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The End of Nuclear and its Timing PDF Print E-mail
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by Jan Lundberg   
12 March 2011
Image Three days before the Fukushima nuclear power explosion, I made this comment on a peace activist's Facebook page: "I believe a successful, final anti-nuke campaign will only take place in one of two ways: (1) collapse puts the entire infrastructure of industry and consumption out of business, forcing the survivors to minimally babysit the nukes forever, or, there's an accident or deliberate blast or meltdown that motivates people all over the world to shut down the mechanical beast once and for all."

I didn't think it would come so soon. But that has been the pattern for our planet in peril in recent years: acceleration of disasters, climate destabilization, peak oil, strife such as wars and revolutions, extremes of elitist wealth and overwhelming poverty, fresh water depletion -- all prelude to complete collapse. However, to use the equivalent of jiu-jitsu or aikido to rapidly channel the onslaught of negative energy toward something positive is our duty and opportunity. It takes not only a mass awakening to the insane futility of nuclear power, but a realization that the present system; a.k.a. Western Civilization, is hitting bottom. As glorifying as our civilization is in some respects, the extinction of species and the sprawling, cancerous waste known as development (for profit of the few) are impossible to ignore and excuse.

drawing and concept by Emerson Scott, age 11, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Almost everyone in the world has been propagandized to believe we need energy in such quantities and forms that nuclear and coal must be tolerated and pursued. Yes, we're strung out on dirty energy and many people feel hopeless to do without it. Many want to feel comfortably ready to let go of deadly energy only when substitutes are in place. But questioning the purported need for massive quantities of energy leads one to notice overpopulation as well as the lifestyle of accumulating more and more material things. We need to go further by resisting the techno-topian dream of a "clean energy economy" -- for this fantasy for a huge-scale replacement of fossil fuels serves to obscure the imperative to slash per capita energy use now in industrialized countries. Only speedy curtailment, along with unprecedented global tree planting, allows us to realistically imagine turning around human-caused global warming.

We're culturally damaged

For the Earth's population to be more and more individually and globally f***ed is something we are expected to keep tolerating. As the planet fries, the corporate mass media and governments don't urge us to change anything whatsoever. They expect us to accept no end of harm and short-sighted policies, while soothing our feelings about economic failure. The dominant paradigm is more clearly bankrupt and irreparable by the day. So our only hope is to live the future we need now. One can do that individually to a degree, but in concert the effect is exponential. Together we can start to reject extinction by never forgetting that nuclear energy and nuclear weapons are joined at the hip, and radioactive waste and fallout can last thousands of years.


I, for one, cannot take this separateness. That's the mood that across-the-board separateness, failure and desperation put me in. How can I, or anyone, make myself feel better? With an 8.9 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, I've exhausted my avenues for the moment. But we must carry on and stop wasting time. Certain things are past anyone's control, namely general collapse of industrial society through economic meltdown, and what I've termed climate extinction. Yet:

Maybe the challenges of our industrial culture let-down, and modern society's lack of solidarity between people, are felt by enough of us by now to show us we really need love. David Brower, the anti-nuclear dean of the environmental movement (1912-2000), said love is the only resource that grows the more you use it. One can describe our materialist, ecocidal culture today as lacking love. When we gravitate toward loving and mutual support, realizing that shopping and consuming gave rise to disaster and don't satisfy anymore, a new day can dawn. En fin!

graphic by Greg Jalbert, Culture Change

* * * * *

Further Reading:

Japan's Quake Could Have Irradiated the Entire US, Mar 11, 2011 by Harvey Wasserman

Nuclear articles on Culture Change:


Can the world run on renewables, nuclear energy and geo-sequestration? The negative case, by Ted Trainer, 23 June 2010

Obama Has Fanned the Flames of Nuclear Development, by Roger Herried, 19 September 2009


Why nuclear energy is not the answer to Climate Change, July 26, 2009, by Ben Williams

Everything Nuclear, Jun 8, 2009: "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nuclear Power* but were afraid to ask"

Nuclear Power - One of Humankind's Biggest Mistakes, Feb 1, 2009, by Jim Bell

Three Mile Island Killed People / Nuclear Industry's Despicable Regulatory Record, Mar 24, 2009, by Harvey Wasserman / Peter A. Bradford


Why a Nuclear Free World is Important, Jan. 31, 2009, by Roger Herried

More Accidents Await with President Obama's Errant Energy Policies, June 21, 2010, by Dr. Brent Blackwelder

Radiation Dangers Allowed to Proliferate for the Consumer, Mar. 11, 2009, by Roger Herried

Nuclear Power Cannot Solve Climate Change, Mar. 31, 2009, by Katherine Ling

Uranium Mining Poisons Native Americans, Feb 25, 2009, by Jeff Gerritsen

Goodbye to the War Party (Republicrats et al) and the nuclear threat, Jan Lundberg, Culture Change Letter #29, August 10, 2003.

Comments (4)Add Comment
Good, Jan. I'm thinking along the same lines. When I got up this morning and heard that the problem in the Fukushima nuclear plants is that they violated safety protocols, I immediately thought of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which was also the result of cutting corners on safety. Why do companies cut corners on safety? To save money! Why else would they endanger human life? Why else do they take other risks? It's all about money! Nothing else is sacred. In an economic system in which only profit is sacred, it will take severe shocks and losses to remind people what is really, truly sacred - that which perpetuates life at a fundamental level: clean water and air, fertile soil, relatively stable climate, a functional ecosystem and biosphere.

The irony is that, at the rate this civilization is turning the living Earth into junk and waste and pollution, the things that are worth loving, that are truly sacred, are increasingly endangered and disappearing. And it is this deplorable process - that of industrial civilization as a whole - that the nuclear industry proposes to perpetuate! Think about it! And what's the end game of nuclear power after the oil and fuel are gone and the infrastructure can no longer be maintained? Would life on Earth be possible when hundreds of nuclear power plants have gone into meltdown?

Yes, let's end the nuclear madness now!
Suzanne Duarte
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I'm logging ionizing events using a simple Geiger-Müller counter. Let's see if anything measurable floats across the Pacific. Current background level is between 10.9 and 12.5 counts per minute.
Jan Steinman
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From The Oil Drum's March 12th. Drumbeat:

Jerry McManus:

"Nuclear energy is like grilling in the garden over a pile of hot lava. Works great, that is if you don't mind how difficult and expensive hot lava is, or the occasional explosion that takes out the entire neighborhood, or the fact that what's tipped into the dust bin will be lethal for thousands of years. Otherwise, enjoy your steak!


"...I believe Amory Lovins referred to nuclear as 'like cutting butter with a chainsaw'."
Caelan MacIntyre
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thanks so much for this inspiring article. countering propaganda insisting that increased consumption of energy from planet-destroying sources is the only way forward is the focus of my work as a conceptual artist and environmental activist. my proposal to the buckminster fuller institute addresses these themes more on the project here as part of my work i host a resources conservation awareness group on facebook called USE HALF NOW i believe that the will to radically reduce consumption of nonrenewable resources and begin planet restoration by planting trees is possible - but it will only happen if/when humanity comes to the true realization of our interconnectedness with one other and with nature.
alyce santoro
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