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.

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