Cold War Consequences

Fukushima! Fueled by flashbacks of Cold War panic they blame it on Fukushima.

“The fish are radioactive! They can’t be eaten!  We’ll never have sushi again!”

“Whales are washing up on our beaches! They’ve been radiated to death!”

“Don’t visit California! The ocean will kill you!”

Blame it on Fukushima!

Now there is a new target for nuclear hysteria. California’s sea stars are dying. Dead. And in some places already gone.

There is of course a simple explanation.  This mass die off has happened several times before. But those lackluster headlines have long been forgotten. They don’t instill fear like the imminent possibility of nuclear fallout.  Memories of bomb shelters can’t be erased. Nuclear drills and radiation training films can’t be unremembered.

So, like the inedible fish, the beached whales, and the deadly Pacific, the dying sea stars are blamed on a fictive deadly radioactive plume. It’s Fukushima!

Those of us who aren’t the kids of the Cold War may prefer to remember the sexy spies of the age of espionage. We remember their music. We celebrate the man on the moon. We don’t talk about the nuclear horror. But maybe we should.

Maybe we should acknowledge that Fukushima finger pointing isn’t an act of ignorance. That blaming radiation isn’t crazy. It is learned — ingrained through years of waiting for a nuclear holocaust. Now, the radiation has arrived. And though its cause wasn’t war, the headlines went nuclear.

Nuclear fear can’t be unlearned, but new facts about radiation can be taught. It’s time to acknowledge the damage fear mongering headlines have caused. It’s time to re-teach the truth about Fukushima. With facts this time. Not fear. Then sea star wasting syndrome, which hit California in the 80s, then in the 90s, and again today can be understood for what it is. A virus. Not a nuclear event. 

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