Derek's Dharma Blog

A blog about meditation, Dharma and activism

Depression, meditation, friendship

One of my closest friends from Buddhist seminary school was telling me about being on retreat recently.  In the group discussion that followed the end of the retreat she mentioned that she had been depressed. But she almost didn’t mention it because as a long-term meditator she was so embarrassed to admit to being susceptible to depression.  “We’re all supposed to be past all that; all ‘fixed’ up; but that’s not how I feel,” she said. “And somehow this makes me feel like I’ve failed.”

The teacher thanked her for her bravery in speaking up.

He admitted that he had also struggled with depression and that he’d found it extremely difficult to find dharma folks to talk to about it; because depression is one of the biggest taboos in dharma circles.

I was in the magazine store in Ottawa yesterday when this tiny article from the Spring 2013 issue of Buddhadharma Magazine jumped out at me. A short beautiful piece by Hozan Alan Senauke, called “In the Darkest Moments”. Alan is a priest and vice-abbot at the Berkeley Zen Center, and he writes with naked honesty about depression and its antidotes: what works and what doesn’t.  Alan concludes that meditation works, but if meditation can’t help, then friendship works best.

A slightly longer version of his piece appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of Inquiring Mind.

Here t’is….

“Tangled Up In Blue” by Hozan Alan Senauke

 

As for me, after nearly thirty years of meditation I have come to no great enlightenment. I haven’t seen the cosmic light shows or transcendental visions of reality. This is not to say I do not feel changed or even free and joyful at times. But freedom is momentary. I appreciate it for what it is. I just don’t stay there, and that is okay with me. That’s a loaded word—”stay.” In terms of the law of anicca or impermanence, one does not stay anywhere. But I digress.

What I mean to say is that I have come to think that given my propensity toward depression—biochemical, hereditary, or karmic—the settledness of meditation, the sense of relief in just sitting down, may be as good as it gets for me. There is a phrase I love from Eihei Dogen, in our Zen tradition: “When Dharma fills your body and mind, you realize that something is missing.” That is, the very incompleteness of our being, actions, aspirations, is a manifestation of Buddhanature itself. Everything is broken. No regrets.

 

Over the years I have tried to ‘deal with’ (that means get rid of) depression in various ways. I have done talk therapy and acupuncture. I’ve sampled organic remedies like St John’s wort, SAME-e, homeopathy, and most recently, Vitamin D. I have been on and off a modest amount of fluoxetine (Prozac).  Actually, Prozac seemed to work for a while.  When I began to take it—twenty years ago, on the advice of my therapist and in consultation with a psychiatrist—it was as if a dark cloud that had always circled my head just disappeared. It was a great and joyous relief. But the relief seemed to be only temporary.

 

So I return to what I trust, meditation—and to that other reliable remedy: friendship. Actually, the two are not unrelated. Meditation is not a cure, but if I can sit down in a quiet space and follow my breath, the weight of depression usually lifts while I am sitting. If sitting is not possible, I will take a long walk. Either way I have bridged the internal disconnect; I am, for this time, friendly toward myself.

The power of friendship multiplies when extended beyond oneself. I keep in mind E. M. Forster’s famous epigraph to Howards End: “Only connect.” In the darkest moments, when I feel least able to do so, I know this is necessary and true. So I leave my room and seek a friend. In depression, friendship is an alkahest—the alchemist’s universal solvent that brings forth light and energy. It’s the best remedy.

Thank you Alan.

Joan Tollifson has been writing recently on her facebook page about depression and dharma.

Wonderful posts and reflections.

She apparently stumbled onto Alan’s piece too. Here’s part of what she says…

“I found (Alan’s) article deeply enlightening. Enlightening because it offers no big, splashy promises of a life filled with continuous bliss and flashing blue lights, but instead, something so simple and real. I loved Alan’s honesty, his humility, and his settledness in the ordinary (which is truly the extraordinary). The Zen practice he embodies is about being right here with life as it is.”

