[This is an email we, Casa de Paz at the Canticle Farm, sent to our contacts right after the tragedy in Fukushima, dated Saturday, March 19th, 2011]
Namaste dear beloved satyagrahis citizens of the World! 🙂
May this email find you radiating love and facilitating the healing of the Earth Community.
All our love and universal blessings to our siblings in the part of the Planet we call Japan.
In the last few days, some of us have been collecting information regarding the combined devastation caused by an earthquake, tsunami, and human recklessness. The explosions of the nuclear plant in Fukushima have been the source of great fear, anxiety and misinformation. As intimidating as these circumstances might seem, this is also a great opportunity to acknowledge our interbeing, interconnection and interdependence in this majestic corner of the Universe, our home and organic spaceship: the Earth.
We have found valuable information, learning and inspiration in the following resources. If you are feeling like clicking the mouse no more than 4 times, we recommend listening to this 55 minute radio program about how to holistically support our body and soul in the face of potential harmful radiation; reading these inspiring stories/comments from a grassroots sister; reading this article about a test which finds the radiation to be one millionth of a dose rate from natural background sources in the North West Coast of Abya Yala; and joining our voices in an activist click to stop the nuclear madness –from Pancho’s perspective to non-cooperate with institutions involved with nuclear weapons is the most effective way to stop this pseudo-science (violence and science are mutually exclusive in the long term).
If you are feeling inspired to learn more about some of the details, we hope you can find useful some of the material we are sharing at the long PS of this email. If there is anything you think needs to be improved, please let us know.
Witnessing the power of Mother Nature brings a sense of humility and challenges us to rethink and re-feel our presence on this Planet. Clearly, radiation does not care about borders. In similar ways, solidarity, cooperation and love go beyond imaginary lines to bring us closer to each other. The difference is that in contrast with radioactive material, the “half-life” of love is so large that it is incommensurable, a kind of radiation of the minds and hearts that does not decay with time, it actually becomes more abundant.
We are grateful to be sharing this journey with you all.
May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.
On behalf of the new service/meditation/gift-economy branch of the Canticle Farm in Fruitvale. 🙂
PS: The contents of the email:
I.i As Pancho visited the home of our 36th Ave neighbor sister Annie last Thursday, sister Joanna Macy called her to suggest tuning KPFA. Here are some of our notes from sister Sarah Holmes’ radio program The Herbal Highway recorded on March 17th about supporting our body and soul.
Here is the link to the whole program (55 minutes) as well as a summary/paraphrase of it:
- Be in a grounded, calm and heartfelt place. The best decisions come from this place.
- It is very important at this time to stay stress-free. This helps to decrease the toxic load on our systems as well as put us in a frame of mind where we can deal with situations as they arise, instead of dwell.
- Things can be confusing. Some “experts” say one thing while others say the opposite. In this information era it is challenging to keep the balance of our minds. There has been so much uncertainty. However, we can use this opportunity to come together. That we are all interconnected on this Planet becomes more obvious. Focus on interdependence and how we can strengthen each other as well as ourselves. Keep cool and in community. Trust in the self organizing systems of this organism of which we are a part.
- The state of stress is harmful for our body. We can be alert, attentive and vigilant of these emergencies but unnecessary self-imposed stress won’t help. Let’s move away from a high-stress/high-adrenaline lifestyle to allow our bodies to take care of ourselves.
- Stress causes the muscles to receive more blood which takes blood from your vital organs. This is effective when you are in a fight or flight situation emotions state. That’s why a permanent stress of stress could be harmful for our health.
- There is no cure-all magic pill or magic bottle that will prevent harm. Living wholly and addressing every aspect of our well-being is the only sure way to promote health.
- Put your energy into what you can do. In cooking your food instead of microwaving it, in preparedness instead of fear, not into searching for that heal all cure.
- For those who meditate, this practice will assist in fostering a grounded, attentive state. For those who don’t, this is a good time to practice mindfulness and receptive silence as a tool to reach a place of centeredness.
