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Despite the rain and wind, close to two thousand [not "hundreds" as per The Garden Island] showed up yesterday at the March in March to Evict Monsanto (and friends) in Poipu, Kauai, to protest the invasion of GMOs on Kauai and throughout Hawai’i. Energy was amazing, and the march led into a party at Poipu Park with live music and heaping platters of local non-GMO foods. The above slideshow of the event and related imagery was taken from a variety of sources including: Regenerations International Botanical Garden / Mac James; Carol Ann DavisSamuel Morgan ShawJamey KauaiDanny Hashimoto; Carol Ann Davis; Justin Zern; Forest Shomer; Geoff Morris; Bill Collins.*

This is a ripe moment, at least in the initial step of labeling GMOs in Hawai’i, as the labeling bill HB174 has made it through the House, and is now waiting on the Senate. Sure at this de-evolved stage the bill will now only label imported GE produce (essentially useless), but to keep optimistic we’ll consider it a symbolic beginning. And there are a number of important related bills on the table that range from pesticide usage, genetically modified organism quarantine, and water rights. We will soon learn if our representatives are indeed there to represent the people or the chemical companies. Hawai’i residents are watching, taking names, and no one’s vote will go unnoticed.  

At the same time, the heavily sprayed GMO fields are spreading from the West side of Kauai all the way into Lihue and the East side of the island (with similar pandemic scenarios occurring on all the islands). The Syngenta herbacide Atrazine (aka the 21st Century’s DDT), which is sprayed on all the GMO corn, has saturated the groundwater and is now present in the drinking water of Waimea. At a recent community meeting on the subject they discussed a few of the issues:

“If you are a male exposed to Atrazine, your testosterone goes away, so you’re demasculinized, or chemically castrated…. And you’re also feminized because you’re making estrogen, which you should not be doing as a male…. We know that the sperm goes away when you give a fish Atrazine, when you give a frog Atrazine, when you give a reptile Atrazine, when you give a bird Atrazine, when you give a rat Atrazine. Testosterone goes down and the sperm goes away and now this correlation says there’s an association in humans as well.” –Tyrone Hayes, Atrazine expert, Biology Professor UC Berkeley (Syngenta actually paid him to do studies, then tried to pressure him not to release them)

It’s also associated with birth defects, low birth rates, premature births, and the Atrazine legacy apparently carries on for generations. One might think it was necessary, but corn yields have gone up in Germany and Italy since it was banned in 1991. Swisse-based Syngenta can’t even use it in their homeland, as it’s been banned across the entire EU. Watch Huffington Post Investigative Fund’s: “How Safe is Atrazine”.

Even if you don’t drink the tap water, it’s in your shower (activated charcoal filters are necessary to remove it), you’re watering your garden with it, it’s in the rivers your kids swim in and the waves we all surf, and certainly some of the local fish we eat. Atrazine also evaporates quite well into the atmosphere in what they call volatilization drift:

After drifting, it comes back into our waterways via rainfall. Atrazine has been found in rainwater more than 180 miles from the nearest application area.

There ya go North Shore Kauai. Add to that mess some Round-up, 2.4.D Herbacide… and who knows what else, to what degree, and how they interact.

Thus far Synergenta, Monsanto, Dow, Pioneer, Dupont have limitless and unregulated dominion, and the islands are ripe for their rape and pillage. They are still maneuvering to gain control of the water on Kauai – seeds and food first, water next = dependency for all. (Click here to read about the cozy situation between State Senator Donna Mercado Kim, Senator Malama Solomon, Monsanto Lobbyist Alan Takemoto, the Commission on Water Resource Management, etc.).

These crops aren’t a part of some sustainability for the islands, as most of them are test crops / foods that are exported from Kauai. In fact, GMO seed is now the most valuable crop in the state (exceeding flowers, aquaculture, coffee, veggies and taro combined!). No, it doesn’t benefit the state as much as one might think, as like any good corporation they finagle their way around paying taxes:

About half the land used for GMO production on Kauai are public lands upon which zero property tax is paid.  But they refuse to disclose to the public what they are growing or what they are spraying on these public lands.  These large transnational corporations transfer their end products to related subsidiaries, benefit from Enterprise Zone and other GET exemptions and consequently pay zero GET tax on the products they produce. –former State Senator, current County Councilmember Gary Hooser

And despite what they want people to believe, these chemical companies import many of their field labor and specialists.

Biotech companies are operating on prime agricultural land without producing an edible crop, in a state that currently imports 85 percent of its food. ‘These crops employ a small number of biotech specialists and a somewhat larger number of field workers who could just as easily be employed growing food that we can eat,” says Paul Achitoff, a lawyer with Earth Justice. –Honolulu Weekly, “Bos GMO”

Locals who do work for them have to have a sit-down with their soul and ask themselves if a business immersed in poisoning the environment and unleashing seeds modified with viruses, bacteria and chemicals in open field propagation is worth their own personal gain. The term sell-out has never been more apropos.

Thanks to Dustin Barca, Walter Ritte, Ohana O’ Kauai, GMO-Free Kauai, Babes Against Biotech and everyone involved. Click here for the schedule of the upcoming marches scheduled consecutive Saturdays of the month on Big Island, Maui and Moloka’i. A`ole GMOs!

Dogs Animals GMOs Kauai Poipu

Don’t mess with a chow chow, or her food. Dogs don’t needs GMOs either! GMOs Bite!

Check out Leslie Larsen’s video of the event:

* We tried to credit each photo but because it’s in slideshow mode the specific credits only show up in the Google searches – if you’d like your image removed simply let us know. Mahalo!

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Hawai’i’s three to four growing seasons a year make it the number one destination location for GMO companies. Lucky for them there are few regulations. As it is on all the Hawai’i Islands, but particularly Kauai, we have little “inland” land, and everything flows with the rain from the mountains to the sea. Chemicals from the GMO farms are now found in the rivers and groundwater. Atrazine bleaches and kills the coral reefs. And yes, the kids all surf in the run-off. The air is so bad in areas near the GM farms on Kauai that residents have to keep their doors and windows shut at all times. Six schools are essentially next door to the farms in Waimea and Kekaha. The GMO farms are spreading; showing no signs of stopping their progress. They introduce invasive species; frankenseeds that are spliced with viruses and bacteria; seeds that produce their own insecticides. All in an open air environment – meaning all of Hawai’i (the land and the people) are the test subjects.

