium-137 [actually 1.4 and 5.8, respectively]… Fukushima radiation concerns coastal communities… models have predicted that in general, the plume would hit the shore in the north first, then head south toward California… currents can be unpredictable… Woods Hole has received support from the National Science Foundation to analyze about 250 seawater samples that will be collected next month…

CTVNews, Apr 6, 2015: First low-level trace of Fukushima radioactivity detected off B.C. — But the levels are so low they are likely of little concern… Still, researchers say this is the first detectable of radioactivity from Fukushima found in a water sample taken from the U.S. and Canadian West Coast… Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at WHOI who has been measuring radioactivity in Pacific seawater since 2011, says it’s been important to carefully monitor the oceans, given that the Fukushima disaster saw the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history.

Buesseler’s statement: “Even if the levels were twice as high, you could still swim in the ocean for six hours every day for a year and receive a dose more than a thousand times less than a single dental X-ray. While that’s not zero, that’s a very low risk.. We expect more of the sites will show detectable levels… Predicting the spread of radiation becomes more complex the closer it gets.”

CBC Radio, March 2015: Four years after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, scientists like UVic’s Jay Cullen are still monitoring the Pacific waters near us for radiation. Listen to what he’s found and what he hasn’t… Cullen: “If we see cesium-134 in a water sample or a fish for example we know that that’s been affected by the Fukushima disaster… Not only is cesium a marker for other isotopes that were released… it also represents a potential radiological health risk because if its internalized… it can damage our cells and cause illness. So the risk of illness appearing in individuals relates to the activity, how much of that isotope ends up in their body. Given the nature of this disaster, with most of the isotopes going into the North Pacific Ocean, the most likely way that a human being would be exposed to this radioactivity at this point would be through the consumption of seafood.” >> Full interview here

Watch Woods Hole’s latest projection of Fukushima Cs-137 levels through 2021 here

 

Related Posts

  1. “Radioactive metal from Fukushima” detected in Pacific Northwest — Professor: “That was a surprise, it means there are still emissions … and trans-Pacific air pollution… It’s a concern to us, this is an international issue” March 12, 2014
  2. US Nuclear Professor: Fukushima “a really major event here”, Washington had radioactive aerosols 100,000 times normal; “Far more bigger accident than we’re hearing” — Model shows West Coast completely blacked out due to particles covering area — Gundersen: Lung cancers to start increasing in Pacific Northwest (AUDIO) November 16, 2014
  3. “Prestigious group of international scientists” interested in risk to West Coast from Fukushima radioactive plume — “Major concern for public health of coastal communities” — Bioaccumulation potential in region must be understood April 30, 2014
  4. Professor: California bluefin tuna may have been contaminated by radioactive substances from Fukushima that traveled across Pacific, rather than contamination off coast of Japan — We don’t know exactly what is happening (VIDEO) October 10, 2013
  5. California Official: Information on risk from Fukushima needs to be made public — State in contact with NRC — CBS: ‘Health Scare Over Possible Fukushima Radiation In Pacific-Caught Fish’ — Surfer: I’d never go surfing right now (VIDEO) January 11, 2014

‘Dear Humanity, We Have a Systems Problem’: New Project Aims to Promote Deep Solutions, Radical Transformation

‘It’s time to talk about alternatives,’ says team of thinkers behind the Next System Project

by
Jon Queally

The newly launched project argues that ‘large-scale system change is needed’ to address humanity’s deepest crises, but that cautious optimism is warranted because social, economic and political alternatives do exist. (Image: thenextsystem.org)

“It’s time to talk about what’s next.”

“It is time for Americans to think boldly about … what it will take to move our country to a very different place, one where outcomes that are truly sustainable, equitable, and democratic are commonplace.”

Those are the words of academic and author Gar Alperovitz, founder of the Democracy Collaborative, who—alongside veteran environmentalist Gus Speth—this week launched a new initiative called the “Next Systems Project” which seeks to address the interrelated threats of financial inequality, planetary climate disruption, and money-saturated democracies by advocating for deep, heretofore radical transformations of the current systems that govern the world’s economies, energy systems, and political institutions.

