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Japan's environmental worries
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-06-12 08:21:20
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Whatever logic I use I cannot understand it when countries like Japan seriously announce that they are going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 to 80% but all that by the year 2050! This is two generations from now and I presume my grandkids will be adults and me …well long dead!

I’m not trying to be dramatic, after all if you spend a couple of hours in the internet searching environmental issues it is enough to scare the shit out of you and start planning a shelter for you and your family, or better start praying to whatever you might believe. I think the truth is not exactly there but it is not half way either. I believe that we still have time to do something; we just need to listen to the experts and follow their advice without any hysterics and neurotic reactions. There is a problem and the last five years it has been obvious even to the nonbelievers that it’s a fact. There is responsibility for all the environmental problems we have and this responsibility is collective to all of us, from the single house hold and the way we treat our immediate environment to governments and of course international economic interests. That’s another fact!

Solution; well, this is the part I don’t feel so sure and the main reason is that the scientists haven’t manage to analyze the exact damage and calculate the timing. When the tsunami hit south Asia we were all shocked and we all pointed the responsibility of the human factor to the event. That didn’t mean that it was the first time we had a tsunami, I think Lisbon is one of the European cities that has met the catastrophic effects of a tsunami. What changed everything was the unbelievable loss of human lives. Tsunamis happened before and they will probably happen again, the thing is that in the beginning of the 21st century the loss of tens of thousands of lives is unexpected and unexcused. What caused this loss of life it was not the tsunami itself, it was the lack of natural defenses and this is a fact. It was not the lack of natural defenses but the lack of artificial ones as well. The local governments instead of protecting their own people gave license to open more and more hotels destroying an environment that was able to defend itself under any circumstances and it has done before.

Look what happens in the rain forest in South America. Cutting the forest doesn’t destroy the environment, destroys first of all the lungs of the earth regarding filtering the air – it is funny but this is one of the things we learn from our very first years at school, trees filter the air – but these rainforest do something far more important, they are natural defenders before natural catastrophes. Or better natural catastrophes are the result of lacking natural defenses. New Orleans is the best example, don’t tell me that the biggest scientific and material power in the world didn’t have the right warning and the right equipment to prevent the catastrophe, they were just ignoring that with every new meter of concrete they destroy a meter of natural defenses.

What I’m trying to say is that our responsibility as humanity for the destruction of the environment and the coast of thousands and thousands of lives is huge and the sooner we realize it the better. We are not causing tsunamis and earthquakes but with our actions we are responsible of the human loses. And who is the best to put some rules, who is more than any other responsible to put the blueprint so we can prevent these catastrophes and this loss, the state, even better the international community represented from the UN.

Now the state has a dual role, to listen and decide which means experts advising and experts decide, politics have no room in these decisions. Actually politics was what led to those wrong decisions, politics was what made states give license for cutting the rainforest, politics was what let all this uncontrolled building areas that should be protected, politics and in extent greed was what build all these factories without any care for the damage they bring in long term. The destruction of the ozone layer is another example of this, nobody took an axe destroying the ozone layer on the earth sky, what we did it was destroying its defenses and now we are called to repair the damage. And we can do that as I said without hysterics and with a program. But this demands an active support and leading role of the states especially the ones who have the activist role in this destruction.

Don’t worry I’m not going to blame all to the industrial west, all the states have their responsibilities. Is not the industrial Europe responsible for the destruction of the rain forest it is mainly the local governments leading the Brazilian government that even now with the populist Silva sells out the last defenses of the earth to the big forest companies for just a few dollars more. The African governments have their share when they became the backyard of the nuclear waste for all the industrial countries all around the world and that …for a few dollars more. The Asian government that decided in one night to compete the industrial west using humans as slaves and ignoring any security warnings. And yes, the industrial west that seen the results of their action inside their countries they are still thinking how to react.

Japan is a beautiful and overpopulated country; I know, I lived there for a period and I learn to love this country. But in the name of the industrial revolution a country without materials, that has to import nearly everything stormed in the industrial area conquering everything but with what cost? They ignored the environment including the humans as big element of this environment. They tighten their future and their survival with the economic growth and their industry and now they have no way to escape from this path. Changing route will mean changing a way of life that has become their nature the last century. Amazingly a nation that loves so much nature, apparently worships nature has become so depending from artificial surroundings. That’s a nation that totally lost their path and they need to find their way back.

The new Japanese Prime Minister Yasho Fukuda shows that he misses the point as well. I’m not sure if that’s because of politics or because he really has forgotten and the tragic thing with the Japanese politicians is that they all stand on the need of return to traditions while they fly further and further away from the traditions that created the Japanese nation and the nature they love so much to give names from the nature to all their women.

Next month the G8 meet again and this time environment is the main agenda. The Japanese prime minister tried to show that Japan is there strong and ready to do her part. After failing the Kyoto protocol I think that this is hypocrisy and the year 2050 without any hysterics seems too far away and I’m afraid that the same way the Japanese prime minister forgot how it was to enjoy the clean nature it will be the same for my grandkids who will think that a picnic in the fields and living without an asthma mask is something ancients used to do!

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