Interesting conference recap for my resilience, cities, and adaptation readers. Focus seems to have been on public-private partnerships in rebuilding after disasters - getting NGOs, non-profits, and governments together to discuss how to better plan and manage environmental risks. Big fan of the international flavors at this event.
In 2011 a couple of months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear aftermath, the Global Platform for Disaster Reduction, which also hosted the first World Reconstruction Conference, brought together almost 3000 people working on reducing disaster risks and building resilient communities. This included several Heads of State, Ministers, a Managing Director of the World Bank, over 2,600 delegates representing 163 Governments, 25 inter-governmental organizations, 65 non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, private sector, local government, academic institutions, civil society and international organizations.
The Chair’s Summary of the 2011 event identified 9 ways to place DRR at the forefront to preserve and protect the balance of nature and ensure sustainable development and well-being of future generations. This included supporting local government, drawing on the untapped potential of local actors, building on the role of women as change agents, involving children and youth in decisions that affect their future, engaging the private sector, building on the role of parliamentarians in setting policy, promoting cooperation at the local, national, and regional levels, supporting the scientific and technical communities to inform decisions, and supporting UNISDR in its leadership role in within the UN on DRR.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Across the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 6,000 miles away — the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.
“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments.
A Harley-Davidson motorcycle swept away by Japan tsunami washes up on Canada coast
Objects and debris from last year’s tsunami, carried by ocean currents, have been washing up with increasing frequency on the west coast of Canada and the United States.
Recent discoveries include a soccer ball and a volleyball that were swept away in Iwate prefecture and washed ashore on Alaska’s Middleton Island. The items were returned to their Japanese owners.
The Maritime Museum of BC last week launched the Tsunami Debris Project, an online effort to collect photos of flotsam that has washed ashore, with the hope that some items can be reunited with their owners.
The magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15,000 people and crippled several nuclear plants. Tons of debris were swept into the Pacific Ocean.
“Perhaps not for long. Already, a slew of reports are warning that Japan could face grim economic consequences if it keeps its reactors offline. Before a tsunami and earthquake caused a meltdown at Fukushima’s Daiichi reactor last year, atomic power provided 27 percent of the Japan’s electricity. Since the shutdowns, the country has been importing more oil and natural gas to keep the lights on. And that’s costly. A recent report (pdf) from Japan’s Institute for Energy Economics found that, as a result, the country’s GDP would grow just 0.1 percent in 2012, and Japan could find struggling with electricity shortages during the sweaty summer months.
By contrast, the IEEJ report found, if Japan began switching its nuclear reactors back on this summer, the economy would grow 1.9 percent this year — largely because lower electricity prices would allow factories to ramp up production. What’s more, by curtailing its fossil-fuel imports, Japan would be able to run a trade surplus this year, instead of a projected $57 billion trade deficit. (Currently, Japan imports about 90 percent of its oil from the Middle East, and the country’s newfound appetite for crude has helped drive global prices upward.)
What Japan does with its reactors could have significant climate-change consequences, too”
One year after the devastating tsunami in Japan sent a wall of water that overtook much of eastern Japan, it seems that debris from that tragedy is making its way to the shores of California. It is estimated that 20 million tons of debris was swept out at sea, and many experts predicted that it would end up in the “great Pacific garbage patch,” which is the swirling area in the Pacific that has become a holding ground for plastic and other floating debris.
According to a recent New York Times article, a month after the tsunami the debris was no longer visible in NOAA’s satellite images. And, to assist in the search, officials have requested higher-resolution satellite images from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
2011 was a year of global tumult, marked by widespread social and political uprisings, economic crises, and a great deal more. We saw the fall of multiple dictators, welcomed a new country (South Sudan), witnessed our planet’s population grow to 7 billion, and watched in horror as Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster. From the Arab Spring to Los Indignados to Occupy Wall Street, citizens around the world took to the streets in massive numbers, protesting against governments and financial institutions, risking arrest, injury, and in some cases their lives. Collected here is Part 1 of a three-part photo summary of the last year, covering 2011’s first several months.
Above: A wave approaches Miyako City from the Heigawa estuary in Iwate Prefecture after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the area March 11, 2011. The earthquake, the most powerful ever known to have hit Japan, combined with the massive tsunami, claimed more than 15,800 lives, devastated many eastern coastline communities, and triggered a nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. (Reuters/Mainichi Shimbun)
Radiation counter map of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. June 18, 2011
The red/orange/yellow is about the same sized area as Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC, Arlington, WV, and Richmond, VA. See below comparison of East Coast USA to Japan in land area. Fukushima, above, is just about aligned with where DC is below:
Note: You can read updates on the IAEA’s website, here.
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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