As part of the launch, the Next Systems Project produced this video which features prominent progressive figures such as actor and activist Danny Glover, economist Juliet Schor, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, labor rights activist Sarita Gupta, and others:

According to the project’s website, the effort is a response to a tangible and widespread “hunger for a new way forward” capable of addressing various social problems by injecting “the central idea of system change” into the public discourse. The goal of the project—described as an ambitious multi-year initiative—would be to formulate, refine, and publicize “comprehensive alternative political-economic system models” that would, in practice, prove that achieving “superior social, economic and ecological outcomes” is not just desirable, but possible.

“By defining issues systemically,” the project organizers explain, “we believe we can begin to move the political conversation beyond current limits with the aim of catalyzing a substantive debate about the need for a radically different system and how we might go about its construction. Despite the scale of the difficulties, a cautious and paradoxical optimism is warranted. There are real alternatives. Arising from the unforgiving logic of dead ends, the steadily building array of promising new proposals and alternative institutions and experiments, together with an explosion of ideas and new activism, offer a powerful basis for hope.”

The mission statement of the project—articulated in a short document titled It’s Time to Face the Depth of the Systemic Crisis We Confront (pdf)—has been endorsed by an impressive list of more than 350 contemporary journalists, activists, academics, and thought leaders from various disciplines who all agree  the current political and economic system is serving the interests of “corporate profits, the growth of GDP, and the projection of national power” while ignoring the needs and wellbeing of people, communities, ecosystems and the planet as a whole.

The statement addresses the dire crisis that now confronts humanity, but also marks the important element of optimism which undergirds the project. It reads, in part:

The good news is that the inability of traditional politics and policies to address fundamental challenges has fueled an extraordinary amount of experimentation in communities across the United States—and around the world. It has also generated an increasing number of sophisticated and thoughtful proposals for transformative change. Together these developments suggest that it is possible to build a new and better America beyond the failed systems of the past and present. […]

It is time for Americans to think boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic difficulties facing the United States. It is time to explore genuine alternatives and new models—”the next system.” It is time to debate what it will take to move our country to a very different place, one where outcomes that are truly sustainable, equitable, and democratic are commonplace.

As part of the official launch, the team behind the project published a kick-off report—titled The New System Project: New Political-Economic Possibilities for the 21st Century (pdf)—which lays out the problems and the proposed set of solutions in more detail. Key goals of the project, as listed in the report, include:

  • To crack through the national media silence and to radically shift the national dialogue about the future away from narrow debates about policies that do not alter any significant decaying trend to awareness that what must be changed is the nature of the political-economic system itself.
  • To stimulate national debate about how best to conceive different possible models of a radically different system based on genuine democracy, equality, ecological sustainability, a peaceful global foreign policy, and a thorough-going culture of cooperative community based on non-violence and respect for differences of race, gender, and sexual preference.
  • To give publicity to the many “next system” models and approaches now being developed and refined in many parts of the nation and around the world.
  • To engage committed academics, on the one hand, and activist organizers and thinkers, on the other, in an ongoing process of close collaborative work and common development in furtherance of such work.
  • To help develop concrete “elements” that will likely be required to deal with the structural reorganization of any next system design— and, at the same time, to invest in and work with others to help nurture a rising generation of young scholars who can carry the work forward over the coming decades.

Next month, as part of the project’s public engagement strategy, key members and supporters—including Alperovitz and Speth—will participate in an online webinar in order to expand the conversation about these ideas with people across the country.

According to Alperovitz and Speth, bringing people together around these ideas is one of the key aspects of the new project. As they note in an essay published on Common Dreams, “If we can roll up our sleeves and get organized and serious about really tackling the system question, about building a new system of political economy, there are grounds for optimism that deep and far-reaching change is possible.”

Let the conversation begin.

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