If you have any environment-related information, comments, inspirations, suggestions, links, humour, charities, environmentally-friendly products and businesses, or environmental issues and actions (eg petitions) - anything related to the environment and nature appreciation, fun or issues, we look forward to your addition to our Environmental Blog!
GLOBAL FOOD WASTAGE
Thank you to James for this submission via Insinkerator. To view the below infographic in detail, together with commentary regarding the world's dire food wastage problems, please click here.
Bad news A new study out shows that there is way more plastic in the ocean than we thought.
If you care about the environment and the health of our planet and food, please read this article about Monsanto here.
27-29 November Act Against Climate Change March!
Australia is kicking off the wave. This weekend, there are 55 People’s Climate Marches in towns and cities right across Australia, setting the tone for more than 2000 events in 150 countries. That's 2000 events! 4. This is massive. In Australia 345 organisations are working together day and night to make this march happen. Unions, faith, Indigenous, health, environment and community groups. Wow! When children ask what you did to stop climate change, you can say you didn’t sit at home. You were there, you marched, you were part of the movement that changed the world.
• Melbourne: 5.30pm, Friday 27 November 2015, State Library
• Brisbane: 9.30am, Saturday 28 November, Queen's Park
• Darwin: 4.30pm, Saturday 28 November, Stokes Hill Wharf
• Adelaide: 11am, Sunday 29 November 2015, Ester Lipman Gardens, beside Torrens Parade Ground
• Canberra: 12pm, Sunday 29 November 2015, Parliament Lawns
• Sydney: 12.30pm for a 1pm start, Sunday 29 November 2015, The Domain
• Hobart: 1pm, Sunday 29 November 2015, Parliament Lawns
• Perth: 1pm, Sunday 29 November 2015, Wellington Square
• Other cities: Join People’s Climate Marches in 47 regional towns and cities!
More here - http://www.peoplesclimate.org.au/brisbane/…
DID YOU KNOW THAT SHELL NOW HAS CLEARANCE TO DRILL THE ARCTIC, AND IS KEEN TO GET STARTED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE?!
Shell would like to be seen as environmentally responsible. Its PR machine makes all the right noises. However, actions speak louder. This company is right now drilling in the Arctic, with a high probability of disaster.
Apart from the risk of devastating oil spills, we must slow climate change, by getting off humanity's addiction to carbon fuels. The oil of the Arctic must not be used.
Shell should put its resources into developing and marketing alternatives. It is being left behind. Either change, or die.
I refuse to buy petrol and other products from Shell until it reverses its decision to drill in the Arctic. Please pledge to join me, Dr Bob Rich.
Sign and share this petition to declare you will boycott Shell until they stop drilling in the Arctic, trashing one of the world's most pristine and important environmental areas and risking the magnificent wild-life that inhabits it.
When we allow oil drilling in sensitive areas like the Arctic, this is what we risk happening again! See pictures below.
Growing concern world-wide of the dangers of GMO (genetically-modified or genetically-engineered organisms) foods, with many countries banning the growing of GMO crops, and introduction of food labelling indicating whether products contain GMO ingredients. Australia and a handful of other countries lag behind, with NO GMO labelling in place.
"Something to think about: The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. Let's scale that to 46 years. We have been here for 4 hours. Our industrial revolution began 1 minute ago. In that time, we have destroyed more than 50% of the worlds forests, and over 52% of the world's animal species. How "on Earth" is this sustainable?"
The following information is courtesy of The Guardian:
Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF
Species across land, rivers and seas decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats
The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.
“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing.
“We have lost one half of the animal population and knowing this is driven by human consumption, this is clearly a call to arms and we must act now,” said Mike Barratt, director of science and policy at WWF. He said more of the Earth must be protected from development and deforestation, while food and energy had to be produced sustainably.
The steep decline of animal, fish and bird numbers was calculated by analysing 10,000 different populations, covering 3,000 species in total. This data was then, for the first time, used to create a representative “Living Planet Index” (LPI), reflecting the state of all 45,000 known vertebrates.
“We have all heard of the FTSE 100 index, but we have missed the ultimate indicator, the falling trend of species and ecosystems in the world,” said Professor Jonathan Baillie, ZSL’s director of conservation. “If we get [our response] right, we will have a safe and sustainable way of life for the future,” he said.
If not, he added, the overuse of resources would ultimately lead to conflicts. He said the LPI was an extremely robust indicator and had been adopted by UN’s internationally-agreed Convention on Biological Diversity as key insight into biodiversity.
The report concludes that today’s average global rate of consumption would need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain it. But four planets would be required to sustain US levels of consumption, or 2.5 Earths to match UK consumption levels.
The fastest decline among the animal populations were found in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75% since 1970. “Rivers are the bottom of the system,” said Dave Tickner, WWF’s chief freshwater adviser. “Whatever happens on the land, it all ends up in the rivers.” For example, he said, tens of billions of tonnes of effluent are dumped in the Ganges in India every year.
As well as pollution, dams and the increasing abstraction of water damage freshwater systems. There are more than 45,000 major dams – 15m or higher – around the world. “These slice rivers up into a thousand pieces,” Tickner said, preventing the healthy flow of water. While population has risen fourfold in the last century, water use has gone up sevenfold. “We are living thirstier and thirstier lives,” he said.
The complete article including photographs and graphs can be viewed here.
The above graph reveals the "tentacles" of the 10 major corporations that own nearly everything you buy. These companies are responsible for horrendous animal testing and mass environmental destruction. If you want to avoid putting more money in their coffers and taking the power back for the people, choose products from smaller, ethical businesses that value our world, human rights and animal welfare. There are viable, high quality alternatives to all the products provided by these giant corporations. Most of the food products provided by these mega-companies also include GMO ingredients (laboratory genetically-engineered ingredients) that have the potential to cause long term injurious effects to our health and the environment. Your consumer dollars and purchase choices can help protect and restore the world or contribute to further destruction by supporting these powerful companies.
The Blue Mountains area in Australia is a World Heritage site, home to rare plant and animal species. But it is now at serious risk from coal seam gas exploration. Please sign this petition and share, to help protect this important wilderness area.
The Spirit of Our Planet - Gaia
The Pale Blue Dot - the Only home we have ever known - Carl Sagan video
The Earth is where we make our stand – The Pale Blue Dot and the Only home we have ever known. This photograph of Earth taken by Voyager 1 was dubbed "Pale Blue Dot."
Video narration by renowned scientist Carl Sagan
“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."
"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."
"The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
Comment - S.D. - Online Publisher - Great Mystery Publishing
We are not helpless. We, humanity, have created these problems the world now faces. It is up to US to fix them, or let the problems we have generated destroy us and every other living thing. Speak up, act on the principles of compassion, vote for those who have policies of welfare, kindness and ecological responsibility, live a lifestyle that helps not hurts the planet and each other, make a small difference, and together we will make a BIG difference. If we act now, if we act together, we can turn this around. Are you ready to make a positive difference?
More information about this video - The Sagan Series is an educational project working in the hopes of promoting scientific literacy in the general population. Created by @ReidGower http://twitter.com/reidgower - Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. All copyrighted materials contained herein belong to their respective copyright holders, I do not claim ownership over any of these materials. I realize no profit, monetary or otherwise, from the exhibition of these videos.
How a grass roots community effort is showing the world how we can beat climate change...
BEES BEING POISONED TO EXTINCTION!!
Recent scientific studies have shown what is causing mass bee deaths. (Bees are crucial to the propagation of our food crops, and therefore our very survival!) As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.
Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.
When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.
Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.
“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.
Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.
Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.
In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But vanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health.
“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,” he says. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”
The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying.
“It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,” says vanEngelsdorp.
Above story courtesy of http://qz.com/107970/scientists-discover-whats-killing-the-bees-and-its-worse-than-you-thought/
Photo :AP Photo/Ben Margot
Earth 2 Hub31 minutes ago
Recycling a stack of newspaper just 3 feet high saves one tree. More than 37% of the fiber used to make new paper products in the U.S. comes from recycled sources. More: http://eartheasy.com/live_recycling.htm For more, please visit: http://earth2hub.com/blog/e2_sci_fact E2 Sci-Fact #34 on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/pin/87609155224026051/ Let’s make an app that enables us to engage and interact with inspirational new science and tech while on-the-go! Help Make Earth 2 Hub App Happen! Please, visit our Kickstarter Project here » http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/frankdasilva/earth-2-hub-help-us-create-e2h-app Earth 2 Hub™ - Celebrating the Power of the Possible. Powered by socialditto 17 likes · 0 comments
Science-fact49 minutes ago
Now you see it. Now you don't. Alaska's disappearing Muir Glacier (1941, 2004) via NASA's Climate 365: http://climate365.tumblr.com/ NASA’s GRACE satellites find Alaskan glaciers lost an average of 46 gigatons of ice each year from 2003 to 2010. Details: http://go.nasa.gov/157lcpf Via National Aeronautics and Space Administration - NASA Powered by socialditto 147 likes · 15 comments
The above clip shows the dire consequences of allowing plastic into our waterways. Plastic trash in oceans enters the marine food chain.
The Eclectic Mind23 days ago
★“Mother Trees” Use Fungal Communication Systems to Preserve Forests★ Suzanne Simard, forest ecologist at the University of British Columbia, and her colleagues have made the major discovery that trees and plants really do communicate and interact with each other. She discovered an underground web of fungi connecting the trees and plants of an ecosystem. This symbiosis enables the purposeful sharing of resources, consequently helping the whole system of trees and plants to flourish. Simard was lead to the discovery by the observation of webs of bright white and yellow fungal threads in the forest floor. Many of these fungi were mycorrhizal, meaning they have a beneficial, symbiotic relationship with a a host plant, in this case tree roots. Microscopic experimentation revealed that the fungi actually moves carbon, water and nutrients between trees, depending upon their needs. “The big trees were subsidizing the young ones through the fungal networks. Without this helping hand, most of the seedlings wouldn’t make it.” At the hub of a forest’s mycorrhizal network stand the “Mother Trees”. These are large, older trees that rise above the forest, a concept illustrated in the movie Avatar. These “Mother Trees” are connected to all the other trees in the forest by this network of fungal threads, and may manage the resources of the whole plant community. Simard’s latest research reveals that when a Mother Tree is cut down, the survival rate of the younger members of the forest is substantially diminished. What we think we know, is that there’s some kind of electrochemical communication between the roots of the trees. Like the synapses between neurons. Dr. Grace Augustine, fictional character in “Avatar” The concept of symbiotic plant communication has far reaching implications in both the forestry and agricultural industries. This revelation may change the way we approach harvesting forests, by leaving the Mother Trees in tact to foster regrowth. In agriculture, undisturbed mycorrhiza systems enhance plant’s ability to resist pathogens, and absorb water and nutrients from the soil, bringing into question common practices that disturb these underground networks, such as plowing. SOURCE: http://www.ecology.com/2012/10/08/trees-communicate/ ~ TAG ♥ SHARE ~ Powered by socialditto 9 likes · 1 comments
One of the greatest threats to our environment is the thoughtless disposal of our rubbish. When we do not recycle or dispose of our trash in the proper way, the environment and animals that depend on a healthy ecosystem (and this includes humans) are put at risk. Below are some sad examples of how our waste, if not disposed of in the correct way, causes misery and death. Even cigarette butts thrown into the gutter are washed out into the waterways and out to sea, killing hundreds of thousands of seabirds and oceanic life each year through ingestion. If something cannot be recycled, dispose of it thoughtfully.
