Monday, July 25, 2011

At the crossroads

Sagi-ike Pond in Nara Park
Do you see something other than the clouds in the blue sky?

afternoon moon in the blue sky
Do you spot this out in the first photo?

I’ve believed we’ll find simple truth by looking up at the sky like “Sky-blue Flowers” or looking at the horizon of the immense sea.  Today I’m not talking about a poem but energy, energy from the sun.  It is inexhaustible source of energy.  Why did humans start getting energy by looking down inside the earth instead of looking up? 

The way to Yagyu from Nara City. What would become of these rice paddies if contaminated by the invisible nuclear substance?

Now that I've witnessed the enormity and severity of the risks and tormenting misery of Tohoku people associated with nuclear power generation,  I want nuclear-free future.  It will take a long time, however, once a goal is set up, people will be determined to do challenging tasks uncompromisingly.   People also will cooperate to go through power shortage in the transitional period as we are doing now.  Due to the destruction of the Fukushima nuclear plant and many offline nuclear reactors under the inspection, we are expected to save power by 10 to 15 percent to avoid massive blackout in spite of our notorious hot and humid summer.  People’s energy conservation efforts and companies’ in-house power supplies have been working well so far. (Knocking on wood..., as we still have a very hot month ahead.)  After all, the time is over when we can use power abundantly and now is the good chance to change our lifestyle to more natural way.

summer green

Once the civilization has developed so far, is it impossible to change the course?   There is an idea to make the whole Japan a mega solar power generating factory eventually by decreasing dependence on nuclear power gradually.  I think it’s fascinating.  When the central government had no constructive idea, it was proposed by the president of Softbank Corp.  Osaka prefecture's governor supported the idea quickly and 35 prefecture's governors join the plan so far.  Prefectures offer land free and Softbank construct mega solar plants on it.  In the open space in each prefecture, there will be huge solar generators.

Some people criticize it as Mr. Son’s business strategy.  If people are critical, why don't they propose another constructive ideas of their own?  Some people propose that work of generation and distribution of power be divided, and some say only solar energy is risky because weather is uncertain.  Japan has a month-long rainy season.

According to yesterday's newspaper, The Sankei, Osaka prefecture announced that when solar panels are put on the roof of every house, building, school, etc. of Osaka prefecture, the amount of generated energy will be equivalent to the one by 5 nuclear reactors.  The governor plans to realize it with government subsidies, though with the introduction of new tax to make the budget.  

central Kobe in 2011
The reconstruction of Kobe after devastating 1995 earthquake was realized
much faster than expected.

A minister said that decreasing nuclear power would be detrimental to the industrious development and we would not be wealthy any more.  I'd like to ask what is the role of the government: to make people rich, or to make people happy?  I'd like to be safe and sound always without "man-made" catastrophe.  Fortunately the renewable energy technologies have been growing and storage battery technologies are heating up.  By careful shifting from nuclear power to renewable power gradually, maybe we could become self sufficient in terms of energy in future.  I don't want this ends up wishful thinking.

Last but not least,  my thoughts and prayers are for the deceased, the bereaved, the injured, and all the Norwegian people.

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  1. Hello:
    Like you, we do believe in the infinite ingenuity of Man and his ability to devise new strategies and sources for energy if the will is strong enough. We are with you when you say that,following the dreadful effects of the tsunami, the time should be right to think afresh rather than simply resurrect the old.

    Your theory of using solar energy is surely a good one and it is interesting that there is much support already at government level. Yes, let us all hope that new solutions will be kinder to the environment and provide a less hostile solution for Japan's and the world's energy needs. Perhaps we must all, ultimately, be satisfied with less.

  2. Have a nice day. I agree with your view on nuclear energy. It is so much energy in the sun and we use it so little. With nuclear power is like fire. A good assistant, but a bad master. Here it's a much higher contrast difference. Mankind atom can unexpectedly get out of hand. The following are dire consequences for the very existence of humanity. Many greetings and wishes you good health, Petr.

