Southern California environment news and trends

Song of the Week: "You can't see it, and you can't smell it," for nuclear generating stations


Anti-nuclear power protests in Kouenji, Tokyo, Japan, April 2011.

If there's one rule about the Song of the Week, it's that it can't be a protest song. Protest music, generally, is where melody, good lyrics, and humor go to die. But rules are made to be broken.

It's a year after the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami that damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Power plant in Japan. I don't know that anyone is yet reporting on what that accident reveals about our sense of risk from that sort of harm. It does seem like we're still piecing together what happened; we're not yet thinking about what we might pay in the future if we're still trying to count the cost--and it seems we are. I recommend you find, read, and listen to everything at FUEL an energy journal, and the formidable Alex Chadwick's reporting on energy issues, including nuclear power, and including Fukushima.


Song of the Week: "Great Atomic Power," for San Onofre

Mercer 1518

David McNew/Getty Images

Are you, are you ready, for that great atomic power?

Clearly the song of the week is for the ammonia spill at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. But picking a song that gestures at risk assessment and nuclear power is harder than you might think.

Nuclear power tends to be referenced in protest songs, and protest songs tend to suck. David Hajdu, the music critic for The New Republic, blogged about nuclear songs, songs about war and nuclear power, after Fukushima. For his favorite he picked Gil Scott-Heron (which, I like me some Gil Scott-Heron, but there's a terrible about 2 minutes you have to get through on the youtube video appended to Hajdu's blog where you wonder when you got onto the S.S. No-nuke's cruise ship lounge). 

I like the Louvin Brothers' classic, "Great Atomic Power." I got introduced to it by Uncle Tupelo in the nineties. Remember when Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar were in the same band? No, nobody does, but it happened.


Morning greens: Californians reject nukes, our oceans critically weaken, and Pasadena gives back to the grid

Happy Hump Day, SoCal! Here’s the latest green news to jumpstart midweek madness.

Californians say no to new nukes. KQED reports on a new survey from the Field Research Corporation, which shows support for expanding nuclear energy in California has dropped. In the wake of the March 11th Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, “58% [of Californians] surveyed said they did not agree that more nuclear power plants should be built in the state.” Last year, only 44% polled were opposed to more power plants. At the same time, Californians remain confident in the plants that already exist.

Experts warn oceans are on the brink of mass extinction. reports: “Mass extinctions of species in the world's oceans are inevitable if current trends of overfishing, habitat loss, global warming and pollution continue, a panel of renowned marine scientists warned Tuesday.” Led by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), the study writes "Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean." Just how bad is it? Scientists compare this to a similar mass extinction on Earth, when the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago.