These are two pages from Routine Contaminations, a book I wrote several years ago. Dick and Jane are the primary narrators who traverse a landscape of over 1000 underground and atmospheric nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. government between 1945 and 1992.

Dick and Jane find the terrain littered with the pathologics of permissible doses, safe exposures, acceptable body burdens, and previously undisclosed radiation leaks.

I was motivated to post these pages by two recent events. The first is Michael Klare’s “The Oil Catastrophe,” an essay in The Nation where he compares the PB oil spill to an underwater neutron bomb: the extent of the devastation may not be completely visible on the surface, but is, nevertheless, an unmitigated catastrophe for the living creatures below. And above.

The second is the recent hearing I attended about the proposed siting for a North County San Diego landfill on the banks of the San Luis Rey River, which would have catastrophic effects for the entire watershed. The landfill would also destroy sacred sites on the Pala Indian Reservation,  which would have catastrophic effects for the spiritual life of Luiseño and Cupeño Indians, as they so eloquently testified.

What do you think accounts for the precipitous drop in sperm counts worldwide, Dick asks Jane. How do we expand the range of our affections to embrace all species, Jane replies.

Routine Contaminations ends hopefully.

Posted by deborah small

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