  3. Hi, Satrdust.


    私は原子力を完璧に否定できるほどのpolicy は持っていません。世界で始めて原子力爆弾の被爆国となって、今回又原発の安全性は100%でないということを、世界に知らせることになってしまった悲しい日本ですが、日本人が1つになって、省エネに取り組んでる姿をテレビやニュースでみると、やっぱり日本人って、前向き、努力家、勤勉だなあと感じます。また新しい日本が生まれるのではと、心強く思い始めているこの頃です。


  4. i loved your line: Why did humans start getting energy by looking down inside the earth instead of looking up? i wish all governments and people across the world would look at alternative energy sources more seriously. wind and sun seem the least risky, but we have a long way to go...

  5. 化石燃料を使い、産業革命が始まった頃からエネルギーの大量消費が始まったとのことです。

  6. A decision to turn Japan over to "safe" energy, might become a catalyst for further research. The ideal technology doesn't exist now, but if there is enough incentive, then resources will be put into developing it.

    In that way, Japan has the opportunity to lead the world.

    Other countries cannot pretend that nuclear energy is not dangerous. Just because they haven't had a disaster, it doesn't mean it is safe in England or France or anywhere else.

    But of course, money talks, and so it depends on how much effective alternative to cheap nuclear fuel can be found. I hope Japan takes the opportunity to lead in this, and then the horrible things that have happened will have a partly positive outcome. Please let us know how this develops. It might not be reported properly in the European press - at least, I have not seen anything in our press about this proposal.

  7. Beautiful photos!

    I think to put solar panels on each roof is a good idea, except about the difference to get some merits from the system between those who have house and who doesn't, paying tax equally.

    Any way, our decision to change our life style in the term of post- industrialisation is widely required, really.

  8. Beautiful shots.

    I too wish for a world where we use renewable energy and are nuclear free.

  9. I love your analogy of looking up instead of down, stardust! What happened in Japan has shaken the world and showed the extreme dangers and unpredictable nature of relying on nuclear power. Unfortunately, mankind has trouble remembering once time passes and the shock of a catastrophic event fades. I think what happened in Japan, however, will eventually sway people into insisting on alternatives. You are so right … a wealthy society is of no use whatsoever when health and happiness are at risk!

  10. Beautiful photo's. Thetre is such a lot happening in this world and I truly believe we can only learn from our mistakes.

  11. Wonderful post - beautiful and wise!
    Have a great new week:)

  12. Health and Happiness overrule wealth any day! A contaminated environment would eventually lead to no need of energy, by any of us. Your world is my world. In the first photo of the rice patties, I love the ribbon of lighter green trees flowing through the darker ones. Very lovely scene.

  13. I wish all countries would let go of the idea that we need to be rich. Wealth does not make people happy. My own government thinks the Canadian economy is what life is all about. I disagree, thinking there's much more to life than making money.

    If Japan develops new and better ways to use solar power it would be wonderful for everyone everywhere.

  14. Great post and lovely photos. I would love to see our government do the same and help to put more solar panels on every house.

  15. solar energy is the future. there are many proponents of solar power here [in the Philippines]. in fact, many residential houses and resorts who can afford solar panels, have been using it for years. but aside from the expensive solar panels, the oil companies are also actively lobbying [against it].

    i hope Japan would be able to develop a technology to make solar power more affordable. the whole planet would benefit from it.

  16. Needless to say, I feel exactly the same as you and the other people who have commented on your post!! I do believe that solar energy is the future. It will take time and I do hope it can be made more affordable. Of course the oil companies will fight it and consequently many in government will do the same. But then I think we all realize that most politicians are only interested in the money that goes into their own pockets, not in what is best for the country. Thank you for a wise post for the day!


  17. so beautiful out there. take care.

  18. gorgeous photo's....important message!!

    but it seems nothing ever changes.

  19. Beautiful photos.
    I loved your line "I'd like to ask what is the role of the government: to make people rich, or to make people happy? "
    I know I would far rather be happy :-)

  20. Hello, Yoko!
    How interesting. Thank you, this is such a beautiful and educational post.

  21. Really interesting post!! Keep us up to date. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  22. Man has spoilt and misused earth and all the natural resources available on earth for his greed!! Sadly now he looks at other choices available to him, but there are not many viable options left either...
    Nice post, I loved the paddy fields...
    Have a fabulous week ahead:)

  23. I hear about radioactive contamination everyday on news. We don't know about nuclear very much but we started nuclear power plant. Now we are experimented like guinea pig how much radiation harm human body. And we can't stop it immediately regrettably.
    Well, I think solar energy will lead after nuclear reactor.But what will lead after solar energy, I wonder?