March in March starts Saturday March 9th, 2013 at noon in front of the Hyatt in Poipu. The march will go from there to Poipu Beach Park and will end with music from John Cruz and a GMO-free potluck. Click here for more details.

March in March GMO protest kauai hawaii

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radioactive sea monster

As the Hawai’i Islands and the Pacific Coast continue to get bombarded with Japan’s tsunami debris, it gets harder to ignore the fact that radionuclides are a part of the debris as well. Radiation has been leaking from the plant for nearly two years (millions of bq per hour) and just because it’s “invisible” (or we’re not thinking about it), doesn’t make it go away (or make it dilute/sink/evaporate into nothing). We try to ignore that fish are becoming contaminated and instead pretend it will only affect fish caught in Fukushima waters (as if migrating fish no longer migrate). One fish they tested last week had 2,500 times the legal limit – or 254,000 bq per kilo of cesium alone (so much for radiation levels going down). At least there had been some illusion that Tepco was removing and storing the radioactive water but we were warned they were running out of places to put it. Not anymore.

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Thursday it plans to dump contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean after removing radioactive substances to reduce contamination to legally permissible levels. –Kyodo News

Tepco officially announced they will be releasing millions of tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. They’re simply waiting for permission. No, not from some international regulatory commission – seems Japan only need the okay from “departments” within Japan. Hello Greenpeace? EPA? Obama? (lol re: that last one – think he’s busy droning children or maybe he’s working on a new song with Beyonce). Isn’t this an issue that affects the world? Aren’t there some rules against dumping radioactive waste? Wait, there is a lil’ ole international law often referred to as the “London Convention” or “LC ’72″. And yes, Japan signed it – twice!:

The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, passed in 1972, forbids nations and companies from dumping toxic wastes into the ocean. –Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matters

Yeah, that’s a law that’s never been broken.

Fact is, the plant has been “accidentally” leaking contaminated water regularly – into the basement, the groundwater, the ocean… and that doesn’t even begin to figure in the runoff and dumping of radioactive sludge into Japan’s waterways – nor the fact that the corium has… left the building. And while TEPCO pumps huge amounts of water to cool the reactors and then filters it, the SARRY system they use mostly removes the cesium, leaving a high degree of other isotopes potentially including strontium, uranium, plutonium (no biggie). Their new Toshiba water filtration system – called ALPS – was supposed to be in effect starting last September, and the inability to get it operational is part of the problem.

ALPS: A new water purifying facility of Toshiba, is supposed to filter 62 sorts of nuclides including strontium. They expected to start the facility by this September, but because of the orders and reorganization of NISA and NRA, they can not start Alps yet. It’s not even known when they can start it. Tepco’s comment made it clear that the operation of ALPS justifies Tepco to discharge the contaminated water into the environment. –Fukushima Diary

This dumping isn’t going to solve the problem. TEPCO estimates the volume of contaminated water required to be stored on site will likely triple over the next three years. If no “first-world” country can friggin’ help Japan figure out their nuclear nightmare, can’t we at least lend them some storage containers? You know, something that can hold a few billion tons of radioactive water?

Arnie Gundersen discussed the issue in December 2011, when TEPCO had announced they were going to dump contaminated water. Protests by local fishermen got them to scrap the idea – hopefully they can do it again.

I wrote to Kauai Surfrider today to ask their stance on the issue. They told me to write to Surfrider Japan. I suppose that’s a good idea, but I do wish Surfrider Hawai’i would be on top of an issue that is going to affect the waters throughout the Pacific, not just in terms of tsunami debris.

Remember that dishwashing soap commercial, where the manicurist Madge has her client’s hand in a bowl of Palmolive? “You’re soaking in it!” (I suppose Madge stating “it’s mild” could be comparable to TEPCO or our government stating “it’s safe” in reference to any dose of radiation). Well, surfers, you’re surfing in it! And if surfers and fishermen ain’t going to complain, who will? We shouldn’t sit back or wait for some “agency” to control the situation, because it obviously ain’t happening. All we can do at this point is spread the word and yell a little louder.

Read more on the ocean situation from previous Fukushima tagged posts here at CoconutGirlWireless, as well as Majia’s Blog: 

Ocean Releases

Ocean Imperiled

And check out NOAA’s Marine Pollution: Ocean Dumping page with links and resources regarding regulations to prevent, reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment.

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Physicist and philosopher Dr. Vandana Shiva, activist Walter Ritte, and attorney, author and executive at the Center for Food Safety Andrew Kimbrell will be speaking at the Kaua’i Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue January 17, 2013. It’s free – seed giveaway at 5pm, presentation at 6:30. Makana has been added on last minute, and will sing his new “The Story of GMO” song and an adulterated version of “We Are the Many”.

We consider Hawai’i such a pure, natural place but did you know that Hawai’i is the #1 genetically engineered seed exporter? Thanks to the helpful hand of local politicians, University of Hawai’i, and landholders like Kamehameha Schools and Gay & Robinson, Inc., GM companies have been able to lease a huge portion of the land here to biotech firms that proceed to poison it – slowly churning the islands into toxic dust bowls; leaching poisons into our soils, groundwater and, inevitably, our ocean. There are approximately 60,000 acres of GMO fields planted in Hawai’i (many within feet of schools and homes). The little island of Kauai has the most extensive GE crop plantings – 13,000 acres! Hundreds are suing after being subjected to years of pesticides sprayed in their communities. Many can not grow their own organic gardens because they are contaminated.

Wake up Hawai’i – “Seed Freedom is Food Freedom”!

Dr Vandana Shiva Walter Ritte Kimbrell Kauai

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Kelly Slater Boycott Monsanto

photo by Pete Hodgson

“Why would Monsanto and other chemical companies spend $41M to defeat a food labeling bill? What is there to hide in food? Plenty.”  –Kelly Slater

Monsanto and similar GMO companies poison the land and waters across the Hawai’i Islands with their frankenseeds, creating dust bowl conditions, and spraying pesticides daily, which wash out into the waterways and the surf, effecting the marine life, the reefs, and the kids that play in the water. Every surfer should have one of these stickers on their boards (and I should have that board! ;) ).

p.s. California’s GMO labeling bill may not have passed, but because of it many have learned about the issue and many moms have woken up.

