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Japan: Miles Away Yet Close To Our Hearts

The recent heart wrenching devastation caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami has left a somber mood in Japan, and throughout the world. On March 11th, one of the five most powerful earthquakes let loose off the east coast of the Oshika Peninsula of Tohoku near Sendai. In the wake of this natural disaster, nuclear power plants exposed an imminent man-made disaster. Amidst growing fear of radiation poisoning, the international community is taking rapid action to provide aid and attention to those near the epicenter. Enormous contributions have been made: $10 million from the American Red Cross, $3 million from Sony, $1 million from Sandra Bullock, and anonymous millions not making the headlines… While all generous contributions are respected and revered, it’s a sad reality that millions are merely pebbles to the $14.5-34.6 billion in early earthquake damage estimates made from insured losses. For those of you residing in L.A., this upcoming week presents some social opportunities to flip the profit of fun to favor those in dire need: March 23rd- The Japanese American and Asian American Bar Associations (JABA/APABA), among other attorney, judge, and law student member organizations, are sponsoring Japan Relief Fundraiser. Attendees will enjoy a festive evening at top rated Asian fusion restaurant and bar Izakaya Fu-ga, with $20 donations going to the American Red Cross benefiting those in Sendai directly affected by the earthquake and tsunami. March 24th- Nu-Thursdays’ Japan Relief Fundraiser is hosted by the urban-zen, elegant and energized lounge deemed Little Temple, and Nu-Soul Magazine, representing sounds from the neo-soul movement of under-ground blended electronica, drum/bass, and hip-hop with soul. Donations starting at $5 are going towards providing medical assistance through Direct Relief International. March 25th- Fusicology, Soundlessons and Hit&Run combine music and the arts to create I Love Japan at the Spanish tavern inspired restaurant and bar El Cid. For $5-10 shake your hips to a night of soul, hip-hop, afrobeat, dancehall and more, with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity: Pacific. On an international scale, aid has been flowing into Japan through a variety of online accessible organizations. Google has created a fantastic list of Tsunami Relief websites that provide information and direct donations to victims throughout the region. The Jewish Journal online highlights 10 organizations and causes to bring relief to Japan, including the reminder and recommendation to “do what you can, hug a friend”. As nature born tragedies of this kind threaten to tear apart cities, in another way they are also bringing countries together. Through the power of positive thinking, collective consciousness, prayer, compassionate meditation…however you see fit to lend your love to those in need, know there are many ways in which to give support. March 22nd- The Gateway: A Portal for Growth and Wellness is hosting a meet-up Meditation and Blessing for Japan and the Mid-East through an intuitive lead meditation and group energetic clearing. For many with the desire to service humanity, “service as we see it is just loving in action”. March 28th- Have Courage Japan is a Greenpeace sponsored candlelight vigil at downtown Los Angeles’ Japanese Village Plaza to demonstrate solidarity and well wishes to the people of Japan, and envision a world free of nuclear disasters. While I wish finances were the greatest of our worries, the catastrophic release of toxic nuclear gas has residents far beyond Japan taking cover. If you are at all weary about the levels of radiation polluting our air quality (in the otherwise crisp Los Angeles air- hah), the South Coast Air Quality Management District provides daily radiation monitoring. To prevent a power plan accident of Chernobyl proportions, pressure was released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors in the form of invisible radioactive steam, which then dispersed into the Earth’s atmosphere. To better understand the situation, Nuclear Engineer Elmer E. Lewis discusses the realities of nuclear power, which has many, many people concerned about the possibility of a meltdown. And rightfully so, as the International Atomic Energy Agency projects at the most, “approximately 20 more countries will have nuclear power plants in 2030 than do today”. Since gas masks, surgical face guards, and essentially blowing ourselves to bits are seemingly impractical health (and general life) statements, I wonder about the merits of nuclear power in the way of emerging sustainable alternatives… With the tremendous number of upcoming Energy Conferences Worldwide, it’s clear that the discussion on generating power and designating its use is smouldering topic.

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