Friday, March 18, 2011


A few years ago, in my online Ecological Issues course, I had a student who took me by surprise. We were discussing various energy alternatives, and I was trying to give them a balanced view (each and every option has benefits and drawbacks; there is no panacea). This student ranted against nuclear power. In each and every post, he was vehemently against it.

Now such strong opposition to something is unusual in college students (in my experience). I usually find myself trying to pull them out of a state of apathy. Keep in mind, the class was online, and I had never met my students. So it wasn't until this particular student turned in his final paper at the end of the semester that I understood.

He was from Japan. He was vehemently anti-nuclear because of the earthquakes there. What if, he argued, there was a big one? What would happen to the reactors?

And now we watch, hoping the emergency teams may somehow manage to prevent a complete meltdown. People who survived first the earthquake and then the tsunami are now at risk of high doses of radiation. A slow, painful, alternative. Talk about foresight.

You may have heard, but Rachael Harrie, Marieke, Luna, Tessa Quin, and Amanda Milner have started Write Hope, a charity auction to support relief efforts in Japan.

Write Hope's mascot Nozomi

If you have something to donate: ARCs, critiques, or anything else kidlit, please donate!

And if you don't, please participate in the auction. All proceeds will be donated to the Save the Children emergency relief fund for Japan.


  1. Nuclear never seemed like it was worth the risk to me.
    The disaster in Japan is a nightmare. Adding radioactive fallout just makes the wholes situation so much worse.

    I will check out the auction.

  2. Alison, Thanks for sharing this story. We need more youth like that young man, enough voices to create change. Our survival is at risk in new ways every day. I'm going to go check out Write Hope!

  3. I hope you gave that student an 'A'. I get so tired of informing people of looming disasters and having them ignore me.

  4. Hey thanks for the Write Hope!!

    I am gonna come in just now!!

  5. I still think nuclear energy is one of the best alternatives we have. After all that what the sun is. Making nuclear more safe should be the priority for us. Fossil fuels should become mostly a thing of the past and while wind, solar, tides, and other options are interesting, I'm not sure about how practical they are on a large scale usage.

    Tossing It Out

  6. I'm pro-nuclear power because simply put, we have overpopulated our planet and there is no solution to fossil fuel dependence otherwise unless the world wants to start talking about not having babies (and no one wants to do that). So yeah...nuclear power all the way baby. We just must respect it for the awesome force that it is.

  7. I'm also in favor of nuclear energy...not exclusively, but I think it has a lot of advantages. Sadly, the Ring of Fire is clearly not a safe location for reactors. The odds there are just not good. Of course, it's always easier to say in hindsight.

    Thanks for sharing Write Hope--it's such a great idea!

  8. Al: I think it has promise, but location needs to be an important consideration.

    Clara: You're welcome.

    Ted: He earned an A. And I feel exactly the same way. I think people ignore it because it's too overwhelming to think about what we really need to do to change.

    Allmyposts: Your'e welcome.

    Alex: He did. And I had never considered it before then.

    Lee: I think nuclear is essential, at least to get us through a transition to something else (hydrogen is the most likely futuristic scenario). Estimates are that we'll run out of oil in the next 30 years. Time is rapidly running out.

    Michael: I think it's a two-fold issue. It's not only the number of people, it's also the rate at which we use up resources. If everyone lived like the average American, we would need 4.5 Earth's to support them all.

    Carla: You're welcome!

  9. That is amazing prescience. It really does seem like a ridiculous gamble in retrospect. My heart goes out to the Japanese, where unfortunately, radiation from nuclear explosions weigh heavily on the national psyche.

  10. We really need to watch what we are doing to our beautiful planet. Japan clearly thought that this sort of power was best. Obviously not.

    Alison, i agree, we use so much "stuff" I happily stick my guilty hand in the air at this one.

    *sigh* what to do.

    anyway excuse my pensive morning.

    sorry i seemed to miss adding you as a crusader follower earlier on this year. OOPS sorry *blush* So i have just followed your blog now.

    I have a competition running over on my blog if you are interested.
    just a quick form to enter (no hard questions)

    Happy writing,


  11. Wow, Alison, what a moving story, particularly since it's come true now! I can only hope that student wasn't in harm's way.

    And thanks so much for helping to spread the word about Write Hope, we really appreciate it :)



  12. Wow, foresight indeed! And now with the benefit of hindsight we're all wondering why more people didn't share his caution...