We’re all worried about the nuclear plant disaster in Japan, which seems to get worse every day. Fallout and radioactive releases from the plants are enough to threaten adult human health in the vicinity, and the water is now contaminated and unsafe for children to drink. Included in this podcast are Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s opinions on this nuclear disaster and what it means.
Also hear a great interview with Elizabeth Kolbert, who explains how climate change caused by humans—building cities, changing the land through agriculture and deforestation, and carbon emissions from cars and industry—has risen to the level of geologic significance. Her article “Enter the Anthropocene—Age of Man” looks at the “Anthropocene,” the new epoch defined by humans’ massive impact on the planet. . . . Read Elizabeth Kolbert’s article here.
Monbiot: Going Critical (in favor of nuclear power). Are thorium reactors the answer? For more perspective, consider the following. In America, lots of dangerous things that kill people are perfectly accepted and legal. From the CDC:
- More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.1,2
- Smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars lead to cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, and oral cavity.
- Obesity is a contributing factor to approximately 100000–400000 deaths in the United States per year.
- A staggering 33% of American adults are obese and obesity-related deaths have climbed to more than 300,000 a year, second only to tobacco-related deaths.
- Excessive alcohol use causes more than 79,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and contributes to a wide range of health and social problems.
Compared to smoking, over-eating, and drinking alcohol, nuclear power looks safer than the various ways human beings attempt to kill themselves. To those who are against nuclear power, I would question whether they are also campaigning to make tobacco use, alcohol use, and over-eating illegal. At the very least, they should be forcefully shutting down radioactive carbon-emitting coal-fired power plants . . . as we all should be doing.
This podcast was originally released on March 23, 2011.
Download this episode here. or you can listen live right here.