- Using this time as a wake up call, focus your energy on real solutions. Organic food, community, and activism are means to cultivate awareness of the pertinent issues at hand; a major one being nuclear energy and its perils.
fresh organic food
- This is an excellent time to employ the knowledge that you already have about healthy eating. Not only are these foods delicious and easy to prepare, they are full of protective properties as well as plenty of love.
- Keeping this body in good shape is the best way to aid in resisting any possible damage from radiation. Be sure not to dramatically alter your diet or cleanse – this can cause your body to weaken as your immune and lymphatic systems work overtime to remove the toxins from the past.
- There is a lot of information available about foods that have anti-cancer/anti-mutagen properties. Making yourself (and community) aware of this information is a step towards aligning your mind, body and spirit with the universe.
- What to avoid:
- GMO foods. pesticides, herbicides, and wax coatings of non organic foods add toxicity to our bodies.
- processed foods, refined sugar, bleached wheat, white flour, red meat, etc.
- What to consume:
- Mushrooms (oyster, Reishi and shiitake) help the body remove heavy metals, are hepatoprotective (liver) and also contain beta-glucan which increases immune strength and helps in blood cell formation.
- Seaweed contains bioavailable iodine which lessens the chances that your thyroid will bind to the radioactive iodine
- If you cannot find it locally, here are some local sites that offer seaweed.
- brown kelp: kombu, bladderwrack and wakame contain an abundance of minerals and vitamins. If you are not accustomed to eating seaweed take it easy at first. Your body needs time to adjust to its detoxifying qualities. If you cannot find it locally, here are some local sites that offer seaweed
- Chlorophyll (which is in all leafy greens and cruciferous veggies) has known anti-cancer/anti-mutagenic properties and aids in DNA repair.
- Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, cabbage, Brussels sprouts etc.) contain chlorophyll, as well as many vitamins and minerals. They help to modulate the immune system with anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties.
- Cilantro decreases the toxic load on your system in helping to remove heavy metals and other toxins as well as aids in digestion.
- Maintain a diet high in dietary Fiber (whole grains, brown rice, legumes, fruits, root veggies, seeds, nuts, certain vegetables, etc.)
- Miso is high in fiber as well as several vitamins and minerals, it also contains a fatty acid that has anti-mutagenic effects.
- Coconut oil has immune boosting, and anti-microbial properties.
- Wheat grass juice is a superfood! It contains up to 70% Chlorophyll, high vitamins and minerals, and is a powerful cleanser.
- H2O Keep hydrated! A half gallon per day is recommended. Your tissues need to be moist in order to remain pliable and functional.
- Every “body” is different 😉 These are guidelines. Practice mindfulness, use your personal judgment to discern what works best for you.
- Some foods are hard to digest or more easily consumed outside of meals; but can still aid in promoting health and wellness amidst possible radiation exposure.
- Stinging Nettle tea is high in calcium, potassium, beta-carotene and other vitamins and minerals. It also is a detoxifying agent and is high in anti-oxidants which combat mutagens.
- Turkey Tail tea is anti-mutagenic and detoxifying as well as immune strengthening.
- Vervain (helps to reduce stress) Skull cap, California puppy, and Blue Verbena all work to reduce stress levels and aid in calming and grounding you into a positive state of being.
- Milk thistle is hepatoprotective agent. These agents protect the liver from toxins.
- Siberian Ginseng has anti-oxidant and immune strengthening qualities.
- Burdock Root is a blood purifying agent, it also has anti-oxidant properties.
- Chaparral protects the body from free radicals and other mutagens.
- Don’t miss the extraordinary Spiderwort in the section below! An incredible edible wild plant very sensitive to radiation.
I.ii The incredible stories of a sister in the part of the Planet we call Japan: Human Spirit Rises to Meet the Force of Tsunami.
II.i What is Potassium Iodide, how is it use and where does it come from? here.
II.ii Potassium Iodide a “Magic Bullet” for Radiation Exposure? In this article.
