Rain was falling so lightly that it felt like wet wind when Koko, Pa`ele and I went walking this morning. It was just enough to make my skin shine, the dogs’ fur glisten, and as it grew heavier, I wondered how much radiation it carried, and recalled the words on one web site: “There is no safe dose of radiation.”
I thought of a woman who told me she had forbidden her children and grandchildren to go to the beach, because she was worried about their exposure to radiation in the water. So she keeps them inside, where they’re all exposed to her second hand cigarette smoke.
And that made me think of the mother I heard the other day yelling at her child, who looked to be about three, “Get in the house before I break your arm.”
Which made me think of concerns I heard voiced the other day that funding for Section 8 (HUD) housing may be dramatically cut, which prompted the City and County of Honolulu to send out a heads-up to all their Section 8 recipients, which caused those of us who heard this news to ask, “What will happen to all those people on Section 8? Are they just going to end up homeless?”
"But what do you do when there is no more money?" countered the bearer of the news.
Except there is money — for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now Libya, where, according to a report on Democracy Now! today, the allied forces are going well “beyond the United Nations mandate authorizing air strikes to protect civilians and impose a no-fly zone” and vowing to keep up the fight until Gaddafi is overthrown, regardless of the cost in property and lives.
That reminded me of the warning that a Honolulu businessman gave the other day, about how insurance companies seeking to recover their losses on the Japan tsunami and earthquake will be dramatically raising premiums next year, and how that’s going to have global implications.
Which made me think of a New Yorker article I read recently about how commercial nuclear energy was going nowhere until Congress created a government-run insurance pool for the industry. The article went on to report:
After several decades and billions of dollars’ worth of studies, the U.S. still does not have a plan for developing a long-term storage facility for radioactive waste, much of which will remain dangerous for millennia. Instead, spent-fuel rods are stored at each of the country’s hundred and four nuclear power plants. More than two dozen reactors in the U.S. have aboveground storage pools similar to those that have failed at Fukushima—the only difference is that the American pools contain far more waste than their Japanese counterparts. In a conference call with reporters the other day, David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and the director of the Nuclear Safety Project of the Union of Concerned Scientists, called the risks currently posed by spent-fuel pools in the U.S. “about as high as you could possibly make them.”
And that made me think of a guy I heard on KKCR the other day — I didn’t catch his name, because the hosts so often fail to re-introduce their studio guests for the benefit of those who tune in late — talking about how he was trying to get some sort of hydro project with what sounded like a hydrogen energy storage component going here on Kauai. But apparently he hadn’t been finding much receptivity, and it pissed him off, not only because people weren’t embracing what he was trying to "give them," but they were asking how would it impact the endangered native Newcomb’s snails and or affect stream flow.
His take was, who gives a shit about the snails and stream flow when oil is killing whales and dolphins and warming the planet. And while it’s true that oil is a killer and our love affair with it is indeed a Faustian bargain, does that mean we should just ignore the environmental impacts of alternative energy sources?
Which made me think of people who write in comments that I shouldn’t get worked up about the chicken manure being used on the beach at Haena when there are more serious problems in the world. Which there are, but does that mean you can only choose to focus on one problem at a time, or ignore your own backyard while worrying about Libya or Japan or global warming or plutonium?
And that made me think about another comment that was made about how there was no more naupaka in front of Pierce Brosnan’s house than any other along that coastline, which is exactly the point: one person does it and gets away with it, then the neighbors follow suit and pretty soon the whole beach is planted.