Letter: In Response to Tom Osborne’s Column

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The losses of life in the Pacific may or may not relate to warm seawater, and for the moment, I’ll claim neutrality in the debate about climate change and carbon taxation. But I will mention that the starfish are not alone in their misery. The beaching whales, otters, sea lions, and depleted tide pools are other indicators of a massive die-off in the environment around us. Witness also the declined bird and insect populations. Tumors are spiking in veterinary and human hospitals. Bring a portable Geiger counter to the beach and watch the radiation levels ratchet to “Emergency Evacuate” levels and one may reconsider the global warming answer.

I would instead look to the continuous 400 tonnes daily flow of Cesium contaminated coolant that has entered the North Pacific since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Diachi in 2011. The plume of toxicity has swelled across the Pacific past the Hawaiian Islands and damaged life from Alaska to beyond the tip of Baja. The air and rains have brought the radioactive hazard into our skies across the continent and into our soils and groundwater.

The starfish were among the first “coal mine canaries,” to use Tom’s metaphor, and the beaching whales that have lost their krill feeds were next. The sickly sea lions and disastrous seafood catches came next.

Tom’s Arkansas schoolchildren’s letter is a sweet thought, if tragic. But we are seeing an extermination event unfold around us that has no answer. The newspaper reportage of this phenomenon is mute, perforce I suspect. One can surmise the motivation for quashing this story. Oceanfront real estate values? Panicking the “herd?” Alas, there you have it.

Matt Smith, Laguna Beach

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  1. There is no credible scientific evidence that radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster is a cause of any adverse health effects on marine life or humans on the West Coast of the U.S. This is a link to a Washington State Department of Health article on this topic from 3/2017, which was over 2-years after miniscule levels of Cesium-134, identified as coming from Fukushima, were first detected in ocean waters off the West Coast of California:

    The levels of radiation found in or near the California coasts have remained far below permissible levels of radiation in drinking water. There are numerous bona fide science-based websites and articles that address this question and debunk claims of dangerously high levels of radiation on California beaches resulting from Fukushima. (This is a completely distinct topic from the issues of the disaster itself, how and why it happened, and what the responses were from the Japanese government and the plant’s owners.)

  2. I agree with you, Matt. Was it just a coincidence that the first recent die off of sea stars happened shortly after the Fukushima disaster?


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