Thirty years ago, the China Syndrome (1979) and Silkwood (1983), both Academy award nominated films, educated us on one of the most urgent issues currently threatening human survival. It took a mere two and a half weeks for the events in “The China Syndrome” to come to pass in the near meltdown of Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania, but we did not stand up then like we should have. Now, toxic nuclear byproducts have fouled the ocean and even come blowing to your hometown a result of negligence and corruption by the energy companies and the governments whom we have invested with the responsibility to watch over them.
Motion pictures engaged the debate on the nuclear agenda with a vote of no confidence, but we seem to have ignored them. They cautioned us not to trust nuclear industry “experts” whose careers depend on strong demand for their electricity and bombs. Soothing statements on the nightly news are calculated to make us feel at ease living in a toilet. Both films point a huge, blinking red arrow up at those energy giants who are currently squatting over us, excreting their dung and assuring us that this is what’s best for everyone.
Pay no more attention to their experts. The unfolding of recent events in Japan are playing out precisely as predicted by filmmakers. Both implicitly and explicitly, those filmmakers were inviting us to assume personal responsibility to prevent this. There must be a limit to the crap we will take. It is well within our power to stop them.
The massage is clear. We have denied the power of movies to instruct us. Will we finally learn by listening to the people of Fukushima, and surrounding prefectures, recently forced to abandon their dreams, livelihoods and property to escape nuclear chaos? They are the real nuclear experts.
If nuclear power provides 20% of this country’s energy needs, we could rid ourselves of it instantly by voluntarily reducing our energy consumption by an equal percentage. If that seems impossible, maybe you’ve been watching too much nightly news. You could begin immediately reducing your energy needs by turning it off.
Good people formerly living in and around Fukushima are now adrift as a consequence of trusting the nightly news and denying the truth in the movies. The Japanese are also presently consuming a great deal less energy then they were before this nightmare overwhelmed them. Why wait until we are forced from our homes by a similar disaster before we undertake drastic reduction? Unless we do, the change we are all bound for is what they’re all waking up to now in Fukushima. With foresight and determination we might still preserve here at home, what they have lost there forever.