As I circle back to the lofty and unattainable goals I set for myself this year, I am reminded that April is the month I’ve slated to minimize toxic chemicals. Today, when I think of toxic chemicals, I think it’s a no-brainer to consider the nuclear catastrophe that is facing our neighbors in Japan right now.
You know I’ve considered this meltdown from every-which-way, including the wind and ocean currents, and how that nuclear mess might one day reach the air my children breathe, or the shores where we play. Then I finally concluded that there is no escaping radiation in the atmosphere, so I’m best left to place my hope in medical science finding a cure for radiation-induced cancers before they show up in my family’s DNA.
Now every time I search for a news story on “Japan Nuclear Crisis,” I’m bombarded with articles about the safety regulations of US nuclear plants and whether nuclear energy is safe or not. Which quickly degenerates into a Republican vs. Democrat war on alternative energy vs. the corporate dollar vs. regulatory affairs vs. space aliens. (The space aliens may be a fallacy in that line of logic. But you’d be amazed at the crazy things you will find on the web if you spend too much time searching. Like this. Or this.)
Seriously, though. I’m not here to focus on the panic. Yes, it’s true. There is a nuclear emergency happening in Japan right now. Yes, the fallout is affecting food supplies around the world. Yes, nuclear-contaminated water is being dumped into the ocean by the ton. Yes, it is terrible. It’s been going on for nearly a month, and may continue for many more months to come. The toxic chemicals will have a detrimental impact on the environment. On the seafood industry. On the people living near the plant. The most expensive natural disaster in history will have a crippling effect on Japan’s economy. The world economy. The devastation is just getting started, and I haven’t even mentioned the earthquake or tsunami that started this mess to begin with. Mind Boggling.
But today, I am not here to cause panic. Because like I’ve said before … there are simply some circumstances we cannot control. So fretting about them now will do nothing for our overall well-being or peace of mind.
Instead, I want to take this time to recognize the heroes who are risking their lives to work feverishly without proper nourishment or comfortable rest. The men and women living in hell on earth as they try to cool the plant and save the world. Literally. Save. the. world.
Think about them. Not just this label called “hero” that we assign to them so as to exalt them as modern-day saints. But really think about those individuals who have left their families–wives and children. Mothers and fathers. Some that have not even connected with their loved ones since the earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Men and women who are grieving losses that would send most of us spiraling into the depths of depression. And yet, they are still managing to pull themselves out of bed (a mat and a pillow on a hard concrete floor in a lethally-radiated office building on the grounds of the nuclear plant) to continue the hopeless task of dumping water on reactors that are actively melting down.
If you don’t know what you are grateful today, I suggest you take a moment to think about it.
Minimizing toxins will have to wait for another day.