Okay, this is just too cute
Originally posted on Running in ZK:
While I was working at our warehouse on one of the last muggy days of the year, I heard a noise that I assumed was someone’s cell phone going off. It sounded like an ice cream truck, though. I turned to Arlo and said, “Haha, that person’s cell phone sounds like an ice cream truck. When we looked outside, however, the noise was coming from an “ice cream truck” that Summer, Tim, and Anya constructed out of a golf cart and cardboard. They had ice cream available in coolers. It was suck a treat for everyone to take a break from working to eat ice cream on a hot day, and we were all impressed with the creativity of the project. Twin Oakers are great at executing clever ideas.
The Facebook thread was incredulous. Several people were completely convinced it was a joke. How could a group fighting breast cancer be taking money from a company which sells fracking fluids and services (an activity known to cause cancer)?
But not only is it not a joke, it has been going on for a couple years now and until recently no one was paying attention. The Susan G. Komen Foundation is this nations largest breast cancer fighting organization. They have been happily taking $100K per year from oil extraction company Baker Hughes.
But for those who have been tracking the Komen Foundation’s political evolution, this should be no surprise. In 2012, Komen chose to stop funding Planned Parenthood (PP), because they were “under investigation.” This was a thin rouse, which was quickly revealed for what it was, an effort by the conservative leadership of Komen to strike at PP because it provides abortion services. The investigation consisted of trumped up charges by similarly motivated House Republicans, and it went nowhere.
But Komen’s plans to defund PP exploded in their face in a stunning way. Individual contributions to Komen dropped dramatically. In the fiscal year in which they made this mistake they lost $77 million over the previous year’s funding, representing 22% of their total income. Komen reversed its choice to defund PP after only 3 days, but the damage was already done.
There are other problems with Komen. Specifically, only 20% of the donations they receive go to breast cancer research. Over 50% go to educational programs. If you know the non-profit world, it is far easier to hide bloated salaries and bogus programming under the “education” category than under research. And many critics think research is more important than education at this point.
And thus we add “Pinkwash” to our vocabulary. As Baker Hughes produces 1,000 pink drill bits to promote their campaign, there is now a petition to get Komen to reverse their choice, as they did so quickly with their PP foolishness.
Perhaps Komen has outlived its usefulness or is unreformable as an organization, and like Monsanto and Siemens nuclear division, it is time for it to die.
Japan was the third largest nuclear power in the world, with 50 operating reactors on March 10th, 2011. Then the 3/11/11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit, leading to 3 meltdowns and 5 other reactors being crippled or permanently decommissioned. There are now 42 reactors in Japan which could theoretically be restarted. For technical and political reasons they have all been idle for the last year.
Should Japan restart these reactors? At first the answer might seem an obvious yes. These reactors represented almost 30% of the countries generating capacity. Without them, as the Abe government has claimed the economy will suffer as will the environment. Without them, as the nuclear utilities have claimed, there will be blackouts and brownouts. Except that has not been what has happened.
Despite a significant increase in fossil fuel use for energy generation, the total CO2 emissions have only increased minimally (on the order of 8% in 2010 to 2012). This is because overall energy use is way down through energy efficiency and conservation and CO2 emissions have also been mitigated by renewables coming online.
Nor has the Japanese economy crashed in response to the lack of nuclear power. In fact in 2012, the first full year after Fukushima, still reeling from the tsunami and earthquake, and with most of it’s nuclear fleet shut down, Japan had it’s highest recorded GDP ever.
How is this possible?
The short answer is Japan has dramatically changed it’s relationship with energy. In the last year when it has been fully nuclear free, it has put in place conservation and efficiency programs that are replacing 13 reactors worth of power. In addition generous feed in tariffs are inspiring both home owners and businesses to install renewable sources of energy and this has amounted to another 3 reactors worth of power being saved. At this rate in just 2 more years all the reactors capacity will be replaced. So given how the last few years have been, why dont we just wait and see. As many other countries have delayed nuclear projects including Bangladesh, Jordan, Lithuania, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Vietnam.
So it turns out the not at all obvious answer (given the government and utilities mistatements) is that seismically and volcanically active Japan is better off leaving all it’s reactors turned off. It is better off economically, environmentally and in terms of energy services. This is also what 59% of the Japanese public want.
But, sadly, this is nothing like a done deal. These reactors represent hundreds of billions of dollars in investments for the nuclear utilities. The nuclear utilities and the Abe administration have no intention of giving them up without a fight. This is possibly the biggest industrial fight in the history of the planet. A back of the napkin calculation is that these reactors have several trillion US dollars worth of life in them. Only big wars are more expensive.
Much of the data and all of the charts for this report come from the excellent new Greenpeace “Nuclear Free Japan year one“