“It makes me very happy to see that more and more teachers seem willing to openly acknowledge and reveal their own humanness and brokenness—their on-going struggles with depression, anxiety, addiction, jealousy, anger, or whatever it might be. We tend to idolize and idealize spiritual teachers, wanting to believe that they are perfect and that maybe someday we will be perfect. Disillusionment is often a hard lesson, but it can be the greatest lesson of all, when we discover the teacher’s imperfections and understand that no one else can save us. […]”

“I wish we could all get beyond the Final Enlightenment Mythology and the Awakened Person Mythology in which we imagine that we (or others) have crossed some finish line and arrived at some final place where all problems have been permanently solved. …”

Amen Sister.

And one more story….

Several years ago, I went down to Berea, Kentucky to a small Christian College, to meet Ivan Illich. Illich gave a public talk to maybe 200 students and activists from the area. Illich had abandoned the podium and climbed down from the stage. He said he refused to use the microphone because it privileged one voice above the many and thus this technology was inherently anti-democratic.  Preferring instead to speak with his unamplified voice, he stood and spoke to us from the first row of seats in the auditorium. We all moved in closer to hear him.

After the hour-long talk, he said there was a time for a few questions…

An African-American woman in the third row stood up, “Given the difficulty of improving things in society, and given how often there is frustration and failure, how do we keep from despair? How do we keep going?” she asked.

Illich didn’t have a pat answer.

There was a long pause while he considered her question. Time passed.

We all waited quietly.

Then Illich motioned to Lee Hoinecki, his best friend, who was sitting in the front row.

Lee got up and went to stand beside Ivan.

Ivan gently leaned into Lee and put an arm around his shoulders.

He smiled at the woman who had asked the question.

Then he said one word:

“Friendship.”

March 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Valentine’s Week Retreat at the Morin Heights Dharma House on the the Four Immeasurables

“The Most Contagious Activism is Linked to Celebration and Joy”–Alice Walker

“My activism – cultural, political, spiritual – is rooted in my love of nature and A.Walkermy delight in human beings. It is when people are at peace, content, full, that they are most likely to […] be a generous, joyous, even entertaining experience for me. I believe that people exist to be enjoyed, much as a restful or engaging view might be. As the ocean or drifting clouds might be. Or as if they were the human equivalent of melons, mangoes, or any other kind of attractive, seductive fruit. When I am in the presence of other human beings I want to revel in their creative and intellectual fullness, their uninhibited social warmth. I want their precious human radiance to wrap me in light. I do not want fear of war or starvation or bodily mutilation to steal both my pleasure in them and their own birthright. Everything I would like other people to be for me, I want to be for them.”

That’s Alice Walker writing in her book Anything We Love Can Be Saved. I can think of no better description for the emotion of ‘sympathetic joy‘–one of the four boundless emotions cultivated in Buddhism. Howard Zinn, commenting on Walker’s book in 2006, wrote that Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Fannie Lou Hamer and Rosa Parks all “represent activism at its most contagious, because it is linked to celebration and joy.” (Original Zinn, p. 103)

The Buddha’s favourite word for meditation was ‘cultivation’ (bhavana, in Pali); wouldn’t it be great to spend more time cultivating sympathetic joy, and the other boundless emotions together? The week after next is Valentine’s Day, a time usually focused on our ‘bounded’ specific love–not a bad thing in and of itself–but why not try something new? Next week is also Losar, Tibetan New Year (Feb.11), a time for new beginnings, so what better time for a…

RETREAT AT THE MORIN HEIGHTS DHARMA HOUSE Feb. 10-Feb. 15.

I’ll be leading a retreat at the Morin Heights Dharma House on the Boundless Emotions, aka the Four Immeasurables–friendliness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity (the Brahmaviharas) from noon Sunday Feb. 10, till the morning of Fri. Feb. 15.
All are welcome.
There is limited accommodation at the Dharma House (for a nominal fee $20/pers/night), and other accomodation like B+Bs close nearby. There is also a nice sauna+spa down the street. The retreat is open to newcomers and veterans; it will be offered in ‘social silence’ (that is: silent without being oppressively so).
Food should either be brought or prepared on site with the possibility of shared pot-luck style meals. Marche Vaillencourt, a lovely grocery store is a 1/2 block walk down the street.

