...The New Papal Encyclical
Treatments of the Fukushima disaster might now come to include what Pope Francis calls “the new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology” in his new encyclical, Laudato Si. Such “powers” contribute to the propagation of different forms of pollution whose effects are global. This includes all that yet emanates out of the Fukushima aftermath.
Francis states, “Technology, which linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving [pollution] problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relationships between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others.” Pritchard makes a corroborating observation: During mitigation at Fukushima, many problems were created in the process of engendering solutions to the onset of a “cascade of accumulating problems.” For instance, consider the employment of Pacific seawater and its exacerbation issues of pressure, cooling, and pollution.
Along with pollution, Francis invokes the inseparable bond “between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and inner peace.” Be it climate change or some other human-abetted disaster, Francis is right to conclude that there are “grave implications” for the “environmental, social, economic, political, and for the distribution of goods.” He is also right to assert that the “worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries,” where many of the world’s poor live, and whose subsistence depends chiefly on “natural reserves and economic systemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry”—because they lack “other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters…”
To be sure, what Francis calls “access to social services protection” is something not only limited for the poor (despite whatever benefits they may receive from nuclear energy), but also, it is a luxury that remains well beyond their reach.
Francis’ commentary is relevant wherever economic and political interest threaten ecology and oppress the poor. Hell, the two often go together! For example, consider the Act on the Promotion of Energy Development, which passed under Japan’s Kakuei Tanaka in 1974. The act enabled Japanese towns and villages that housed nuclear power plants to receive ample subsidy remunerations. The impoverished rural local governments were seduced; they opened up to receive the construction of nuclear power plants despite a lack of debate about nuclear power safety.
This, writes Miyadai, marks the beginning of the poor’s “life with nuclear power plants” in Japan...
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you can't nuke global warming!