The Other I

March 12, 2011

The earthquake next door

Filed under: Environmental Issues,Uncategorized,Worries — theotheri @ 3:49 pm

One of the things I find so devastating about the earthquake and tsunamis that are currently hitting Japan is that Japan was prepared.  Japan is not littered with sub-standard buildings and slums clinging to mountain sides.  It is a modern society that has taken the risks of earthquakes and tsunamis seriously.  Its buildings are constructed to withstand earthquakes,  its sea walls to defend against tsunamis.

And yet thousands of people – probably tens of thousands of people – are dead.  Entire villages have been swept away by the raging waters,  whole trains travelling along the east coast are now missing, boats have disappeared in the whirlpools, millions are without water and electricity, hundreds of thousands are in shelters.  The damage has been felt half way around the world.

Gone: The same scene just moments later shows how the entire residential area of dozens of homes is completely obliterated by the unforgiving waters which swept away anything in their path

Click to see more photographs from the Daily Mail

And now the nuclear reactor along the coast has exploded, the consequences of which are not yet known.  It will be a powerful weapon for the Greens to use against building more nuclear plants.  Japans nuclear plants are not second-rate.   But it was vulnerable and the damage of escaping radioactive cloud may yet be immense.

The terrifying thing is that not only could it have been worse.  It could still get worse with after-shocks that are powerful enough to trigger more tsunamis and collapse more buildings.

Could something this destructive happen in the United States?  Yes.  The west coast is particularly vulnerable but there are the fault lines of tectonic plates on both the east and west coasts.

We call her Mother Earth.  But sometimes she is Medea, murdering her children in cold revenge at her betrayal.

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