If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch

Monday, February 25, 2008

What a pit

When I was a young teen I had the opportunity to enter Hanford Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington and see the birthplace of "the bombs". Surprisingly the buildings that processed the uranium for the bombs that ended World War II are rather nondescript square gray structures. Being a fan of too many sci-fi movies as a kid I had really expected them to be rather modern structures with tubes, stacks and glass domes rising into the sky. It was a bit of a let down.

Few not directly connected with Hanford in some way have actually been to these places and I was fortunate to have seen them only because my dad's business took him there and I got to tag along for the day. The most memorable part of that trip was the impossibly hot chili that seemed to have a delayed fuse. It had us looking for an ice cream shop about five minutes after leaving the cafe but it sure tasted good.

I was fortunate I could visit the Hanford Reservation for the day and then return safe and snug to my home in Mountlake Terrace that same night. Others are not as fortunate and live out their lives next to its legacy. For some that has caused a huge impact on their health.

Just north of the Hanford reservation, and carved deep into the earth and tons of uranium were withdrawn from an open pit mine. The Seattle Times, yesterday, ran a very good article on this subject and here is a small sample:

"The mine itself haunts people with a question: Are we being poisoned by what was done to our land?

The story of what happened, and continues to happen, on the reservation is a cautionary tale at a time of renewed interest in nuclear energy and the toxic uranium needed to fuel it."

The full article can be viewed at the link below.

Radioactive Remains | The forgotten story of the Northwest's only uranium mines

For a little over two-hundred years we have been a nation of action. It is time we change that mode and become a nation of thought instead. Thought of what our actions mean to the generations that follow us. Thought of what our actions have done to others less fortunate. Thought about what our actions mean for every single one of us. Then we should return to action and try, I mean really try, to clean up what our thoughtlessness has left behind. If that's possible.

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