Besides Monsanto, these are the other major players working to destroy natural seed and own our food: Synergenta, Dow, Dupont, Bayer, BASF Plant Science.

Here’s a $5,000+ donor list / Monsanto-led coalition against Prop. 37 – you know, the companies who tried to help save all the poor folk from paying the extra penny to label GMOs.

There’s also Cornucopia’s EZ chart on food companies and “natural” retail stores who financially contributed for and against Prop 37,

And if you haven’t updated yourself here’s a list of the foods that contain GMOs (the list is loooong, and yes, you are eating them. What, you think celiac’s – and the new slew of dietary dis-ease – is a normal trend?). Ask your favorite restaurant what they serve!

Check in with The Center for Food Safety’s True Food Network for updates, as well as their Non-GMO Shopper’s Guide and APP. What we buy will make the ultimate statement to these companies.

And we always say it, if you haven’t watched it already: Genetic Roulette.

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For the first hour or two after the planes spray, you can see the remnants of the actual line(s), followed by many random criss-cross patterns that come from the ocean and cross Hanalei Bay.

Our sky pollution in Hawai’i is caused mostly by a volcano and the purposeful spraying of “chemtrails” by planes. Criss-cross patterns that make no sense considering the very particular air traffic to and from Hawai’i, with a specific “start” and “stop” marker that doesn’t appear as a continuous “contrail” (there’s not supposed to be an on/off switch), and that don’t evaporate as a contrail would (there needs to be specific conditions required for a contrail to form and then not dissipate). Often we can watch them doing it. Other times they** spray over the Pacific Ocean, and let the trade winds or Kona winds carry them in, after which we observe the absolutely clear, crisp blue sky disappear before our eyes as a blanket of color-muting haze.

The strips degenerate into ribbony wisps so the sky appears more white than blue. It starts in the morning and lasts a majority of the day, sometimes supplemented with more sky painting in the afternoon.

Those with asthma, respiratory and allergy issues are worst hit, but even those who don’t have health issues notice burning eyes, shortness in breath (as if you spent the day exercising in a very smoggy city or smoking a lot of cigarettes) and/or fatigue.***

Sure, we are abused by military exercises in Hawai’i, they like to call it “chaff” in the news ["What looked like rain wasn't rain, it was military chaff" –Guy Hagi, KGMB weatherman, 1/16/2012], and it’s suggested spraying here is done to affect radar. Often you hear people call the haze “vog” (volcanic smog), despite the fact that when there are trade winds, which is a majority of the time, they push the vog away from most islands except S/W of Hawai’i Island.

The chemtrails (and HAARP affected clouds) are seen more and more often (especially over the past five years) here and around the world. In fact, the most immediately dramatic effects of this spraying that I’ve ever witnessed was visiting Morro Bay; when I got up early to check the surf, and watched about five planes – flying back and forth – absolutely saturate the skies. Within an hour the beautiful morning was gone, yet anyone who woke up late and only looked up at the sky after 7 a.m. might have thought it just another foggy day in the central coast of California.

What are in these chemtrails, and what is the purpose behind them, are addressed in Michael Murphy aptly titled films “What in the World Are They Spraying?” and the just released follow-up: “Why in the World Are They Spraying?” Watch the full length movie here. Spread the word. Start a dialogue. It’s kinda hard to look up in the skies, witness with our own eyes, and deny what’s going on any longer.

For the most updated picts/info check these wacko fringe groups who are obsessed with the outdated notion of blue skies and clean air ;) : AirCrap.org; Kauai Sky Watchblog / Facebook page; Maui Sky Watch; Maui Clean Sky Ordinance FB (Maui residents craft legislation to ban aerosol spraying; read the actual bill); Chemtrail Awareness; Stop Spraying California; GeoEngineering Watch.

* It still attracts cuckoo birds, too.  ** No, I don’t know who “they” are – from the climate engineers, government entities, private companies, pilots spraying – but considering all the military in Hawai’i I would assume they would be most efficient in getting the job done. Then again, you could just use Hawaiian Airlines….  *** Certainly not complementary to the health issues people may be having post-Fukushima (including the cesium which invades muscle tissue).

Chemtrails at Kealia Beach, East side Kauai

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Lots of headlines like this over the past couple days:

“O’ahu’s South Shores Invaded by Mysterious Creature”

People are tying the “mysterious creatures” to tsunami debris, Fukushima radiation, and – why not – End Times. And because KHON2 news couldn’t seem to find anyone on the beach or at the local aquarium who’d ever seen them before, or had a name for them, it’s a big mystery being posted across mainstream news and conspiracy web sites.

It’s something many have never seen before. And no one we found knew what they were.

“I definitely want to know where they came from and what they are all about,” says beach goer Scott Paddock.

Even the biologists at the Waikiki Aquarium are scratching their heads. They’ve been getting reports of the pea-sized crabs from Kahala to Ala Moana, all this week.

“The lifeguard called and asked what these things were because she had reports of surfers were actually have these things crawl up on their boards and onto them,” says Norton Chan, Waikiki Aquarium Biologist.

Some scientists tentatively tagged them as baby 7-11 crabs, a few molts shy of forming a shell.

Well, I don’t know about other surfers out there, but I’ve had these almost translucent, purple-ish “larve” crabs crawl up my legs many times when surfing on Hawai’i Island (although, ehem, the Big Isle could be considered by some a sort of “End Times” destination). Anyway, this occurred well before 311.

So really the only mystery is why they are “beaching” themselves. Not to dismiss possible pollution issues, Fukushima radiation dangers, but more than likely this is related to recent hurricanes in the area, not the impending apocalypse.

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Since March 11, 2011, there’s been a core group of people who have not forgotten about Fukushima: They haven’t let up on TEPCO or the government agencies who were supposed to warn and protect citizens; they are active in bringing awareness to people worldwide; they work to rescue abandoned animals in the evacuation zones; they struggle to protect children, in Japan and beyond, by offering radionuclide data and health remediation; they are tracking tsunami debris and radioactive ocean water; and they warn people about contamination of food sources. (I myself have driven my friends nuts reporting on this, but it is easily the single worse environmental disaster in modern history and that’s saying a lot considering the continuing BP oil leak in the Gulf.) They know Fukushima is not over – that the plant is still leaking radionuclides into the environment, from Japan to the entire Northern Hemisphere, and will likely continue to do so for many years to come. To that core group of people, we dedicate the iGeigerbrator™.  Enjoy our dark humor… or not.  (concept by Cgirl; design by Kerin Morataya)

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WHO: The Kaua’i chapter of the Surfrider Foundation will monitor the environmental impacts of battleships and warplanes of twenty two nations.

WHAT: 2012 RIMPAC (the Rim of the Pacific War Exercise), will surround Hawai’i with weaponry and war in order to practice at potential Naval sea battle.

WHERE: Off the coast of Hawaii

WHEN: June 29 to August 7
(more…)

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Diatribe for a Post-311 Generation: The Frying Dutchman‘s humanERROR*

How far have we strayed as humans to satisfy a quest for power, technology, and a seemingly advanced (still surprisingly subservient) society – and has it been worth it? Or better yet, will our children’s children’s children think it was worth it?

There are pros and cons regarding all alternative power, but the least we can hope for is supporting people’s needs with viable options that include the least amount of inherent risks (to organisms and environment). And is it too much to expect that geology play a part of the decision-making process? Considering the seismic activity, tsunamis, typhoons, freezing temperatures, unstable soil, potential volcanic eruptions, and high population density, is the Japanese archipelago quite possibly the worst setting for 54 nuclear plants?

For over a decade before 311, warnings about the potential perfect storm scenario for nuclear disaster in Japan went unheeded. This included admonitions from nuclear whistleblowers, geoscientists, and seismologists like Professor Ishibashi, who compared the nuclear situation in Japan to a “kamikaze terrorist wrapped in bombs just waiting to explode”. Even if Japan decides to reestablish pre-Fukushima levels of atomic power, within 20 years they may be forced to shut it all down due to their inability to deal with the overwhelming accumulation of radioactive waste. The persistent technological problems of Japan’s “too little, too late” Rokkasho nuclear storage facility – scheduled to open 15 years ago – plans to start up October 2012 and some are predicting it has an 80-90 percent chance of failure.

Even today, when the problems with Japan nuclear are touched upon by the media, they discuss Fukushima Daiichi, and rarely the fact that all but two of its reactors are still offline (many due to maintenance and “stress-tests” though some are still having functional issues.) What are these stress-tests anyway? Computer simulated models that, if passed, earn a blessing by the IAEA to restart the plant.

But wait, weren’t Japan’s power plants built to withstand earthquakes? One could imagine, since TEPCO has repeatedly denied that the earthquake had anything to do with the meltdowns, updated seismic retrofitting might not be part of the plan for any of the remaining nuclear plants. Eyewitness accounts of damage in the reactor buildings during the quake doesn’t seem relevant to plant officials. And TEPCO likely isn’t promoting the recent BBC documentary “This World Inside the Meltdown“, in which a worker discuss how the pipes were “ripping off the walls” before the waves hit. The film is required viewing btw; a day-by-day account with stories from plant workers / emergency workers / heros, residents… including how close to evacuation Fukushima Daiichi actually was. And yes, employees are not allowed to speak to the media.

Regardless of whether the reactors withstood the quake, the incoming wave doused the generators that were strategically stored in the basement, ensuring a lack of necessary power to pump water through the pipes into the reactor (that alone wouldn’t have mattered either, since the inadequately secured back-up ocean pumps were destroyed anyway). As well the lack of power delayed their ability to vent the reactors immediately after they saw the pressure building, which TEPCO surmises would have staved off the hydrogen/nuclear explosion (though you may opt to believe nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen‘s hypothesis on the Mark 1 reactor flaw and why the venting wouldn’t have made a difference).

Fact is, the reactors damaged in the disaster would have passed these same “stress tests” a week before Fukushima. And today, the many plants lined up across the shores poised for their potential worst-case-scenario will very likely pass them now. Are these stress tests based on faulty criteria? There are a few eyes on nuclear “watchdogs” NISA and IAEA, and they are already getting blasted for using the same standards post-311:

Reports on stress tests on 14 reactors have been submitted to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. None of the tests covers a scenario involving multiple natural disasters and they were carried out even though the causes of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi meltdowns and hydrogen explosions are still being investigated”, said Masashi Goto, a former reactor designer who also serves on the committee.“The tests are nothing but an optimistic desk simulation based on the assumption that everything will happen exactly as assumed,” Goto said, adding that they don’t include margins for human error, design flaws or combinations of both. …”NISA has no plans to change the way the reviews are being conducted”, Tatsuya Taguchi, a NISA official in charge of nuclear safety regulatory standards, said by phone today. (BusinessWeek; Jan. 27, 2012)

Last July, before stepping down, Japan’s Prime Minister Kan had pledged a “revolutionary energy shift”, though today it seems the power companies and pro-nuclear officials are simply biding time before getting all of Japan’s nuclear back online. Perhaps they’ve been waiting for more advanced stages of collective amnesia to kick in; supported by financial necessity and stressing this summer’s energy demands. Threats by huge manufacturers and nuclear construction companies were not taken lightly either. It’s little wonder these same companies who built the reactors won the bids for the decon work throughout Japan – make some spare billions while this whole nuclear plant thingy gets cleared up. It is unfortunate that these corporations have no expertise in radiation clean-up, but no worries, it’s only the lowly hired help, not the executives, who are going to suffer for that. Nuclear industry critic Kiyoshi Sakurai said it best:

Decontamination is becoming big business. The construction companies are being paid to clean up the mess resulting from their own products. …the Japanese nuclear industry is run so that the more you fail, the more money you receive.

While Kan called for Japan to abandon nuclear, the new PM Noda was less specific during his first official speech, which occurred a day after 30,000 citizens attended an anti-nuke rally in Tokyo. Today though he’s quite clear, “all plants offline since March 11th should be restarted”. Despite new polls showing 66% of Japan wanting to phase out nuclear, we will likely see, one by one, plants run through the “stress tests” being turned back on, beginning in areas with the least public and mayoral opposition.

But the issue not being confronted remains the same: Are these reactors safe? Can we surmise that in less than a year they were able to do adequate retrofitting (9.0+ quakes) at all the plants? Build massive tsunami barricades? Have generators and switch boards stationed outside of potential tsunami flood zones? Create additional secure back-up power systems that would last at least a few days? Upgrade safety-related cooling pumps? Hire competent management with a nuclear engineering background? Start the decommissioning of all Mark 1 reactors? ;) Provide adequate emergency contingencies – including immediate SPEEDi and radioactive fallout data to residents with proper evacuation procedures based on meteorological conditions. And heck, throw in a law that would condemn any agency withholding or manipulating such information to everlasting shame while serving a (short) life sentence in the new nuclear work camp aka Fukushima? And while they’re at it, require a 1/4 of a trillion insurance policy for every nuclear plant, as that is an estimate of what 25 years of clean-up will cost.

TEPCO says Fukushima will take 40 years of man-power (utilizing new technologies/robots that do not yet exist) to decommission the plant. It will take supposedly 10 years to remove the spent fuel rods and melted fuel (which is… well, who knows exactly where all the fuel is). The situation there will continue its precarious existence probably throughout our lifetime. And since they won’t allow any outside forces to assist, we need to count on officials at TEPCO, and the government, to make the right decisions. If the temperature fluctuations and steam releases in the past month alone are any sign, we might as well explain away “cold shutdown” as not very cold, stable, or shut down. Nuclear plants remain, scattered across Japan, sitting on fault lines, in danger zones, storing massive amounts of radioactive materials. The 311 anniversary is soon upon us, and the Perfect Storm scenario for Japan’s nuclear hasn’t changed, whether they turn these reactors back on or not.

Perhaps apathy via obedience doesn’t have to dominate Japanese culture, or more specifically Japanese youth. They are the ones who are going to experience the brunt of this situation by way of negative health effects and likely a huge increase in cancer rates, especially in females. But that kind of information is not discussed much in the Japanese media – in fact, the people are immersed in misinformation, and now the Education Ministry (which runs the Nuclear Safety Division, eh-hem) is issuing new text books for kids that promote nuclear and downplay radiation. These days, it takes a lot of guts for Japanese citizens to speak out, especially about the inherent dangers of external and internal exposure to radioactive particles currently spreading throughout Japan. So I appreciate The Frying Dutchman screaming it from the streets of Japan to the world. Maybe this disaster was the wake-up call… and this song a new anthem. Hopefully the Japanese people don’t sweep the radioactive dust under the rug and go back to business as usual. Hopefully 311 can inspire an intelligent transition to more responsible power options. And hopefully the youth of Japan seize the moment to use the tragedy to inspire a positive evolution.

Speaking of which… The Frying Dutchman are holding a HumanERROR One Million Person Parade for the anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, with get-togethers and events across Japan, March 10th / 11th, 2012. They will also play on March 11th at 1p.m. at the Tidanowa Festival in Okinawa. Watch live on Upstream. Click here to register.

* Mahalo mahalo mahalo to Paul R. Kotta and Minako Yoshino for the English translation of humanERROR. You can also read it at: Tokyo Progressive

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There’s much radiation on the brain lately – whether you are thinking about it or not. Fukushima radioactive particle releases are continuing despite being ignored by a majority of the population, and despite the reactors existing in some Fantasyland version of “Cold Shutdown” – a term which is soon to be redefined by the Japanese government after last week’s temperature increase (of course, breaking the thermocoupler is also an option).

In Hawai’i we get our fair dose when the jet stream cruises a more Southerly path, and becomes a mash-up of the worst kind, as it coalesces with tropical rain. On top of that, Surfrider and local residents are on the lookout for potentially radioactive debris that will eventually invade our shores. And we really don’t know how bad our imported sushi or locally caught fish (which like to cruise Japan and Alaska) actually is, because no one here tests it. The fact that Hawai’i milk post-311 tested the highest in the country for radioactive particles only insured that the EPA would discontinue testing of Hawai’i milk. (Don’t even get me started on Republican surfer / state senator Fred Hemmings’ campaigns to bring nuclear power to Hawai’i!).

image borrowed from Surfer Magazine

When I went to visit the mainland late January on a work/vacation – as we collect new material to push this ol’ blog into a new-fangled online magazine – I watched the buoys and checked the reports to see when I should schedule interviews and when it was more appropriate to head to the beach. Surfers always have their priorities in order. Though most of my stay is North of Los Angeles, I regularly hook up with my Redondo Beach surf cohort to carpool all the way down to San Clemente, in South Orange County, to enjoy Trestles, one of my favorite Southern Cali waves – crowded or preferably not.

So shortly after arriving, I hear the news that Reactor Three at the San Onofre nuclear plant is leaking. Immediately after the accident Edison issued a statement that said: “There has been no release [of radiation] to the atmosphere”, but that changed the following morning. And the reports set off the Spidey senses, as it’s reminiscent of the convoluted manner with which Japanese and U.S. officials have twisted data and minced words to make everything appear “safe” – no matter what, every single accident or incident is always declared “safe”. In this case the terminology regurgitated by the media was very scientific. In regards to how much radioactive particles were released via steam, the standard no threat/no harm vocabulary included: “tiny”, “very, very small”, and “minuscule”. Uh huh. So, since no amount is safe, we will have to figure out the math for that ourselves.

And while the one plant is leaking and SCRAMed, they find during a two month, 674 million dollar “face-lift” inspection of Reactor Two, that a huge number of brand new tubes, running between the heating elements and the turbines, were showing significant wear. Some 800 thinned by 10%, 69 thinned over 20%, and a few would have to immediately be replaced. These were tubes that were supposed to last 30-40 years. We won’t even get into how a worker falls into the reactor water, drinks the water, and is also immediately deemed “safe”.

A stupid way to boil water

Sporting the title of “worst safety record” of all U.S. nuclear plants, San Onofre sits just next door to Trestles. I used to do “surf safaris” and camp there as a teen, and the main thing we were concerned about was the rumor that tiger sharks liked to breed in the warmer waters around the plant. Honestly, I never really worried about the contamination levels in the air or water (though I would hold my breath as a kid as we drove by on the way to Sea World). It was only after Fukushima that I started looking at how a release from San Onofre might spread through Southern California, and how many of my friends could be affected.

“Charlie don’t surf, he’ll never learn.”  –The Clash  (“Charlie” still being slang for “the enemy”)

The issues in San Clemente have bred a community of hardcore activists, who over the years have rallied against numerous threats besides the nuclear plant, including military bases occupying the beaches, potential off-shore oil drilling, and other paved encroachments. The most famous protest though was/is from the perpetual threat of an illegal (as per CA Coastal Commission) Toll Road (see Save Trestles/Surfrider). A whole other story that doesn’t ever go away, despite seeming victories. When it comes to activists from that area, the term “no rest for the weary” certainly comes to mind. Let’s just say this: if you are heading to surf San Onofre or Trestles, on a nice off-shore day, and there is a steam release, I advise you not putting too much faith in the nuclear industry’s reports of “safe” or “tiny”. (Do they make surf dosimeters yet?)

San Onofre is a wash. The old plant, like many, is worn down, cracking, and things are only going to get worse. The cost of this temporary shutdown is $600,000 to $1 million per day. So why don’t they work to decommission the plant? Do they need the power that badly that it’s worth risking the population between San Diego and Los Angeles? Edison, the power company that owns the plant, has even stated they have “ample power reserve” without the plant operating.

San Onofre’s 2 reactors provide somewhere between 5 and 7% of California’s electricity, and each of them consumes somewhere close to 250 megawatts of electrical energy from the grid on a constant basis just to operate. Nobody ever seems to factor that in when they talk about why we need these monster nukes to supply the “demand.” –Daily Kos

Is there anything to learn from Fukushima? Duh!

The surfers in Japan treasured their Fukushima waves: “famous for clean water and uncrowded breaks.” As any surfer will tell you, surfing is how we make a connection with the ocean. It’s an intimate relationship. Today the surfers from Fukushima are sad for many reasons, but one of them is they will likely never connect with the ocean there again.

It’s curious that the accident at Fukushima has had relatively little influence in bringing about awareness and making serious efforts to shift away from nuclear power. Sure, Germany announced they would phase out their nuclear by 2022, and hopefully they’ll replace it with alternative, renewable power instead of relying so much on coal and oil. Switzerland, Spain, Mexico, and Israel may follow suit. But at the same time we have nuclear protesters getting beaten in India where five plants are planned; 21 new nuclear plants are being built in China; more planned for Korea, Poland; as well new-timers who were not deterred by 3/11 including Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Belarus (with Jordan and Saudi Arabia likely following suit in 2013); people in Japan are being shunned for protesting nuclear or speaking/blogging about the negative side-effects of radiation exposure; and President Obama, elected with the help of serious financial backing by tritium-lovin’ Chicago nuclear, is paying them back by opening the door for the first time in over two decades (since Three Mile Island) to the U.S. building new nuclear reactors (the new build in Georgia is already up to its neck in controversies). This after making a public address during the height of the Fukushima fears, that his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future would set the goal of 80% clean energy by 2035. Oh crap, in his plan nuclear IS clean energy! Well, that and drilling the Arctic. Great Jehoshaphat!

After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Vietnam suspended its nuclear plans for more than a decade, but after the Fukushima Disaster, Vietnam is pushing ahead with plans to start construction of its first reactor in 2014. –Enformable

Just weeks after receiving a federal construction license and now being challenged in federal court – by a lawsuit boosted by this week’s revelations about the Fukushima disaster – the first US nuclear power project in decades is suffering persistent problems that have already caused eight months of delays and are driving up costs. Meanwhile, contractors are arguing between each other and the plant’s owner about who should absorb millions in cost overruns – giant corporations or taxpayers and electricity customers. –NCWarn.org

Obama’s actions are reprehensible not only after seeing the worst-case scenario play out courtesy of Fukushima, but also after witnessing numerous technical difficulties in just the past year at aging U.S. reactors. Isn’t it a better moment to upgrade, safeguard, and enforce stricter regulations at the plants we already have? The pro-nuclear stance always seems to ignore the sticky realities of nuclear including: the very high cost; the broken-down plants that need billions to get back online; the NRC granting extensions to every plant that applies, regardless of their condition; the need for better contingencies regarding emergency back-up power; their potential inability to withstand large earthquakes or flooding; and finally the fact the industry still hasn’t figured out how to deal with the associated nuclear waste (only 4,000 tons of high-level, radioactive waste is stored at San Onofre though, so no worries there!). Have you watched the French documentary Nightmare Nuclear Waste? It’s a few years old, but believe you me, little has changed.

“We know we face extinction if nuclear war ever begins. But we face the same extinction even if the bombs never fall. The production alone of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons is initiating the death crisis of our species.” –Dr. Rosalie Bertell

So for many surfers, it was a bummer to hear that they wanted to build a nuclear power plant at one of the best waves in the world, Jeffreys Bay. Would it be too much to ask to at least try decentralized power via solar first – I mean, if South Africa isn’t prime for some self-sufficient power alternatives, where is? Check out this short flick on the situation, J Bay Nuclear Plant, featuring Kelly Slater. And check out pro-surfer Kyle Theirmann’s Surfing for Change, which is devoted to fun and activism – nothing wrong with that!

“Authorizing construction of new nuclear reactors without first constructing a radioactive waste disposal facility is like authorizing construction of a new Sears Tower without bathrooms.” –Dave Kraft, director of Nuclear Energy Information Service

People who care, including every surfer in the world (um, there are a lot of us), should devote a small part of their lives towards protecting wetlands, shorelines, surfing and camping spots, from pesticides, herbicides, run-off, concrete… and definitely from the insanity of nuclear plants, especially those on fault lines, in tsunami/tidal wave/hurricane zones, and at our treasured surf breaks.

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There’s been little news regarding what coastal communities should expect as the debris from the March 2011 tsunami starts showing up on the shores of Hawai’i. As it hits Midway and makes its way down the island chain, we can’t ignore the reality: It is coming. Considering how many people chose Hawai’i as their vacation destination; how many billionaires chose it as their home (or second or third home); and that our current President is from Hawai’i, one might imagine that more action would be taken to prevent the trash from dirtying our shorelines in the first place. Will it carry radioactive materials? Will it have diluted enough to not have a major impact? How will it effect our beaches? The marine life? Surfrider is bringing together experts in the field of marine biology, marine debris and ocean currents for this conference, which will take place at Kauai Community College cafeteria on Saturday, December 10th from 9am-12pm. Everyone who lives in or visits Hawai’i, everyone who cares about the environment and oceans, should either be at this event or watch it streaming at Livestream.com/surfriderkauai.

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Many of us will be driving our cars to the beach this weekend. That’s okay. Hands Across the Sand is a movement made of people of all walks of life and diverse political affiliations and modes of transportation. This is more about the universal quest to utilize optional, clean power sources. The Hands Across the Sands event this Saturday, June 26th, is about people, joining together to make a statement about their concerns and express their desire to protect our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife, and fishing industry, particularly  from the devastating effects of off-shore oil drilling. This group started before the tragedy in the Gulf (and the spills in the Red Sea and the Great Barrier Reef this year).

A Message To The World

Hands Across the Sand is now international. Check the website to find groups organized in your area, or help plan your own. Any person in any country may plan events on this website. This is a peaceful gathering of the people of the world. Planning an event is as simple as this:

(more…)

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by Msss. Reef-Rash

We’ve got some serious problems to tackle in our world at the current time.

I’ll start with OVERPOPULATION and the billions of people that are taxing our planet’s resources to its full extent. To the point it is soon likely to be the reason for all wars (if it isn’t already) and whose ENDLESS CONSUMERISM is creating mass amounts of waste. Another factor of the dis-ease in our planet is GLOBAL WARMING, a reality due in part to all the people and corporations that are using mass quantities of oil that are deemed responsible for generating the greenhouse gases changing our planet. A third major problem is the new OIL CRISIS, where this ever-growing population’s demand is about to outstrip the supply available, hence the historic level of oil prices and the search for alternative fuels. And let’s not forget GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION which allows all these problems to continue, grow, fester and get worse in the name of the Almighty Dollar and the American Dream.

The only problem among those mentioned whose solution will fatten somebody’s pockets (there’s that almighty dollar), and therefore the only problem everyone is scrambling to work on, is the oil crisis. Considering that gas now costs twice as much as it did many months ago -certainly an important concern- it’s still only one issue I’d like a solution to. It is however, a great beginning point in changing our world for the better. So what are our options to ensure we have oil to power our lives?

Either we could drill for oil in our our own country, which apparently wouldn’t help the gas prices because to bring the machinery and set up at each of the very small reserves we have would end up costing Americans the same at the pump in the end. Or we could continue down the line with foreign oil until their reserves run dry, but either way the population’s demand will outstrip supply by 2020 according to “Tapped Out” [National Geographic, June 2008].

Hydrogen fuel cells would have been my vote, because it is made simply by converting water to hydrogen with the use of the sun or wind, but our CORRUPT GOVERNMENT screwed that one up with the Bush Administration’s “National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap”, drafted last year in concert with the energy industry, in which “up to 90 percent of all hydrogen will be refined from oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels – in a process using energy generated by burning oil, coal, and natural gas… which would effectively eliminate most of the benefits offered by hydrogen.” [Mother Jones] Of course, this is because those making the bucks with oil can’t stand the thought of losing out on the money and have to find their way to keep funneling more to themselves.

Many people lean towards alternative fuels because they sound fantastic, but in most cases we are actually just creating more problems. For one, the use of corn in biofuel has driven up prices of food and is now causing food shortages around the globe (to the extent that you now have to ask for a loaf of bread when you go to a restaurant and in many places must pay for it). Another problem with alternatives is that making biofuel isn’t cost effective or better for the environment. In fact, according to Christopher Calder from Huntington News, “The ‘energy independence’ argument for biofuels is a hoax because American biodiesel made out of soybeans costs the equivalent of making regular diesel out of oil at $232 a barrel. Making ethanol from corn costs the equivalent of oil at $81 a barrel and uses 28% more fossil fuels than gasoline. Only massive government subsides makes biofuels affordable at the pump. Most countries had large food surpluses before the onset of the biofuel hoax, and the world will return to food surpluses once we put an end to government biofuel mandates.”

The future is looking grim, isn’t it?

Maybe not! I have thought and researched and thought some more and come up with THE SOLUTION… which took shape during a political discussion I had with my dad on Father’s Day in regards to alternative fuels, oil and President Bush ‘n’ friend’s fat pockets, which are getting bigger with every increase in foreign speculation that occurs. On every point I made, my dad had a counterpoint except in one area: The real crux of the biscuit that he could not argue was that there are just TOO MANY GOD DAMN PEOPLE IN OUR WORLD. And the answer to that major problem is to get rid of some fuggin’ people… which brings me to THE SOLUTION!

THE SOLUTION which will eliminate all five of our world issues is TDP!

TDP stands for Thermal Depolymerization Plant, which is “a solution to three of the biggest problems facing mankind,” says Brian Appel, chairman and CEO of Changing World Technologies, the company that built a pilot plant and has just completed its first industrial-size installation in Missouri. “This process can deal with the world’s waste. It can supplement our dwindling supplies of oil. And it can slow down global warming.” According to Appel, the TDP will accept any item and turn it into high-quality oil, clean-burning gas, and purified minerals that can be used as fuels, fertilizers, or specialty chemicals for manufacturing.” Oil crisis solved!

Ok, so I see that Brian Appel’s crew thought of the TDP first and foremost to help with our ENDLESS CONSUMERISM, OIL CRISIS and GLOBAL WARMING, but I promised a solution to two more problems that Brian didn’t have the guts to talk about. Why not use the TDP to deal with our OVERPOPULATION issue, because that truly is the root of all problems since the TDP can accept any carbon-based items. “If a 175-pound man fell into one end, he would come out the other end as 38 pounds of oil, 7 pounds of gas, and 7 pounds of minerals, as well as 123 pounds of sterilized water,” according to Appel. (The article this information came from Discover, Vol. 24 No. 5, May 2003, called “Anything into Oil“, which goes on to state that there are no plans to put people in the machine.)

But why not? Why not start throwing people in that TDP thing and churn them into biodiesel? The only question that remains is which people? …and the answer is obvious! Well, I have to admit I personally thought we could get rid of the Christians first since they feel they must over-breed us into oblivion, though that would include my mom, Jesus bless her. But then my dad commented that we should save our country by using the very people that are wrecking it and turn in the Democrats… but I say why stop there? The Republicans are just as guilty of causing the mess in this country. Why not make it government workers across the board. That made my dad happy because he thinks most government workers are Democrats anyway… but I think it is high time to get rid of our entire CORRUPT GOVERNMENT, POLITICIANS and LOBBYISTS and start over again, fresh and new, with nice people that aren’t power-seeking, power-wielding ogres. I mean, have you ever gone to a government office, such as the building department, tax office, county council meeting, etc., and enjoyed your visit? Most every American leaves these places in disgust, wishing that murder was legal.

Well, maybe we can make it so, in the name of altruism: Government Employees (not including teachers, park workers or…any other people I deem as the good guys) it is time to volunteer to help your country. Put yourself out of our misery. Don’t hesitate, please send yourself in for oil! The rest of us need to be able to afford the drive to work again!

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Thought this an interesting way to advertise health insurance to those who surf; direct-marketed to me on MySpace. So I curiously clicked, and found the Platinum Kaiser Plan is just $195.00 a month (!), for an average Hawaii surfer, who might like swimming with sharks (I’m assuming the sharks in the ocean, not the sharks in the medical insurance industry).

Health Insurance for Surfers

annual death causes

Actually, it is the same story for many shark attack victims – if they’re lucky they deal with a deductible, but a large number who have no coverage are ill-prepared to experience the second stage of the feeding frenzy: bill collectors coming after them for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. The helicopter ride alone can cost nearly $10,000 (depending on location/remoteness and many plans do not cover medical evacuations). And typical policies don’t often cover needed prosthetics either (a cause Bethany Hamilton has championed – and a bill mandating coverage is nearing passage). It doesn’t have to be a shark attack obviously, surfers get themselves in many other predicaments: from reef to the head to close encounters with a donkey on a longboard. And we need efficient, specific surfer coverage, because it’s not like a car accident – there is no personal info exchanged at the scene, no 1-800 numbers to call. When you’re injured surfing and you’re out for a week, a month, a year -your fault or no-fault- even if you have regular medical insurance it won’t pay the rest of your bills!

So, for the living in the moment surfer, is it worth it to be cautious and protected?

At the very least you want some form of emergency or “catastrophic coverage – which doesn’t include regular doctor visits -or has a huge deductible- but does include major hospital and medical expenses. And if you’re on a surf-safari, especially to a foreign country (for that trip you’re taking this hurricane season to Indo or the Mentawais), it’s worth the peace of mind to get yourself some traveler’s insurance (yes, even on top of your medical – as many insurance companies won’t cover you abroad, and don’t include all the things that can go wrong when traveling). Even many pro-surfers neglect the obvious – and they’re regularly touring around the world, continuously introducing themselves to lovely new forms of bacteria their bodies are not used to. For example, sweet-styley goofy-foot pro Ryan Carlson had to learn the hard way via some staph courtesy of a Puerto Rican sea urchin… and the sh*t-load of bills that came with it.

You’d think pros could afford top-notch health insurance (or perhaps some surfing association would cover them), but unless you’re in the tippy-top rung, often you’re only scoring free gear and some spattering of contest money. Luckily -at least for those well-known in the sport- they seem to be able to rely on the compassion of other surfers, who help out with benefits, surf contests, and other fund-raising efforts. But us regular Joes, usually there’s no big benefit concert waiting for us when we get home from the hospital.

And though many surfers are actually functional citizens, there are a few, ehem, beach bums out there. Those who would opt to spend their last buck on a bar of surf wax before buying a box of band-aids. Many surfers, and athletes in general, rely on the fact that they are decently healthy and fit – yet that doesn’t necessarily protect you from unforeseen. Aussie surfer Richie Lovett had insurance – but with limits (read that fine print), which left him with over $200,000 in bills. Many surfers, like four-time cancer survivor and pro Dean Randazzo, have discovered this the hard way. He started the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation to help surfers with or without medical insurance who have to deal with cancer and its side effects – it’s hard to focus on your fight for survival while the bills are mounting up.

It’s not just skin cancers, suffered by pro Rowen Barrett and pro-mom Jeannie Chesser- we see many with rare bone cancers as well. The skin cancers seem obvious and common side-effects; surfers feel impervious. It’s almost as if they have to – it’s not like they can stay out of the sun while enjoying the sport (and for some reason many wrongly believe their sunscreen lasts more than an hour without reapplying!). For those who get cancer that causes pain in the hip, leg or, like Jason Bogle, their back, often they don’t get it checked out right away, as our mind opts to associate it with some past surf injury, over-exertion, or the joys of trying to bust the moves while getting a lil’ bit older. And since early detection is essential – that’s not a good thing.

Though the medical insurance list of “injuries people are at risk for” includes drowning and shark attacks, it doesn’t include what may be much more of a hazard for surfers, and that is polluted water. Sure, us surfers like to think of our sport as cleansing -and spiritually it always is- but in reality, physically, it really depends on the spot we surf. Often surf breaks occur in run-off zones laden with fertilizers, pesticides, sewage, and all the bacteria the environmental imbalances create, which obviously puts more than 1 in 64,453 -or a yearly total of 64- surfers at risk. If a company were to offer an efficient insurance plan that was specifically designed for surfers, it would have to be a complete package which would include the wide-range of factors surfers contend with every day we go out in the water, wherever we decide to safari. Though there are some companies in Australia and Britain that seem to better understand the coverage needs of the sports enthusiast, for now America is laggin’ behind.

If the life experiences of the surfers who came before us can be a lesson, don’t leave it up to fate. If you surf enough, if you take chances (if the people surfing around you take chances), you’re eventually going to get injured. Surfers consider it part of ‘paying your dues’. Hopefully you’re not faced with a major accident or illness, but if so, the bedridden dreams of getting back into the waves may inspire you to recover in record time, better than you were before. Odds are you won’t need insurance if “the big one bites” but chances are you may find yourself in a situation where you’ll be absolutely stoked you’re covered.

* * * * *

Since plans vary depending depending upon individual needs, age, location…you need to search out what is best for you. Here are a few added links to possibly help – plus some that include alternative therapies. If you are a student there are additional options you should research.:

• If you are a regular surfer in the UK you should consider membership in the BPSA, full membership at 20 pounds a year includes Personal Accident Insurance +£5,000,000 Public Liability Insurance.

• American Specialty Medical Networks My Life Plan Alternative Care Discounts for those with Blue Shield of California

Blue Cross – types of coverage (includes options for international travel) The Blue Cross Health Care Bank a reader mentioned in the comments section.

USA Health Insurance, ehealth insurance, insure me – brokers give you multiple quotes (not available in all states).

International Health Insurance (out of U.S.)

Alternative Insurance (Health Care broker for Cali and Il.) – includes discount card for alternative medicine tratment and services from participating practitioners..

• Check out Benefits Check-up to see if you qualify for benefits in your state.

[Note: if you have a favorite alternative care practitioner, ask what insurance they accept, and then look into those.

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