  24. Our whole world needs to get serious about renewable energy and find sources that are not detrimental to people's health and well-being. The US is unable to find majority consensus among its politicians - I hope the Japanese people and government can set an example for the rest of us. The lushness of the rice paddies is amazing.

  25. The public opinions to say No to nuclear power were accepted in Germany and Italy . Why not in Japan, where we are experiencing the first-hand comprehensive damage from that, not to mention people directly affected by three minus and wide-spreading area with radioactive contamination.
    I really wish the clear and convincing tactics will be proclaimed from not slanted perspective. The process is too slow...I hope the sensible approach to the renewable energy gets more momentum and becomes a mainstream as soon as possible.

  26. Hi Stardust. I did not see the moon in the first picture. But I did see what I thought were fading vapor trails left by airplanes.

    We have many challenges in the years ahead which must be met if the human race is to survive. Energy is one of them. Global warming is another, related one. We cannot continue to use up earth's resources indiscriminately. We must adopt a no-growth policy in every area.

    It won't be easy and the U.S. must take the lead for we remain the most rapacious of all nations when it comes to the destruction of our natural habitat.

  27. Hello Stardust. So well written. I have always wondered why man wouldn't take advantage of our natural resources. Solar power...just the name....SOLAR tells the whole story doesn't it? If everyone used the power of the sun in solar powered panels, maybe it would become less expensive to manufacture. I would LOVE to put solar panels in my home and heat my home and water through solar panels. But it is so costly to purchase them. It is sad that disasters have to happen to open mans eyes. Just the word nuclear is scarey to me. We have nuclear plants in the USA. I am just glad I am not near always your pics are beautiful. The rice paddies and if they are affected where you are at it would be so devastating. I feel so blessed right now...with all that has recently happened I am so blessed my life is good. I pray yours will remain happy as well.

  28. Hello Stardust!
    Whatever the answer is to this problem,it has to begin somewhere,possibly with individuals installing solar panels on their homes.However as Linda says,at the moment the cost is prohibitive for most people.In Scotland wind farms are cropping up on hillsides everywhere.It appears to me that governments are listening but it will take time,after all they do want to be re-elected!
    The rise paddies are lush and beautiful,and long may they remain so.
    Thanks for this this post.
    Enjoy your day,

  29. The first photo is lovely. Yes, we need to "harness" the vast power of the sun. It gives us light and warmth, and can also give us energy. I have faith that man's ingenuity will "come through" and find a way to produce save, cheap energy someday soon. Have a lovely weekend. Mickie :)

  30. Dear Stardust

    Hopefully this wealth of these rice fields,
    the beauty of those skies that unite us,
    the fertility of the land our mother,
    join us for a long time.

    a hug

  31. Dear Stardust, you've asked a very good question and I am sure that soon people will answer it in a right way.
    thank you for the nice post.

  32. I love your blog and your photography. I can see some familiar bloggers here:)

  33. Thank you Friends for each and every supportive and encouraging comment from all of you.

    I have wondered why Japan took the course to nuclear power in spite of being only nation having suffered atomic bombing and its geography without any safe places from seismic events. Tied with some politicians, Electric Power Companies have insisted that “nuclear power is the only way to secure a stable supply of environmentally clean electric at a relative low cost” together with the sugar-coating words like “peaceful use” of nuclear power.

    According to the survey by the Asahi, about 77 percent of Japanese support the "gradual abolition" of nuclear power. PM Kan wants to pass a bill to abandon the nuclear plans. Many people support for his stance on nuclear despite his unpopularity. While private companies and local governors get started taking leadership, things will surely speed up when the plan becomes national policy even if there's a long way to go. I wish politicians be wise without wasting time on political games of power (this is a pun) control.


  34. To Petr

    I tried to say thank you on your blog by posting a comment to you, but I couldn’t get there. Your comment is really appreciated. Happy days ahead.


  35. I did not spot the moon in the first pic to be frank...indeed you are asking a very importnt question here: health+happiness go way before being wealthy; I am just back from Bangkok where I had a guided tour in the slums; our guide told us not to feel bad about the people there (btw the slums are absolutely clean and well organised), she said the residents there are not poor, in Thailand poor are only the people who dont have anything to eat...the rest are all happy;

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