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Terrierman's Daily Dose

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Turning Japanese

Taken from the Terrierman's Daily Dose


U.S. blood and treasure are spent propping up oil-soaked totalitarian regimes in the Middle East, but no one ever suggests that population growth is part of the problem.   Instead, the problem is "consumption" or "the oil companies" or "the politicians," but never lack of birth control, or pro-natalist policies that subsidize large families, or runaway open-border immigration back home. It's a horrible bloody mess in the Middle East, but what are we to do?

In Asia, wildlife habitat is pushed to the edge but no one ever blames population growth as the core problem or suggests family planning as the solution.   What has happened to the tiger and the panda is ascribed to "habitat loss" -- a generalized problem without a causal agent. So sad, but what can anyone do?
Now, in Japan,
we have three failing nuclear reactors spewing radiation.  We are told the causal agent is an earthquake and a tsunami. 
Well yes,
but why does Japan need nuclear energy at all?  
And the answer,
of course, is the same reason we have nuclear reactors in the U.S., and why we have strip mining and mountain top removal in Kentucky, and offshore oil drilling in Louisiana, and aquatic life-killing electrical power dams in Maine.
We rip down the mountains
and push them into creeks in Kentucky.  We soak our fuel rods in water pools and bury our nuclear waste in mountain caves.  We strike another species off the endangered list and add another to the extinction roster.
 It's unfortunate, but what can we do? 
One thing we cannot do
is talk about population growth. 
Al Gore made an entire movie
about global warming while
.  
We have entire television channels
dedicated to every obscure battle of World War II, but not once do these stations explain why Japan bombed Peal Harbor
.
And so it's Groundhog Day
all over again.
Talking about population growth is
too personal. 
We might bruise someone's feelings.   We might bump into someone's life mistakes, or their religious views, or their self-centered, ego-besotted, rationalizations for procreation. 
If we talk about population growth
, things might get a little
uncomfortable
at some point. 

So instead of having an uncomfortable conversation, we push our rubble into landfills and buy bottled water because we are worried our dumps might be leaching toxins into the groundwater.

We send our sons and daughters to die in the desert, and then we collect our dead and wounded and fly them 6,000 miles back to the U.S. 

We clear-cut our forests in order to make the paper needed to send a million direct mail letters to people decrying the speed of species loss.

We snake long plastic booms
along the shore to try to contain the oil spills, and we dump chemicals into the ocean to try to disperse it even as we dream of problem-free nuclear reactors that will bring us unlimited power forever.
But we do not talk about population.
The ironic part
about the current nuclear mess in Japan is that after World War II Japan slowed its population growth. 
But, of course,
the country was already over-crowded, wasn't it?  
A country that had a population of 45 million in 1900
was so crowded with a population of 65 million in 1931 that it sought to invade lands beyond its borders. 
By 1985, however,
Japan's population  had climbed to over 125 million, and it is even larger today.
And so, in order to deal with this press of flesh,
the Land of the Rising Sun is now ringed not only with earthquake-prone slip faults, but also with nuclear reactors. 

This morning
the talk is all about nuclear engineering.... how if only the Japanese had only put the generators on higher ground, or put the fuel rod containment pools further away, then everything might have been different.
Right. 
Talk about anything.
But whatever you do,
don't talk about why the reactors are there at all.  That conversation might get a little
uncomfortable
.
And, of course,
it's not just about Japan, is it?   
No one in the U.S.
wants to talk about why we continue to prop up Middle East dictators, or why we rip down our own mountains, or why we poison our own waters, or why we feel the need to build more nuclear reactors. 
U.S. population growth?
  That's mostly fueled by immigration, and immigration is a conversation that is a little to
uncomfortable
for us to have right now, isn't it?
Sure, we couldn't take care of our own energy needs
when we had a population of 200 million, and we are doing worse with 300 million, and we are quickly headed to 500 million by 2050, but let's not talk about that.   The crisis of the moment isn't here in the U.S. is it?  it's over there in Japan.  How come
those people
couldn't see this horror coming?  Talk about myopic!  Talk about bad planning!
.


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