II.iii A note about the salt potassium iodide (KI) from the Health Physics Society:
“Taking potassium iodide pills will help make sure your thyroid doesn’t take up as much radioactive iodide as it would if you didn’t take the pills. The iodide in the KI pills fills up the thyroid gland, not leaving much or any room for radioactive iodide that you might breathe in or take in through your mouth. The pills do not protect you from other types of radiation that may be released and they will not protect you from the radioiodine if it is only outside your body. Plus, to be most effective, the pills need to be taken within a few hours prior to an incident or within a short time after radioactive iodide was released.
Medical experts state that there is no need for that in the United States. In fact, use of KI could have an adverse medical effect on people with specific allergies and other ailments.”
II.iv Some resources we found useful: Let’s talk about radiation.
II.v Some definitions and units useful to be acquainted with in order to understand better the reports from watchdog organizations and the media.
alpha particle: An alpha particle is a particle with weight (it is made up of two protons and two neutrons) and charge (it is positively charged because protons have a positive charge). Alpha particles do not travel very far and are not considered an exposure hazard unless the radioactive material that emits them gets inside the body.
gross alpha radioactivity: The gross alpha radioactivity analyses is performed on the samples collected weekly. It is simply a measurement of all alpha activity present, regardless of specific radionuclide source. Gross measurements are used as a method to screen samples for relative levels of radioactivity. Specific analyses of alpha-emitting isotopes are made at the end of each quarter when samples are composited by location
beta particle: A beta particle is an energetic electron given off by atoms when the atoms have too much energy. Beta particles do not travel very far, but travel farther than alpha particles. Beta particles are typically stopped by a few millimeters or about an eighth (1/8) of an inch of tissue; higher-energy beta particles will be stopped by approximately a centimeter or about a third (1/3) of an inch of tissue. Beta particles do have a charge—those that are negatively charged are essentially electrons and those that are positively charged are called positrons.
gross beta radioactivity: Same as gross alpha radioactivity but using beta particles instead.
Counts Per Minute (CPM): is a measure of radioactivity. It is the number of atoms in a given quantity of radioactive material that are detected to have decayed in one minute.
dose: Dose is a general term used to express (quantify) how much radiation exposure something (a person or other material) has received. The exposure can subsequently be expressed in terms of the absorbed, equivalent, committed, and/or effective dose based on the amount of energy absorbed and in what tissues.
effective dose: Radiation exposures to the human body, whether from external or internal sources, can involve all or a portion of the body. The health effects of one dosage unit on the entire body are more harmful than the same dose to only a portion of the body, for example the hand or the foot. To enable radiation protection specialists to express partial-body exposures (and the accompanying doses) to portions of the body in terms of an equal dose to the whole body, the concept of effective dose was developed. Effective dose, then, is the dose to the whole body that carries with it the same risk as a higher dose to a portion of the body. As an example, 8 rem to the lungs is roughly the same potential detriment as 1 rem to the whole body based on this idea.
exposure: Exposure is commonly used to refer to being around a radiation source, e.g., if you have a chest x ray, you are exposed to radiation. By definition, exposure is a measure of the amount of ionization produced in air by photon radiation.
ionization: Ionization is the process by which a neutral atom (an atom with no charge) gains a positive or negative charge.
irradiate: To irradiate is the act of exposing someone or something to radiation. Irradiated food means food that was exposed to radiation.
rad: Rad is the term used to describe absorbed radiation dose. It describes a specific amount of energy absorbed in a medium (human tissue, for example). In the International System of Units, the gray (Gy) describes absorbed radiation dose. One gray is equal to 100 rad.
radioactive decay: Radioactive decay is the spontaneous transformation of one nuclide into another nuclide or different energy state; in the transformation process, radiation is emitted. The process by which radionuclides lose that radiation and, thus, the amount of radioactivity they have is called radioactive decay.
radioactive material: Radioactive material is material that contains radioactivity and thus emits ionizing radiation. It may be material that contains natural radioactivity from the environment or a material that may have been made radioactive (see radioactivity).
radioactivity: Radioactivity is the property of a nucleus in unstable atoms that causes them to spontaneously release energy in the form of photons (e.g., gamma rays) or subatomic particles (e.g., alpha or beta particles).
rem: Rem is the term used to describe equivalent or effective radiation dose. In the International System of Units, the sievert (Sv) describes equivalent or effective radiation dose. One Sievert is equal to 100 rem. It is a unit that is the product of energy absorbed in human tissues and the quality of the radiation being absorbed (the ability of the radiation to cause damage).
sievert: Sievert (Sv) is the unit in the International System of Units to replace the rem [the Wikipedia entry is quite explanatory].
