Thursday, March 24, 2011

Japan, the Economy , and Food

The more I watch the world news, the more concerned I am for the state we will soon all be in. The earthquake in Japan has fallen from the top stories, but is it still of grave concern for all of us. There are still large amounts of radiation being emitted from the Fukushima plant and it doesn't look like it will be ending any time soon. It has now contaminated the water supplies in Tokyo, but unless you are paying close attention to the news, you miss it in the mass of reports about Libya. The people of Japan are in grave danger. And we in the US are as well. The radioactive plume, that was reported as being less than a single chest x-ray when it made landfall last week, is continuing. What the news isn't telling us is that radiation is cumulative, meaning that while a single exposure is less than a single x-ray, this is still continuing, building up to be a lot of x-rays every time you go outside. And anything that lives outside, cows, chickens, vegetables, fruit, etc., will all be exposed to a concerning amount in the long term.

I will not be buying any food produced in California any time soon.

Japan owns or operates a lot of the US manufacturing. Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Sony, Hitachi, Samsung, all of these and many more like them are all based in Japan. Japanese companies have a general rule about production. They do not like to keep and warehouse large amounts of parts for the items they produce. They manufacture just enough to keep production in full swing. If something happens, like an earthquake and subsequent loss of power, there are no more parts to build with. So the factories in the US that build stuff for these companies are having to shut down due to lack of parts. Toyota has announced this week that they are having to shut down at least one of their plants in the US. That is a lot of jobs that will be lost. Another problem with items from Japan is that the products are contaminated with radiation. Most every ship coming from Japan lately has some at least some contamination. That means that even if we can get the parts, we can't use them. Again, this isn't really being reported except as an afterthought.

Have you actually thought about everything that you own that has a semi-conductor or processing chip? What will you do if you have to get it repaired and the only chips available are from radioactive Japan?

Now, back to the radioactive plume. It is hanging over the US. Yes, most of the radioactive materials have fallen out over the ocean. And yes, the levels that are hanging out over us are small, comparatively. But remember the cumulative effects. That is building up. There are places in Scotland where they still cannot sell their sheep for human consumption due to the contamination from Chernobyl back in 1986. That was 25 years ago folks. Yes, we are farther away from Japan that Scotland is from Chernobyl, but if they do not get this radiation stopped soon, everything on Earth will be contaminated with low levels. Everything we eat, the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, everything. Remember the cumulative effects. And the real problem will be food. There will be no getting away from it. Until there is a way to grow food, in large quantities, without exposure to soil, air and water, we will all be getting it. Expect a rise in cancer rates across the US in the next 20 years.

If you think what happens in Japan doesn't affect you, you are mistaken. It affects us all. And on more than just the humanitarian scale.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Is it the End Times?

With world events spiraling out of control, things are going to be getting really bad, for every one. People are dying by the thousands in Japan, either from the earthquake/tsunami or they will soon be dying from radiation poisoning. People in Africa are being killed by their own governments. And this is not just in Libya, but all over the continent. Disease, famine, wars, gang violence, thousands are dying every DAY. And what are we doing about it?


Everyone has been taught by society that we should all look out for ourselves first and others second. How can we learn and grow as humans if we look out for ourselves first? It is just insane to think that we can succeed by only looking out for ourselves. Do we not learn compassion by seeing, not looking but really seeing, those who are less fortunate? Do we not learn what love is by loving others unconditionally? Do we not learn, well, anything important, by doing for someone else? Is it really surprising that most of us don't even think to donate to charities until there is a disaster of some sort?

Most of us do not see how current events will affect us in the long term. We are not prepared, none of us, for a global tragedy. We, as a society, have exchanged the ability to provide for ourselves for convenience. Take out is cheap so we no longer cook our own meals and in many cases wouldn't even know how. We do not know how to make clothing, grow food, preserve food, build a shelter, find water, protect ourselves and our families. We think Survivor is an entertaining show, but not anything we would ever have to do ourselves.

I am afraid that we will all have to be Survivors in the near future. When there is nothing left in the stores, will you be able to either do without or make it your self? You know where to look to see what is happening in our world and what it means for humanity. Will you be part of the problem, or part of the solution?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The State of the World

I know that I haven't posted in a while, and I apologize. There has been so much going on around here that I just haven't had time to sit and collect my thoughts.

There are a lot of things going on in the world these says that are very worrisome. Civil wars in the Middle East, the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan, the instability in the global economies. All of these things will affect us in the months and years to come. It is rather frightening just how little most of us understand how all of these things together will affect our way of life.

Fuel costs are going up, with no end in sight. This will effect the price of everything we purchase. It will cost more to produce goods, from agricultural products to clothing and everything in between. It will cost more to get to work every day as we fill up our SUV's with gas. It will cost more to heat and cool our houses. Businesses will have to cut costs, either by cutting salaries or cutting jobs. Rising costs of production will be passed on to consumers who are already cash-strapped. Your dollar will not buy as much as inflation takes off. And that is just from fuel prices.

The disaster in Japan will have a whole different effect on us in the United States. Japan is the 3rd largest economy in the world, but at the moment, their economy is shut down. Their factories are not producing, their already produced goods are very limited and possibly contaminated. The population will soon be having food and water shortages as they deal not only with earthquake and tsunami damage, but rolling blackouts and contamination from the nuclear disaster. The Bank of Tokyo has been pumping trillions into the Japanese stock markets to keep it from completely collapsing, but there simply isn't enough yen available to maintain this.

And since every nation's economies are tied globally, it will affect every nation on Earth.

Food costs are going to be the biggest problem in my opinion. People will stop buying luxury food items, like steak, in favor of cheaper cuts and ground meats. We will stop eating out so much in favor of eating at home. Generic canned goods will become more popular choices causing a drop in sales for the name brands. Big producers will have to lay off, causing more economic problems for the US as a whole. And with the legislation being pushed through Congress that favors Big Agri, the small farmers and small producers will have no choice but to go out of business causing even more food issues.

And that is supposing that there will even be enough food to feed the country. If there appear to be shortages, a lot of people will begin hoarding food, causing even more shortages on the store shelves. Depending on just how bad it gets, there could be food riots. Yes, this is a worst case scenario, but it isn't outside the realm of possibility.

And then there is the fact that the radioactive plume being produced by the Fukushima Power Plant will reach the West Coast of the United States tomorrow. No one is really sure just how that will affect us. There is so much dis-information being thrown out on the airways it is difficult to know just what is true and what is executives playing CYA.

Are we prepared for this sort of situation? The answer for most of us is NO. As Americans, we have gotten complacent in our land of plenty. We have come to believe it is our God Given Right to have a Starbucks just around the corner and strip malls full clothing and food and closets full of shoes.

We should all be asking ourselves What If?

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