Please contact Jane if you are planning to attend  or if you have any questions:

Jane Marenghi (450) 226-6453
janemarenghi[at]hotmail.com
If you want to join us, it would be ideal if you can come at the beginning rather than part way through so as to get the benefit of easing into the experience with the group. However, if that is not possible, do not hesitate to come at the time that works in your schedule but be aware that social silence might then be well in progress and will need to be respected.

Chenrezig (Compassion)

Avalokiteśvara (Tib: Chenrezig, Buddha of Compassion); each of the 4 arms represents one of the Immeasurable Emotions

Classes in the Theravada (Burmese) and Tibetan Buddhist tradition will be offered by Derek.  The Teaching is free.

Donations (dana) will be accepted according to tradition.

PS. here’s a lovely post by Susan Kaiser Greenland describing Paul Simon’s look of sympathetic joy during a Toronto concert when he spontaneously invited a shocked audience member on stage to play and sing a song.

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top US Scientist James Hansen in NY Times: Tar Sands = “Game Over for the Climate”

James Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, wrote an amazingly straightforward op-ed piece in the New York Times yesterday….surprisingly, when you google for it only 5 hits come up. It’s hard to find the complete text, so in case you haven’t seen it, here it is (below), unedited.

Meanwhile the day before, Canada’s Anti-Environment minister Peter Kent, lied about “foreign” money dominating environmental groups (his comments were exposed as lies by Canadian Press —-while the tar sands are, in fact , effectively owned by foreign interests (who share in $1.4 billion a year of subsidies from Cdn taxpayers)

“71 per cent of the ownership of oilsands production was foreign, while the foreign-based companies controlled 24.2 per cent of the sector’s production.” Vancouver Sun, May 11, 2012

In a wonderful piece titled “Our Generation’s Quiet Awakening must be Green and Red“, the Youth Climate Coalition wrote this week: “We need to end the reign of oil in Ottawa, and its influence in Quebec city. The federal government now hands-out $1.4 billion a year to the world’s richest and most polluting oil companies, when such a hand-out to students could begin a system of free education in Quebec and across Canada.” (Just in case you think this sounds fanciful: Norway used its resource wealth to fund free university education for all….)

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Game Over for the Climate

By JAMES HANSEN

Published in the New York Times: May 9, 2012

GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”

If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.

Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk. That is the long-term outlook.

But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.

If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically. President Obama has the power not only to deny tar sands oil additional access to Gulf Coast refining, which Canada desires in part for export markets, but also to encourage economic incentives to leave tar sands and other dirty fuels in the ground.

The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change. We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life. But add too much, as we are doing now, and temperatures will inevitably rise too high. This is not the result of natural variability, as some argue.

The earth is currently in the part of its long-term orbit cycle where temperatures would normally be cooling. But they are rising — and it’s because we are forcing them higher with fossil fuel emissions.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million to 393 p.p.m. over the last 150 years. The tar sands contain enough carbon — 240 gigatons — to add 120 p.p.m. Tar shale, a close cousin of tar sands found mainly in the United States, contains at least an additional 300 gigatons of carbon. If we turn to these dirtiest of fuels, instead of finding ways to phase out our addiction to fossil fuels, there is no hope of keeping carbon concentrations below 500 p.p.m. — a level that would, as earth’s history shows, leave our children a climate system that is out of their control. We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them.

We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers.

Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.

But instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true costs, leveling the energy playing field, the world’s governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year. This encourages a frantic stampede to extract every fossil fuel through mountaintop removal, longwall mining, hydraulic fracturing, tar sands and tar shale extraction, and deep ocean and Arctic drilling. President Obama speaks of a “planet in peril,” but he does not provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course.