II.vi Is there a way to convert a radiation reading on a meter from a count-per-minute rate to a rad, rem, or mrem, Sv, mSv, etc?
“A conversion from counts per minute (CPM) to dose rate (rem/hr, mrem/hr, mSv/yr etc.) is possible, but the conversion factor depends on the kind of detector being used and on the type of radiation being measured and frequently on the energy of the radiation.” For a more detailed answer click here.
100 CPM in a Geiger counter is equivalent to 1 microseivert per hour. It takes about a full seivert (equal one million microseiverts) to have a risk of death from acute radiation poisoning. At lower levels of exposure, around 100 milliseiverts, one can suffer some permanent injury (like infertility). A dose of 1 milliseivert per year is considered a ‘safe’ annual dose of radiation.
What this means is that
1 CPM ~ 1micro rem/hr
100 rem = 1 Sv
100 CPM ~ 1 microSv/hr
1microSv/1hr x 1 mSv/10^ 3 microSv x 2.4 x 10 hr/day x 3.65 x 10 ^2 day/yr ~ 10 mSv/yr
this means that the counters (CPM) need to be 10 times higher, close to ~ 1000 CPM (the equivalent of ~ 100 mSv/year) in a Geiger counter in order to be exposed to harmful radiation in this short amount of time.
A normal background radiation will depend also on the altitude of the place where the measurement is performed. It usually ranges between 20 and 60 CPM.
II.vii From the Herbal Highway radio program we learned that the incredible edible delicate wild flower Spiderwort is sensitive to radioactive material! Form this NASA study:
“Experiment P-1123 used the radiation sensitive Spiderwort plant, inactivation of defects, somatic stamen hairs from Tradescantia clone 02, to measure pollen, microspore death, spindle mutation in heterozygous petals and blue to pink or to colorless, as well as stunting of stamen hair-s. Thirty two young plants bearing several flowers each were obtained from axillary cuttings and rooted. They were placed in nutrient tubes, irradiated with 2.23 Gy in orbit, and examined postflight. Tradescantia is very sensitive to radiation and showed high frequencies of radiation-induced changes. Pollen abortion occurred at 66% in irradiated flight samples versus 48% in ground controls. Unirradiated flight and ground samples had a spontaneous pollen abortion incidence of 37 to 39% (this high rate is normal for clone 02). Stunting of stamen hairs occurred at 26.6% for flight irradiated plants versus 12.9% for ground controls; unirradiated plants had 10.1 to 10.5% spontaneous abortion rates. These responses, as well as altered nuclei and microspore death, showed clear synergism between radiation and microgravity. By contrast, hair color mutation was clearly antagonized in microgravity with flight irradiated samples showing a 4.4% incidence when compared with a ground control rate of 7.3%. Unirradiated samples had spontaneous mutation rates of 0.2 to 0.3%.”
For people living in th Bay Area you can start planting it and have your own bio-sensor! 🙂
III.i Health Physics Society on Fukushima.
III.iii What about monitoring the radiation levels in the the part of the Planet we call the U.S.?
- As per March 19th: Testing finds no health threat along West Coast.
- and here is another complimentary perspective from the Health Physics Society.
- Environmental Protection Agency’s network of more than 100 sensors across the part of the Planet we call the U.S. that track radiation levels every hour -> RadNet Map view.
- Also the Radiation Network sensors could give another perspective. Sensors with levels above 100 CPM will trigger an alert. [Still an order magnitude short from a harmful radiation dose rate.]
- and of course the Spiderwort and its radiation sensor capabilities is providing great inspiration for biomimicry.