The Tragedy in Japan is Still Unfolding

The tragedy in Japan is still unfolding.

New Zealand is still digging out.

Haiti has yet to fully recover.

New Orleans is still trying to find itself.

The world is no stranger to the terrible scope of natural disaster – as far back as history records.

Pompeii – now a museum exhibition.

Krakatoa – subject of books and movies

China 1931 – the Yellow River Flood – one of the worst natural disasters ever recorded – 1 to 4 million dead – but little known because it was China….

Now let’s move on…

Libya; a bus accident in the Bronx of New York City; Chernobyl; the Gulf of Mexico BP oil rig explosion – tragic disasters all – but not so natural…in fact all are related to people, lack of accountability and sheer disregard for anything but self, profits and passing the buck.

What got me started today was actually Japan – it seems that to add tragedy to tragic – the in-actions of Japanese Nuclear executives – specifically Tokyo Electric Power Company – might very well have escalated the very real threat of a nuclear meltdown and all its attendant horrors.

The question is, were they complacent? Were they worried about ruining a huge investment? Did they wait too long to take action. I imagine that as the story unfolds we will learn more and no doubt bucks will be passed, fingers will be pointed and eventually someone will be pinned with the shame.

Kuni Yogo – a former atomic energy policy planner in Japan’s Science and Technology Agency – has been quoted as saying, “They weren’t in a panic…their main concern was the reactors…economically it is tough to decide to use seawater…” that is seawater to cool the reactor down, a procedure spelled out very clearly in the GE (who build similar reactors) protocol and procedures. And on and on.

So we look at Libya and a Dictator whom the world has now declared a horror, but who only a few months ago was still on his “rehabilitation” tour of those same countries now united against him – and maybe the biggest irony is that they are all worried about terrorism initiated by him in their own countries; we look at the bus accident and the sheer disregard for law and life; Chernobyl and its children are still feeling the effects of incompetence and BP? Books are being written about the sheer laxity of their management and total disregard for safety.

And there you have it.

It’s bad enough when nature hits us and despite the best planning, forecasting and preparation we still get hit and hard.

It’s worse when the enemy is us. Far worse.

So as the news from Japan angered me this morning – I found this thought – Listen:

“Foolproof systems do not take into account the ingenuity of fools.”   Gene Brown

And there you have it….nothing is foolproof – nothing – seems to me that it makes us fools thinking so…

One last word – when all of the great Gods of technology fail – it’s left to the little humans to clean up the mess – think about the 50 or so nameless and faceless Japanese technicians who have stayed behind to try and control the reactor – beyond our prayers, there are huge implications for all that we do and think here….

What do you think?

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