German Chancellor Angela Merkel courtesy Wikipedia


OK, so I’m a bit late with this, but I am a firm believer in thinking before speaking or writing. That doesn’t mean I am always able to reflect before speaking, but it is a goal.

On the world stage, Angela Merkel is one of my People of the Year 2011. She is one strong woman and a role model for young women around the world. She was successful in holding the European Union and the Euro together against dreadful odds. Granted, it is possible that things could still crumble.  She is arguably the most powerful person in the world. She presided over the government that made the very intelligent decision to eliminate nuclear power from Germany. Truth be told, I may not agree with all her politics (slowed phase out of nuclear power, for instance) but her success is undeniable.

Related to Chancellor Merkel are the small scale ecological pioneers of Germany, another of my People of the Year 2011. Germany has become a leader in implementation of solar power despite being in a higher latitude (less sunshine) than more likely candidates.

The word ‘ecology‘ was coined in 1866 by the German biologist Ernst Haeckl. Germany is investing heavily in alternative energy sources and they are being embraced by many small entrepreneurs and private citizens. Twenty percent of Germany’s energy came from renewable sources in 2011 and that amount is scheduled to increase. Compare that to only 14.3% renewable in the US.

Freiberg Green City

Biodigester at german pig farm courtesy Reuters

My couple of the year 2011 are also my Americans of the year: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Astronaut Mark Kelly. They represent what is best in America, both incredibly brave in their personal and public lives. Gabrielle Giffords was attacked by a crazed gunman in Tucson Arizon last January. Six other citizens were murdered at the same time. She has made a remarkable recovery from a gunshot to the brain.

Astronauts represent the most publicly brave persons imaginable. Since visiting Kennedy Space Center in Florida, more than ever before I am impressed by the enormous courage it takes to blast into the vast expanses of space in a relatively small metal vehicle.

As I write this I heard on the news that Arizona Congresswoman Giffords is resigning to work on her further recovery. Best wishes and a big thank you to her.

Congrsswoman Giffords and Astronaut Kelly courtesy Village Voice

Sadly now I must name my worst persons of the year. They are the officials at Tepco who presided over the Fukishima nuclear meltdown, the world’s single worst ecological disaster ever. Just thinking about this makes me sick. While these Tepco bigwigs did not cause the earthquake or the tsunami which followed, they were the folks that managed the nuclear plants, who decided to build nuclear power plants in an earthquake and tsunami zone and not maintain them properly, who obfuscated and lied about the severity of the problem. So now we have a radiation polluted Pacific Ocean, millions of sea creatures have died. More people will die as a result of this “accident” than were killed by the regimes of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot combined. What ever happened to falling on the sword?

Remnants of Ancient Troy

It has been a while since I have written a post. I’ve been very busy with my life in general, but also very intensely concerned with the Earth and the ecological devastation that has taken place increasingly over the past year. I don’t like to write a post that is infused with hopeless negativity even if what I am writing about is true.

Last year we had the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a totally preventable man-made disaster, that was so destructive to other species and human livelihoods. It really made me furious and I could not write about it constructively, so I did not write about it at all. Instead I wrote some posts about energy solutions. I hope to continue to do this, but of course this is primarily a blog about the anomalous and the paranormal.

The Earth has also experienced a number of violent earthquakes around the world in many places such as Haiti, Chile and of course, Japan. I fear that the western coast of North America will not be spared. My heart goes out to all people and other creatures affected by these calamities. I am aware that earthquakes are a continuous phenomena across geologic time. It does seem to me that the severity and number of these quakes are increasing in recent years. A higher population density worldwide intensifies the destruction to humans. A theory concerning greater earthquake frequency to which I currently ascribe is that as glaciers and polar ice caps continue to melt due to (mostly man-made) global warming, the placement of water changes around the globe. There is, for instance, less water ice resting on the Himalayas and therefore a whole lot less weight holding them down, while there is perhaps more water, therefore more weight, in the South Pacific, especially around the equator. When this weight is redistributed in this manner, especially in a very geologically active area, such as the Ring of Fire, it may boost the number and severity of quakes on fault lines. The extent of the weight of water in this equation should not be underestimated. Think about how attentive one must be to water pressure when scuba diving only a relatively few feet down.

Now in addition to the devastation caused by the earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis, another man-made catastrophe has occurred. The nuclear reactors at Fukishima have been severely damaged by the quake and tsunami and are now in various states of partial meltdown. Unfortunately the reactors were unsafe from their inception. Nuclear energy is inherently unsafe due to human fallibility which is always present along with human greed which causes planners to cut corners, and because the spent fuel remains highly radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years and there is no where to put spent fuel that is safe.

Sadly, the situation is far from under control, though brave workers at the plant have repeatedly attempted to shut down the reactors at the cost of their own (workers) health. It is not the object of this blog to go into detail about the various radioactive substances still being manufactured and spewed forth from Fukishima and which are a hazard to all biological life on this planet. A smart consumer of information will be well advised to look into this on his or her own. An excellent starting place is Arnie Gunderson’s site Fairewinds Associates. I personally would like to see all nuclear facilities fazed out starting with reactors in large population areas, on or near geological faults or subject to violent weather extremes.

Of course we should all do what we can to help the victims of these multiple tragedies. One action we can take to prevent this tragedy being repeated, is to lobby our elected officials to shutdown nuclear power plants and withdraw tax subsidies to build new ones. Go ahead…write those letters…get off yer duffs and go out and demonstrate! Do something proactive instead of stewing in existential depression which is pointless.