Marja-Leena Rathje
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forces of nature


I've been struggling to put words together, more than is usual even for me, about the horrific events in Japan, all that devastation caused not just by a powerful earthquake in a country that has them so frequently but the even more destructive tsunami that followed, then the nuclear explosions and meltdowns that seem to be continuing and is so worrying for all of us around the world.

Our past several days have been focused on the news coming over the internet and television, a long phone chat with an older Japanese-Canadian friend living in Ontario, and a call and email from our eldest daughter wondering about some of her friends in Japan where she'd been an exchange student and about an exchange student who stayed with us several months long ago. We have many Japanese friends here in Vancouver that we are thinking of and wondering how their families back in Japan are doing. Knowing these people is making the tragedy even more profoundly felt. There are always earthquakes and tragedies around the world, and we feel sorrow for all the people that are hurt, but this one seems to have even more of an impact on us this weekend because of some of those personal connnections, I suppose.

And we cannot forget that the west coast of Canada is also in a powerful earthquake zone. How prepared are we?

Yesterday, Sunday evening, we turned on the TV to something else, the film Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie on CBC. Please read Erika's blog post about this profoundly moving and powerful film that we recommend highly and found curiously and disturbingly timely right now. The film covers Dr. Suzuki's own history as a Japanese-Canadian child sent to an internment camp during the second World War, his experiences with racism, learning about Hiroshima, then becoming a scientist and eventually the 'godfather of environmentalism in Canada', all interspersed with his Legacy lecture, which reminds us how much human interference has created a huge problem on the natural world. The film has been out in theatres for a while and is still being shown here and there. If you can pick up CBC TV where you are, it will be aired again on April 3rd. Lots of film clips at the CBC link to explore as well, and there is the book too, all these to celebrate Suzuki's upcoming 75th birthday.

We went to bed last night with sore hearts for our friends and worries for the future of this planet and aour children, while trying to hold close David Suzuki's words of hope.

Marja-Leena | 14/03/2011 | 10 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Current Events, Environment, Films


Thank you for this personal and heartfelt response to the disaster in Japan, Marja-Leena. I will look up the links you mention.

We've been doing exactly the same as you these past few days including the part about checking out Dr. Suzuki's 'Force of Nature'. He's such a wise and charismatic man.

The idea of the Cascadia Fault slipping is a very frightening one and measures should be considered after what we've been seeing in Japan. Talk about adding insult to injury. It's incredible to me that nuclear power plants were ever allowed in the country and the state of the facilities close to Tokyo are very serious. Plants designed by General Electric with no allowance for hydrogen gas release are the ones that have been exploding.

I'm glad I stopped by to visit and found you've addressed this issue. I've just been too sad to post anything since it began.

Natalie, thanks for reading. It's quite a terrible situation over there, isn't it?

Susan, we are very depressed about all the news of the triple whammy over there and all those poor suffering folks. This evening we're trying not to follow any more news or think of what might happen on this coast, or the fallout that could be blowing our way. How to think of anything else...??

I too am at a loss for words over this, the scale of it seems simply impossible to grasp.

Lucy, yes, the scale is so very difficult to comprehend, and it just keeps growing. A blog friend in Tokyo just emailed me a reply - food and medicine are difficult to get even there and the usually stoical and self-confident people are understandably beginning to flag. I think of how awful we feel as distant observers in the safe (?) west, then how very very stressed and scared the people in Japan are feeling.

so very scary and upsetting. x

It's a terrible tragedy and reminds us how fragile this earth and this life is. I, too, will look at the links you suggest.

Elisa, it sure is.

Anne, yes, indeed. I think you would like the film if you get an opportunity to see it.

So many thanks, Marja-leena for your thoughtful words and the link to the David Suzuki film. I watched the trailer, know it would be an important experience for many to see the entire film.

We know that the future for the Japanese people will be difficult; how do we help them? Lately we have been talking about the challenge to project hopefulness for our children and grandchildren with all the dark happenings around us.

Naomi, thanks for reading and agreeing. And yes, my thoughts exactly about projecting hopefulness for our grandchildren - in fact I was writing about that very thing during the night and made it into the next post.