I didn't really write much about the earthquake the month after it happened because after the initial shock, I didn't know how much it would change me or my life. I've only just started getting used to buildings rumbling due to large trucks.
The tsunami killed over 15,000 people and at least 3,000 are still missing. It also caused the shutdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, but not before major radiation leaked into our biosphere.
Learning that bluefin tuna caught off California contain traces of radioactivity is disturbing regardless of health risks to diners. But the fact is, when it comes to tuna, we have more serious problems to worry about, like mercury and overfishing.
Despite the enormous destruction from the earthquake and tsunami, little attention was paid to the fact that the nine dry spent fuel casks at the Fukushima Da-Ichi site were unscathed. This is an important lesson we cannot afford to ignore.
Rep. Scott Tipton said last week that Japan's Fukushima nuclear reactors "held up reasonably well" after being struck by an earthquake and tsunami. So they could have been flattened, yes. But did they really hold up reasonably well?
For me, the saddest stories are about needless human suffering, suffering caused by greed, hate, or more maddeningly, the inability of responsible people to act responsively. Minamata and Fukushima are both that kind of story.
Change is coming in Japan and I have touched on this point in recent discussions. In addition to formal and respected groups like the AESJ, change will also come from the grassroots level and my guess is it will be the mothers of Japan who will lead the charge.
Despite Japanese government assurances that contaminated water would disperse in the ocean, the truth is that there is a significant, ongoing discharge from the damaged plant and it is having a damaging effect on marine life.