lunes, 12 de septiembre de 2011

A Shared Responsibility


When I first arrived in Tokyo, I was struck by how many people on the street wear respirator masks. A few years back, during the supposed SARZ epidemic, the US media projected over and over images of Japanese pedestrians in masks at Tokyo's iconic Shibuya crossing. The SARZ scare has become distant memory, but many Japanese continue to wear masks for a variety of reasons, among them concerns of radiation poisoning from the recent Fukushima disaster. My roommate at the sharred house in Kunitachi, Maggi, cautioned me, "I don't advise foreigners to stay so long in Japan. Don't you want kids? Aren't you concerned about radiation poison and the long term effects it might have?" Evidently, Maggi is very concerned and she often takes extra precautions before going out, such as covering up any exposed skin, which includes wearing a respirator mask. However, I'm not sure we are safe anywhere and I hardly think a respirator mask is going to make a bit of difference. Maybe we should all walk around in Hazmat suits! There have been reports that radiation poisoning from Japan has traveled the wind currents to different parts around the globe. This is a delicate eco system in which we live and it is our shared responsibility to ensure its preservation. Fukushima is our backyard and likewise we cannot continue outsourcing our toxic industries to third-world contries and expect it will not effect us. This is our future, embrace or change it, but you can't run from it.

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