Be the change you want to see in the world2 hours ago
Plastic Disaster in Hong Kong >>> HK struggles to clean plastic pellets from beaches The cleanup from Hong Kong's worst typhoon in 13 years could take months, the government said Monday, after hundreds of millions of plastic pellets washed onto beaches from containers that fell off a ship. http://youtu.be/vvLw9oMZ6Ds Environmental groups are concerned the pellets will absorb toxins and pollutants and then be eaten by fish that may in turn be eaten by humans. They're also worried rare marine species such as the Chinese white dolphin could be threatened by the pollutants. Also known as nurdles, the pellets are used by factories to make plastic products. Authorities say six containers filled with the pellets were lost from a ship in waters south of Hong Kong when it was caught in Typhoon Vicente last month. Several hundred volunteers at one beach Sunday used trowels, paintbrushes, dustpans and sieves to painstakingly pick up the translucent pellets, which coated the shore. "It's a bit overwhelming. It seems like we can't get rid of them even though there are hundreds of people here," said Mathis Antony, one of the volunteers on Lamma Island off the western coast of Hong Kong Island. "It looks like it's going to take a lot more to clean it up." The volunteers filled dozens of garbage bags but there were still many pellets left at the end of the day, piled like snow between rocks. The government said Monday it would deploy additional manpower and contract out work to speed the cleanup, which could still take several months. The typhoon prompted authorities to raise the storm warning system to its highest level, indicating hurricane-force winds of 118 kilometers (73 miles) an hour or more, for the first time since 1999. The government said large amounts of pellets have been found at 10 beaches. At some beaches, numerous sacks filled with pellets and bearing the markings of the manufacturer, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, have also washed ashore. About half of the 150 tons of pellets in the containers have been collected so far, the government said, including 50 tons from sacks found at sea and 21 tons that were washed ashore. Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/HK-struggles-to-clean-plastic-pellets-from-beaches-3764761.php#ixzz233Aa7Qoc SIGN >>> http://www.thepetitionsite.com/627/760/356/plastic-disaster-in-hong-kong/ Powered by socialditto 4 likes · 1 comments
Eagle Creek, Mount Hood National Forest, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
White Wolf1 day ago
"Summit Dreams" - Ferrando Flores Rafael
Originally, this Environment Blog resided in Great Mystery Publishing's - The Gallery, so with the launching of this new part of the GMP not-for-profit, community service venture, it seemed highly appropriate to move the Environment Blog to the Hope and Joy Network.
Since our Environment Blog, in its' previous incarnation, had some wonderful posts, we thought it was important to move a selection of the old posts across to get things started on this site. You can see these posts below.
3/3/2011 Pete H.
As we are all consumers, I think that a good start for people wanting to make a difference is to consider the ethical aspects surrounding their purchases (Is production environmentally-friendly? Does the company producing the product treat their workers well? Is there cruelty to animals involved? etc.). To help us with these choices, this site is a great resource: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org
25/3/2011 Laurie David
NUCLEAR POWER AND GLOBAL WARMING
To stop global warming, we need a profound shift in how we generate and consume energy, moving beyond the burning of fossil fuels. One argument for nuclear power is that it does not produce carbon dioxide, but as the recent tragic events in Japan illustrate, nuclear energy may not represent a sound, safe alternative.
Recently in The Guardian, Natalie Kopytko, a researcher in the Environmental Department at the University of York, explains why climate change may be the reason we don’t want to shift to nuclear power. Kopytko stresses that climate change contributes to a greater frequency of severe weather events that can cause more nuclear plant emergencies. Click here to read the full story.
For more on the issue, read the Union of Concerned Scientist's position on Nuclear Power and Global Warming. Their conclusion: Nuclear power is not the silver bullet for solving the global warming problem, and a major expansion of nuclear power in the United States is not feasible in the near term.
30/3/2011 Nine News
Calm urged as radiation spreads to Europe, US
Radiation from Japan's damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant has reached parts of Britain and the United States.
The UK's Health Protection Agency said traces of radioactive iodine had been discovered in Oxfordshire in England and Scotland, the Daily Mail reports.
"Very low levels of radioactivity, traceable to Fukushima, have been detected at monitoring stations in the UK including Chilton, in Oxfordshire, and Glasgow, in Scotland," the HPA's Dr Michael Clark was quoted as saying.
"These traces have been found in Europe — Switzerland, Germany and Iceland — and in the USA. They're trace levels but of course with radioactivity we can measure very low amounts."
The governments of China, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam reported that radiation had drifted over their territories, although they emphasised the levels were so small that there was no health risk.
"We would like to ask the public not to panic. These are very tiny amounts in the air," Philippine Nuclear Research Institute spokeswoman Tina Cerbolis said, echoing officials in the other countries to have detected the radiation.
"I can firmly assure you that this amount will not have an iota of impact on the lives of ordinary Koreans," Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety chief Yun Choul-Ho told reporters in Seoul.
Nevertheless the development was another reminder for people across the Asia Pacific about the rippling impacts of the damaged Fukushima power plant more than two weeks after a huge earthquake and tsunami crippled the facility.
Traces of radiation had in actual fact drifted all the way to the United States, with rainwater in Ohio found to have been contaminated on Monday, environment authorities there said.
People and governments living in countries neighbouring Japan had already taken a range of precautionary measures as they watched the crisis escalate.
