So with all the fuss about Fukishima in Japan across the Pacific Ocean, the alternative main-scream press rarely bothers with the horrific toxicity close to home. And nor do we.
I never buy anything to put in my body from the deep discount places, esp. Price Choppers or Wal-Mart, and as much as possible buy local, not so much out of paranoia but so as not to keep supporting with my money those offering bad cultural, economic and nutritional stuff . If we all would stop buying their crap, they would stop selling it! Or put another way again: ‘often the solution to globalisation is simply to promote home-grown solutions.’ It’s as simple as that. Does that mean I advocate never buying black pepper because it doesn’t grow here? Of course not. But there are extremes which should be avoided in any sphere, and balances, or norms, which we can learn to promote. It makes no sense, for example, for Nova Scotia to be one of the largest cucumber producers and yet the ones they sell us usually come from California. I will try to grow my own (first garden ever), as should more of us, or ‘they’ should try to offer us local cucumbers instead of those grown in unnaturally irradiated, war-happy America (not that Canada is much better any more given we always support US or Israeli belligerent policies/actions when they are proposed or implemented).
There are currently 1200 abandoned uranium mines in the Navajo Nation and 500 of them require reclamation. The greatest amount of radioactive contamination on Navajo land comes from solid waste called “tailings,” which sits in large open piles, some as tall as 70 feet high, and was incorporated into materials used to build homes. Dust from these piles of waste blows throughout the land causing widespread contamination.
A 2008 study found that “mills and tailings disposal sites caused extensive groundwater contamination by radium, uranium, various trace metals and dissolved solids. One estimate is that 1.2 million acre-feet of groundwater (or enough to fill Elephant Butte Reservoir more than twice) have been contaminated in the Ambrosia Lake-Milan area from historic mine and mill discharges, and less than two-tenths of 1 percent has been treated to reduce contaminant levels.” It is estimated that 30 percent of people living in the Navajo Nation lack access to uncontaminated water.
Charmaine White Face of Defenders of the Black Hills describes the situation in the Great Sioux Nation as “America’s Chernobyl.” She says, “A private abandoned, open-pit uranium mine about 200 meters from an elementary school in Ludlow, SD, emits 1170 microRems per hour, more than 4 times as much as is being emitted from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. ” In addition, “Studies by the USFS show that one mine alone has 1,400 millirems per hour (mR/hr) of exposed radiation, a level of radiation that is 120,000 times higher than normal background of 100 millirems per year (mR/yr)!” Cancer rates in Pine Ridge, SD, are the highest in the nation.
This contamination escapes into the air which blows to the East and South and seeps into the water, reaching the Cheyenne and Missouri Rivers. It poisons grain grown in these areas that is fed to cattle that provide milk and beef for the rest of the nation. As White Face explains, “In an area of the USA that has been called ‘the Bread Basket of the World,’ more than 40 years of mining have released radioactive polluted dust and water runoff from the hundreds of abandoned open pit uranium mines, processing sites, underground nuclear power stations and waste dumps. Our grain supplies and our livestock production in this area have used the water and have been exposed to the remainders of this mining. We may be seeing global affects, not just localized affects, to the years of uranium mining.”
Uranium also contaminates coal that is mined in Wyoming for power plants in the East. Defenders of the Black Hills report that “Radioactive dust and particles are released into the air at the coal fired power plants and often set off the warning systems at nuclear power plants.”