Fukushima – the political fallout

I feel uneasy writing about the local consequences of a tragedy unfolding thousands of kilometres away in an-other place. Parochial concerns aside, what is happening is a disaster for the people of Japan, but they are a creative and canny folk, and, despite the Asiatic focus now being on other countries as a result of the shifting of economic plates, the Japanese will continue to thrive.

With foolish talk of nuclear meltdown, one should not be surprised that, immediately following the emergencies at the two Fukushima power plants, Europeans are on the streets demonstrating against government plans to re-invest in nuclear energy. This is the political fallout from Fukushima, and the social and economic consequences could be very serious indeed.

"We cannot master nature, nature rules us."

This statement from the German Greens’ parliamentary leader Renate Künast is every bit as meaningless as the anti-environmentalist mantra that we human beings are by virtue of our evolutionary position above nature – masters of all we survey.

We big-brained bipeds have been radically manipulating the environment for thousands of years, just as that same environment has moulded us. This is nature as process, and nothing is natural in the sense advocated by radical but shallow political environmentalists. The more thinking among deep-green types, who genuinely understand the value of concepts as permaculture, for example, do not think in such superficial ways. So why do we put up with such silliness from those who claim to be leaders of the green movement within political society?

The generation of energy from nuclear sources is necessarily based on community needs and environmental risk assessment, and it is a complex issue. We cannot avoid the need for cold, hard environmental accountancy by appealing to reaction and emotion.