Extra Credit: Ashes to Honey- On the Road to a Sustainable Future

The documentary, Ashes to Honey, presents an argument against the construction of a nuclear power plant near the island of Iwaishima. It represents the views of the locals living in Iwaishima, as well as the global community’s thoughts about nuclear energy. The director compares the proposal of constructing a nuclear power plant to Sweden’s rejection of nuclear energy as an option. There are worries of radioactive contamination and the dangers that is poses in the foods that are grown in a contaminated area.

In deciding to construct a nuclear power facility, the opinions of the locals living near the site is something that needs to be taken into account. In 1982, when the Chugoku Electric Power Company proposed the building of a nuclear power plant near Iwaishima, the residents of the island were strongly opposed to the idea. In the film, the locals of Iwaishima were shown as simple people, growing crops, fishing, and harvesting seaweed. They felt that their energy needs are already met, and saw no need for the proposed nuclear power facility. One of their concerns is that the facility would disrupt their lives on the island, an example being it would affect the fish in the area.

Sweden: leader in sustainable energy

Sweden: leader in sustainable energy

In contrast with the proposal for a nuclear power facility, Sweden voted to avoid the use of nuclear energy in 1980. Since then, they have used various technologies to find ways to reduce their carbon emissions and reduce their dependence on oil. In presenting Sweden, the director is showing that there are alternatives to relying on nuclear power as an energy source in Japan. This is a good comparison, because Sweden’s saw nuclear power as not an option at around the same time as Japan wanting to construct the nuclear power facility.

Loquats: Local food grown in Iwaishima

Loquats: Local food grown in Iwaishima

The director presented information regarding the radioactive contamination of the food supply. Japan is especially affected by nuclear contamination due to the meltdown of a nuclear power plant in 2011 and the detonation of atomic bombs in World War II. Examples included the contamination of cow’s milk and honey from beehives. Humans are especially vulnerable since they are at the top of their food chains. Food is an important part of our lives, so this danger of contamination can potentially disrupt Japan’s food exports and industry.

Future generations in Japan

Future generations in Japan

From the documentary, constructing nuclear power stations is not a viable choice in the production of electricity. There are many other sustainable options that can be used to take its place, and the danger of radioactive contamination is something that needs to be taken into consideration. Another alternative is to change our lifestyles and reduce our dependence on non-renewable energy sources. The message that this documentary is conveying is a valid one, and is something we need to think about to provide an environment that is sustainable and safe for our future generations.


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