Our leaders must speak candidly to the public — which yearns for open, honest discussion — explaining that our continued technological leadership and economic well-being demand a reasoned change of our energy course. History has shown that the American public can rise to the challenge, but leadership is essential. The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow. This is a plan that can unify conservatives and liberals, environmentalists and business.

Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait — we can’t wait any longer to avoid the worst and be judged immoral by coming generations.

James Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is the author of “Storms of My Grandchildren.”

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James Hansen : “game over pour le climat” (NYT)

9 mai 2012 | Pour James Hansen, directeur du Goddard institute for space studies, de la Nasa, la science est très claire : le changement climatique est déjà en train de se produire. Il est temps que les politiques suivent.

LE réchauffement climatique n’est pas une prédiction. Ce qui se passe. C’est pourquoi j’ai été tellement troublée lire un entretien récent avec le président Obama dans Rolling Stone, dans lequel il dit que le Canada serait exploiter l’huile dans ses sables bitumineux vastes réserves « indépendamment de ce que nous faisons. » Lire toute l’histoire : nytimes.com

May 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

How Do We Look After One Another?

Dharma evenings with Derek in Toronto: Dec. 14 and 15, 7:30 pm.

How do we bring Dharma into our activism?

How do we bring activism into our Dharma?

How do we look after one another?

Let’s get together for a couple of nights and explore these questions.

The evenings are free – all are welcome. No prior meditation experience necessary.

Please call to let us know you’re coming (Tracy – 416 534-5726)

 Or Gelek (bgelek[at]gmail.com)

“There is nothing to be done. Now go and do it.” – Gandhi

(in the meantime, some excerpts from last week’s fantastic interview with Arundhati Roy….)

http://www.truth-out.org/arundhati-roy-people-who-created-crisis-will-not-be-ones-come-solution/1322765555

Arundhati Roy: “The People Who Created the Crisis Will Not Be the Ones That Come Up With a Solution”

Wednesday 30 November 2011

by: Arun Gupta, The Guardian UK

Arundhati Roy: The fact that in New York and other places where (Occupy movement) people are being beaten and evicted suggests nervousness and confusion in the ruling establishment. I think the movement will, or at least should, become a protean movement of ideas, as well as action, where the element of surprise remains with the protesters. We need to preserve the element of an intellectual ambush and a physical manifestation that takes the government and the police by surprise. It has to keep re-imagining itself, because holding territory may not be something the movement will be allowed to do in a state as powerful and violent as the United States.
[…..]
Roy: We often confuse or loosely use the ideas of crony capitalism or neoliberalism to actually avoid using the word “capitalism”, but once you’ve actually seen, let’s say, what’s happening in India and the United States – that this model of US economics packaged in a carton that says “democracy” is being forced on countries all over the world, militarily if necessary, has in the United States itself resulted in 400 of the richest people owning wealth equivalent [to that] of half of the population. Thousands are losing their jobs and homes, while corporations are being bailed out with billions of dollars.
[….]
There’s something terribly wrong. No individual and no corporation should be allowed to amass that kind of unlimited wealth, including bestselling writers like myself, who are showered with royalties. Money need not be our only reward. Corporations that are turning over these huge profits can own everything: the media, the universities, the mines, the weapons industry, insurance hospitals, drug companies, non-governmental organisations. They can buy judges, journalists, politicians, publishing houses, television stations, bookshops and even activists. This kind of monopoly, this cross-ownership of businesses, has to stop.

The whole privatisation of health and education, of natural resources and essential infrastructure – all of this is so twisted and so antithetical to anything that would place the interests of human beings or the environment at the center of what ought to be a government concern – should stop. The amassing of unfettered wealth of individuals and corporations should stop. The inheritance of rich people’s wealth by their children should stop. The expropriators should have their wealth expropriated and redistributed.  […..]
The people who created the crisis in the first place will not be the ones that come up with a solution.