Authorities across the region began testing Japanese food imports for radiation, while some vegetables grown near Fukushima were banned altogether.
Travellers returning from Japan also started to be screened at some airports for radiation.
In China, two Japanese travellers were hospitalised last week after airport officials detected elevated radiation levels on them, although they were later discharged.
Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council reported Tuesday that small amounts of radioactive particles had been detected on 43 passengers from Japan since the crisis began.
The shipping industry has also grown increasingly nervous about vessels potentially sailing into contaminated waters off the coast of Japan.
Chinese authorities said last week that radiation had been detected on a Japanese merchant vessel that berthed in the southeastern port city of Xiamen.
In another development on Tuesday underlining rising fears about potentially dangerous radiation spreading across the region, South Korean officials said they had begun screening fish caught in their own waters.
Fish including mackerel and hair tail were being tested for caesium, iodine and other radioactive materials, although none had been detected, a South Korean agricultural ministry told AFP.
Some European buyers of South Korean farm produce had also started demanding that shipments undergo radiation tests, sending farmers rushing to nuclear safety agencies for screening, Yonhap news agency reported.
In China, the health ministry ordered authorities in Beijing, Shanghai and other highly populated areas to test drinking water and food for radiation, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper.
Greenpeace International nuclear expert Rianne Teule said people outside of Japan should not be panicked by the spreading plume of radiation across Asia and further afield.
"The levels (of radiation) that are reaching countries far away are so low that they will not be a significant health risk," Teule told AFP by phone from Amsterdam.
However she said there was no completely safe level of radiation and that, as more radiation spread, the risks would grow.
"If a very large population is exposed to a very low level of radiation, it will overall increase the cancer risk for that population," she said.
4/4/2011 Tom Burnett
'Worse Than Chernobyl'
By Tom Burnett, Hawaii News Daily
04 April 11
RSN Special Coverage: Disaster in Japan
Fukushima is going to dwarf Chernobyl. The Japanese government has had a level 7 nuclear disaster going for almost a week but won't admit it.
The disaster is occurring the opposite way than Chernobyl, which exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactions are getting worse. I suspect three nuclear piles are in meltdown and we will probably get some of it.
If reactor 3 is in meltdown, the concrete under the containment looks like lava. But Fukushima is not far off the water table. When that molten mass of self-sustaining nuclear material gets to the water table it won't simply cool down. It will explode - not a nuclear explosion, but probably enough to involve the rest of the reactors and fuel rods at the facility.
Pouring concrete on a critical reactor makes no sense - it will simply explode and release more radioactive particulate matter. The concrete will melt and the problem will get worse. Chernobyl was different - a critical reactor exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactor cores are still melting down. The ONLY way to stop that is to detonate a ~10 kiloton fission device inside each reactor containment vessel and hope to vaporize the cores. That's probably a bad solution.
A nuclear meltdown is a self-sustaining reaction. Nothing can stop it except stopping the reaction. And that would require a nuclear weapon. In fact, it would require one in each containment vessel to merely stop what is going on now. But it will be messy.
Fukushima was waiting to happen because of the placement of the emergency generators. If they had not all failed at once by being inundated by a tsunami, Fukushima would not have happened as it did - although it WOULD still have been a nuclear disaster. Every containment in the world is built to withstand a Magnitude 6.9 earthquake; the Japanese chose to ignore the fact that a similar earthquake had hit that same general area in 1896.
Anyway, here is the information that the US doesn't seem to want released. And here is a chart that might help with perspective.
Making matters worse is the MOX in reactor 3. MOX is the street name for 'mixed oxide fuel' which uses ~9% plutonium along with a uranium compound to fuel reactors. This is why it can be used.
The problem is that you don't want to play with this stuff. A nuclear reactor means bring fissile material to a point at which it is hot enough to boil water (in a light-water reactor) and not enough to melt and go supercritical (China syndrome or a Chernobyl incident). You simply cannot let it get away from you because if it does, you can't stop it.
The Japanese are still talking about days or weeks to clean this up. That's not true. They cannot clean it up. And no one will live in that area again for dozens or maybe hundreds of years.
If you have any articles, pictures, petitions, suggestions, comments, hints, or environmentally-friendly businesses, events, or products, you would like to share, please insert your information on this blog. We would love to hear from you!