Wednesday, May 16, 2012
In Fukushima we had tried to see the famous Takizakura, the 1000-year old weeping cherry tree and a national treasure, in full bloom just then. News stories were circulating about how residents of temporary housing units were finding solace in this ancient beauty. Not surprisingly, it was so crowded we gave up.
Instead, that evening we visited a younger cherry tree in a nearby valley — this one a gentle giant of about 400 years. It stood by a stream, showering the small temple next to it with pink petals. The perfume of spring was everywhere and I could hear the reassuring croaking of the frogs.
Local residents I asked did not seem to quite know why there are so many ancient cherry trees in Fukushima. But they all seemed to agree that their prefecture is beautiful. They kept repeating, as if in a mantra, the same refrain I had heard throughout the trip: as long as our trees, our waters, our air and our mountains are alive, we too shall be fine.
Excerpt from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/opinion/cherry-blossoms-in-fukushima.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1&ref=global-home
Monday, May 14, 2012
DoD and EPA Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Increase Sustainability of Military Bases
The Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, Dorothy Robyn, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator, Paul Anastas, signed an agreement on February 7, 2012, that formalizes the partnership between the Department of Defense (DoD) and EPA to develop and implement technologies that will help create sustainable American military bases all over the world.
Under this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), DoD and the EPA’s Office of Research and Development will collaborate in the development of innovative technologies to help DoD create sustainable and resilient military bases across the country and overseas. The cutting-edge research of EPA and DoD scientists and engineers will be used to develop and demonstrate tools and technologies that will aid DoD in achieving its vision of sustainability.
The mission of DoD is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our country. To successfully execute this mission, our Military Departments must have the energy, land, air, and water resources necessary to train and operate, today and in the future, in a world where there is increasing competition for resources. Sustainability provides the framework necessary to ensure the longevity of these resources, by attending to energy, environmental, safety, and occupational health considerations.
This MOU underscores the Administration's commitment to fostering collaboration among Federal agencies. In addition to enabling the sharing of resources, this agreement provides an opportunity for DoD, in collaboration with EPA, to use its military bases as test beds for innovative technologies that can then be shared more broadly in communities across the country.MOU