That is why we must pay close attention to those with another imagination: an imagination outside of capitalism, as well as communism. We will soon have to admit that those people, like the millions of indigenous people fighting to prevent the takeover of their lands and the destruction of their environment – the people who still know the secrets of sustainable living – are not relics of the past, but the guides to our future.

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Damage* is “too complicated” to fix? (but when the banks blow all our money, the worlds’ leaders can pull off the largest financial bailout in history in only a few days?!)

Australian artist Dave Sag has come up with this fantastic T-Shirt:
“Global Priorities Checklist”

He says: “When it comes to responding to a crisis we’re told that it’s too complicated to all act together on global warming…. Addressing poverty is, similarly, too big an issue to be able to address; and bringing about a lasting world peace is a pipe dream.

But when the banks blew all of our money the world reacted almost immediately with the largest concerted global action ever seen.

Some things are not that hard it seems.”

Thanks Dave, for putting it in the clearest possible terms.  Check out Dave’s portfolio at:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/davesag/works/8132312-global-priorities-checklist

….And thanks for showing us which way is up.

You’re right Dave, this whole bailout thing really SHOULD have us thinking–

“Hey, if we can all coordinate a response to a deviously complicated and interconnected world financial system that is teetering on the brink of collapse, then why can’t we smartfolks also tackle the other things that matter (Egads! Dare we say it?) MORE than banks…. like namely how out of whack things have gotten with our weather, our wealth, and our wars?”

Just sayin.

….And by the way: the world does not have a “poverty problem”, it has a “wealth problem”.  There is more than enough food and shelter and medicine to go around for everyone on earth–it just doesn’t get distributed to everyone because some of us get wayyyy more than our share (plus tons of goo-gaws and other schtuff that we don’t need).  When one person in the industrialized ‘west’ consumes (in one lifetime) the same amount as 5000 people in Bolivia, or 10,000 in Bangladesh, then, as John Nichols (The Milagro Beanfield War) asks: “Does the planet groan every time a new child is born in North America?”

…And this is not to get down on ourselves, this is meant to be GOOD NEWS. You see if the problem really was in the hands of billions of disempowered impoverished people, then a response would be enormously difficult to coordinate ….. but it’s not.  The problem rests with us: a few hundred thousand (maybe a few million) relatively affluent people; literate, intelligent, and probably –by and large– compassionate people.

So whatarewegonnaDo?

_________________

*Footnote: “Climate damage” is Susan Murphy Roshi’s excellent re-naming of ‘climate change’ ; a term which she says is far too innocuous for what we are doing to the planet. Here’s a link to an absolutely beautiful letter (about the absolute [and beautiful] necessity of meditation practice) she wrote earlier this year to the Melbourne Zen Group: http://mzg.org.au/2011/03/10/a-message-from-susan-murphy-roshi/

and this too if you’re interested… http://sites.google.com/site/ecobuddhismreview/susanmurphy

November 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Something Inside So Strong…

Mass Non Violent Direct Action called for NYC on Thursday November 17, 2011.

Occupy Wall Street and other locations were dismantled by police last night….. Occupy Toronto may be evicted in the next couple of days. Here is a photo essay from the Occupy Toronto site in St. James Park this afternoon, courtesy of Gelek.

And some music from a country that can teach us a lot about struggle, solidarity and song….

….and this great speech (and song) by David Heap, reminding us of the 1978 Sudbury miners’ strike, and making the connections.

The best source for up-to-date daily info still is your community radio station. For example CKUT 90.3 Off The Hour (5pm) in Montreal.

Here is CKUT and the Montreal Media Coop reporting (last half of the program) on the use of riot police last Thursday Nov.10 to evict McGill students from their own campus. Report was recorded at the McGill demonstration yesterday in response to police brutality on campus.

Solidarity.

CKUT Off the Hour Tuesday Nov. 15, 2011

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Occupy… WTDD? –What Would Tommy Douglas Do?

