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Living in Limbo

Five years after the meltdown in Fukushima, the Japanese government’s effort to reboot its nuclear energy program is still being met with resistance.

photo Susanna Lööf / IAEA The atmosphere in the packed meeting room is tense. It is a Wednesday night in November, and perhaps a hundred people have gathered at a community center in the city of Minamisoma, which begins about six miles north of the decimated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. At the front of the room sits a phalanx of government officials in dark suits. Facing them are men and women…
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by: Winnie Bird – Spring 2016

Protecting the “Last Ocean”

Delegates from 24 countries and EU to debate massive marine preserve in the Antarctic

Earlier this fall, the Associated Press reported that a remarkable creature had been pulled from Antarctica’s Ross Sea. According to the article, the colossal squid was “as long as a minibus” with “tentacles like fire hoses and eyes like dinner plates,” and…
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by: Winnie Bird – October 21, 2014

Safety Clearance of Sendai Nuclear Power Plant Doesn’t Reassure Residents

Starting this fall, nuclear power could once again be part of Japan’s long-term energy mix

For most of the three-and-a-half years since the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant forced over 150,000 people from their homes and overturned the broader population’s faith in the “myth of nuclear safety,” the country’s 48 nuclear reactors have stood…
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by: Winnie Bird – July 30, 2014

We’re All in This Together

Communities with strong ethics of the commons most resilient to disasters

Following the hugely destructive earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, communities along Japan’s northeastern coast faced a major challenge of social organization: People who had lost everything needed to decide, often together, how to rebuild. They had to work through complex issues…
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by: Winnie Bird – June 10, 2013

Japan’s Reconstruction Two Years On — Plain Old Disaster Capitalism?

In Miyagi Prefecture rebuilding efforts give corporations the upper hand

Whatever happened to Japan’s sustainable reconstruction? Photos by Winnie BirdAs a recovery strategy, Sendai’s local government has decided to ramp up existing policies of farm expansion, corporatization, and integration with the processing and service industries. I asked myself that question as I…
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by: Winnie Bird – March 11, 2013

Radiant Wildlands

The forests near Fukushima and Chernobyl likely have been changed forever.

illustration Doug Chayka Late in the spring of 2011, the pale grass blue butterflies seemed no different. Flitting about the meadows of Fukushima Prefecture, their satin wings shimmered as they moved among the notched leaves of wood sorrel and feathery pampas grass. When Joji Otaki began looking closely at the delicate insects the size of a silver dollar, however, he was struck by abnormal patterns in the dark dots on their wings.…
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by: Winnie Bird – Spring 2013

Yokohama Anti-Nuke Meet Draws Thousands of Activists, Experts

But 10 Months After the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster it’s Unclear if Japanese Citizens will be Able to Force their Government to Phase Out Nuclear Power

In the 10 months since an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the Fukushima Daiici nuclear power plant, people in Japan have engaged in some of the most dramatic activism in the country’s recent history. Mothers have stormed public meetings. Angry citizens have taken…
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by: Winnie Bird – January 17, 2012

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