Japan & The Ring of Fire by Liz Nord

 

I have been working on this post about Japan since Saturday, but I’ve had trouble pulling it together. My mind wanders and I start rambling. The footage is intense and I feel uncomfortable feelings that I’m not sure how to process. I am sensitive. The images are horrifying; the emotional pain of the Japanese people is palpable. For a large percentage of the rest of the world, the rhythm of life beats on.

I look out my window and I see everything as it should be— peaceful, intact, and thriving. The water is calm. We are so lucky. I’m not sure people want to read about this, but it’s something important that’s unfolding in the world right now. Some people can tune it out–turn off the TV or switch it to celebrity gossip, and put on rose-colored glasses. I don’t want to hear one more second of Charlie Sheen news (I’ve met Charlie Sheen, and he’s nothing to write home about), or who’s dating whom, or whose recently had plastic surgery. I don’t care. I’m not judging; just saying how I personally feel. I know some people need a distraction. At the same time, the tsunami is a significant serious historical event that should be discussed.

I live in the “Ring of Fire”, and some of my friends are scared that we will be directly affected by the contaminated air that could potentially blow here via the ring of fire jet stream. I don’t think it will happen. The scientists say if the radiation does reach the West Coast, it would be diluted before reaching this state, and levels would be so low, no action would be necessary by the time it arrives. We are not at risk for radiation exposure.

I went to two local pharmacists to get a read on what the general public is thinking. My excuse was research because I was a little embarrassed to be asking–Are people preparing for the worst? I was surprised when I heard that our local stores and stores in surrounding cities have sold out of some emergency items (such as painted-on iodine) and that both local pharmacies I spoke with had been receiving calls for the last 72 hours for prescription Potassium Iodine. Oh, and by the way, the pharmacist said, “Go to REI to get Portable Aqua Iodine to put in your water.” Hmm.

I do think, in general and unrelated directly to the Japanese tsunami, that it is important to have supplies on hand for any potential emergency, but only as a precaution–not because something horrible is imminent. I don’t believe it is. I just like to be prepared.

A handful of people I know are packing up to get ready to drive east if necessary, and some people are honestly scared that our government and media are not being fully honest. I refuse to panic or engage in fear mongering. I won’t do it. I think it’s really important to get your information from a reliable source. Looking on-line at random unverified information will lead to cyberchondria. I just want the facts.

While I think it’s very important to be real, connect, and empathize with the current events and the people who are affected by the Japanese catastrophe, I also think it’s important to not be emotionally swallowed whole by it, and to continue living our lives.  As a parent, I think it’s important to be calm for our children as well. They can feel our stress and it affects them. When I listen to the scientists and experts, not the media who want higher ratings, I feel confident that we will be fine here.

I think it is imperative that we help the people overseas who are in need in any way that we can. I also think we should all pause from our daily living to think about everything that we have to thankful for. We are truly fortunate.

*How have you been affected by the Japanese earthquakes and tsunami? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

**If you want to help the people in Japan, the Red Cross is a great organization to contact.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Myra Elwell
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 07:32:40

    Well, my dad used to work for the DOD in a branch called QUASAS. They are responsible for all chemical, nuclear and tactical explosive device safety and oversight for the military. He’s actually pretty calm. He’s heard some of his old team are on standby as far as being sent to ensure all safety and quality rules and SOP’s are followed, but none of them are “panicking”. As he put it, if and when radiactive fallout becomes that much of a danger to the general public, there won’t be any hiding it or downplaying it. Best to keep an eye on the news and world events in general.
    Ironically, most people do not understand that it is chemical and biological weapons that will most likely be used against the U.S. A nuclear threat isn’t.
    As for the by-product of what is happening in Japan, it will have far reaching consequences that most people are not thinking about now because they have no concept of what it is like to do without.
    Being raised in and around a military/dod family gives one perspective, especially when one’s father worked around some of the most dangerous weapons grade explosives known and unknown to the world. You learn what to expect in the worst case scenarios and just how sheltered 95% of the American civillian population is. And that they are kinda on the stupid side, too. *SHRUG*
    Anyway, you are taking the correct stance. *HUGS*
    ME

    Reply

    • Liz
      Mar 16, 2011 @ 13:19:28

      @Myra,
      Thanks for your comment. I feel so sad for what the people in Japan are going through right now. I think you are right–there will be long-term ramifications. Someone commented on my article on Facebook. She wrote about possible long-term affects on the food chain. Scary!

      @Kate,
      Thank you for the compliment. I think your West Coast family will be just fine!
      I always find it difficult to figure out the best way to help people in need. I added a Red Cross link to the post, but I wish I could do more.

      Reply

  2. Kate
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 07:49:13

    Well done, Liz! What a compassionate, balanced take on the issue. I’m glad you wrote about it, and I appreciate the update from the West Coast. I have a lot of family there, and hadn’t even realized that people might be concerned about being impacted by Japan.

    Mostly, I think we should focus on the people who are actually in Japan, and do whatever we can to make sure they receive the aid they need. I can’t imagine what they must be going through.

    Reply

  3. josephinetalepeddler
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 16:09:45

    I find the Japan catastrophe difficult to contemplate. There’s been so many disasters in the news recently and it really is overwhelming at times. My daughter is only six and she doesn’t watch the news as I think it’s too much for her. We have been praying together for the Japanese and talking about how horrible it is for the people of Japan. Just really wanted to say I think this is a good post on the topic. I touched on it also on my Blog but it’s very tricky to write about. xx

    Reply

  4. stephanie
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 19:11:10

    It’s true. It’s easy to turn the channel and tune out the horrors of what the people of Japan are going through, however, this is such a great time to reflect on our blessings. Great post … thanks for putting things in perspective today.
    Stephanie from http://www.southernmomentum.com

    Reply

  5. Raymond S. Hovey
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 03:14:44

    I’m currently living in Sendai, the largest city closest to the March 11th magnitude 8.9 earthquake. My wife and I were lucky to escape any of the damage caused by the tsunami following the quake, but now find ourselves existing in a strange kind of limbo. Our apartment is livable. We have food, electricity, and, as of today, water, but our immediate future is full of uncertainty. The US embassy in Japan has just recommended all Americans within 80 km of the nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture to either evacuate or stay indoors. We’re currently outside of this 80 km zone (we’re about 96 km away), but I don’t know what we’ll do if the zone is extended…
    My Japanese wife’s passport expired five days before the quake, and she doesn’t have a visa to stay in the USA. I’ve been living and working in Sendai for the past 11 1/2 years and consider it to be my home. But this quake could cause the small school where I work to close, leaving our future here even more up in the air…
    I’m trying to prevent the media coverage of this disaster pushing me to make a rash decision… A decision I may come to regret… But it’s hard to know what exactly to believe…
    For now, we live day to day by making sure we have the basic essentials we require. We are, and have been, luckier that the thousands of other people who have lost their lives and for this we can be thankful.
    How much longer we can go on like this, I don’t know…
    What I do know is that we’ll continue to try our best…

    Reply

    • Liz
      Mar 17, 2011 @ 11:15:10

      @Raymond,
      I’m so glad you are okay and so sorry you are struggling! I can’t even imagine what you must be going through. I don’t even know what to say. I’m sending good thoughts your way. Please be safe and keep us updated.
      xx

      Reply

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