Last month, Oct. 15th, my friend Gelek and I joined the Occupy Toronto march; and we hung around St. James Park to watch the encampment get set up and we got to watch how some of the group process works.  It’s inspiring.
A week later, I read something activist Sujata Dey wrote (http://roverarts.com/2011/10/wwtdd-what-would-tommy-douglas-do/) in a review of Vincent Lam’s book about Tommy Douglas–she asked: WWTDD? –What Would Tommy Douglas Do?

And she answered her own question with four principles I’d like to share here:
“It’s tempting to ask, given today’s extreme financial, social and political inequalities, WWTDD? As unrest foments around the world, including on Bay street, it’s worthwhile to remember a few basic tenets of Tommy Douglas’s political ideology. It’s simple stuff, really.

1) Politics is rooted in spirituality and the desire for a better world. Always remember that.

2) Politics is about service, not ideology. While there are values, a road map taken from a manifesto serves little purpose. Instead, improve people’s lives.

3) Go slowly. Don’t neglect the economy.

4) Work hard. And speak well.”

In keeping with her (and TD’s) advice, here are three links to folks speaking well about the Occupy movement. First is activist Michael Albert, 2nd is scientist David Suzuki at Occupy Montreal, and third is Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman at Occupy Wall Street.

It’s also worth checking out Michael Albert’s insightful commentary “Occupy to Self Manage” http://interactivist.autonomedia.org/node/33609, as well as the “Open Letter from Buddhist and Yoga Teachers and Leaders in Support of the Occupy Movement.”http://occupysamsara.org/

November 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nuclear Hubris

What gets me is the time frames involved with the radioactivity and toxicity of  nuclear power.  The time frames that we are monkeying around with.   Plutonium remains dangerous to any life form for 500,000 years. It’s “half-life” is 24,400 years. “And even 24,000 years is 15 times as long as something called civilization has existed.” (Rebecca Solnit commenting in YES Magazine)

Last week a CBC science reporter came on TV to say “Oh, fossil fuels are more dangerous than nuclear power.”  Oh, really??? You’re really going to try and sell us that??  From which imaginary cupboard in your mind do you pull out the perfect human beings who can watch over pools of plutonium for 500,000 years till it stops being toxic?

“Plutonium is one of the most carcinogenic substances known. …One-millionth of a gram (an invisible particle) is a carcinogenic dose.  One pound, if uniformly distributed, could hypothetically induce lung cancer in every person on earth.” — Dr. Helen Caldicott, Nuclear Madness, W.W. Norton: New York (1978, 1994) page 80.

Bascially, with the exception of a few minute traces of the stuff in a remote region of Africa, there was no plutonium anywhere else on earth before 1945.  Now we spew out 400-500 pounds of plutonium every year at reactors all over the world–including the Fukushima reactor in Japan–reactors that use uranium 238 (which includes plutonium in its mix).  And what do these super hi-tech fancy reactors do?

They boil water.

When I first learned this I was stunned by the deliberate mystique and arrogance surrounding the nuclear engineering clique.  I couldn’t believe that what they put on their white lab coats to do basically boiled down to this:

Nuke. Hot. Boil. Water.

Boil Water. Make Steam. Turn Turbine. Make electricity.

Yup. We are creating the most toxic substance on earth–a substance that has never existed in quantities like this on earth–we are making tons of it, which will remain toxic for 500, 000 years, and we are doing all of this—

to. boil. water.

400-500 pounds of plutonium per year; when one pound is sufficient, hypothetically and if adequately distributed, to kill every person living animal on earth.  And somehow, in order to boil water to turn turbines to make electricity to run our air conditioners and malls we are saying we will commit to isolating all of this virulently toxic material from any and all life forms for the next 500,000 years?

“Nuclear power is a hell of a way to boil water.” –Albert Einstein

Aren’t we smarter than this? I think we are a smart enough species to figure out how to use less electricity, and how to produce what we need in ways other than nuclear.

 

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tuesday March 27, 2011:  “Plutonium found in soil at the Fukushima nuclear complex.”

http://nuclear-news.net/2011/03/22/nuclear-waste-is-the-really-most-serious-problem/#more-14427

April 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment