Friday, September 16, 2011


Here's a sunflower volunteer that sprang up from a random seed in our garden. The complexity is breathtaking.
One of the happiest flowers: swaying, dancing in the breeze, nodding their sunny faces. Apparently they're also volunteering for this heartbreaking duty at Fukushima ...
But there's also an effort to decontaminate and lift spirits. Fukushima is distributing 20m sunflower seeds to suck up the cesium radionuclides that have permeated the soil. The towering yellow flowers now adorn gardens, farm fields and roadside plots. Although they brighten the landscape, their stalks and petals concentrate the radioactivity and will later have to be burned or left to decompose in a controlled environment.
The sunflowers are the brainchild of Kouyuu Abe, a Zen monk who owns a temple just outside Fukushima city and is committed to the "fight against radiation". He allows people to dump the irradiated soil from their gardens on the hillside behind his temple, where it will be buried and covered with zeolite. He is also planning to decontaminate the forests with high pressure sprays so the leaves are less of a hazard when they fall in the autumn.

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