Friday, April 20, 2012

How to Stand Up to Helen Caldicott

Last week, I hinted that Dr. Helen Caldicott had gotten more than she had bargained for when she visited the University of South Carolina recently. Unfortunately, I failed to follow up and link to the following post at the Nuclear Literacy Project. The author is Kallie Metzger, a graduate fellow studying nuclear engineering at the University of South Carolina, and she deserves some applause for the way she conducted herself:

Ultimately, I hoped this presentation would provide a platform for discussion —And it did, but not nearly as peaceably as I envisioned. I imagined proponents of nuclear refuting the speaker’s false statements and exaggerations (respectfully, of course), the speaker conceding to our reasoning, and the whole night ending in a campfire kumbaya session between the opposing groups. Instead, Dr. Caldicott refused questions, became increasingly hostile and arrogant, and created a strained environment for everyone.
I could quote more, but that would be unfair to the team at Nuclear Literacy. Click here to read the rest right now.

1 comment:

jimwg said...

Re: "I could quote more, but that would be unfair to the team at Nuclear Literacy. Click here to read the rest right now."

Quote On! IMHO it's darn relevant to NL and other edu-blogs missions to have web surfers not only get enlightened on the virtues of nuclear power, but also see the harms' way pro-nukers as Kallie Metzger experience in tepidly hostile territory at forums and rallies. Indeed, it's rather a disservice to pro-nuclear advocates/prospective supporters not to give them a heads' up on the kind of implacable passions and demeaning scorn and "pop peer pressure" their views are going to get on campus and public venues. For prospective pro-nukers, odds are high that the human-interest story inclined/non-tech perspective leaning local media will cast coldly on nuclear issue (to say the least), and nil are TV shows mentioning nuclear in a good light if at all, so no air support backing-up your views and facts there, and local libraries will be showcasing books on windmills and tidal power while nuke stuff will be relegated to the closet like a naughty child. Here in NYC, school science fairs that have nuclear energy exhibits are as numerous as hen's teeth and even ubiquitous commercials featuring schools and student support groups sponsored by major corporations mention squat about nuclear, and anti-nukers know well this glaring absence contributes a depreciating lone-wolf effect that makes prospective pro-nukers wonder whether they're really "on the right side." I think the web surfer coming across a edu-blog like NL's should know, besides the standard nuclear green litany, the kind of cold shoulders and intolerance and irrationally fearsome attitudes they're up against. It's one thing for a student to hawk nuclear on clean air -- but that's NOT the issue others and anti's are going to shove in their faces; it will be "what happened at Fukushikma!" and "you don't care 'bout all the ray-de-a-shun cancer-ridden children!" and "nukes are all budging balloons that just can't wait to blow!!" Yea, Greenpeace-induced peer pressure is alive out there for school children because if you're green then you're the one wearing the white hat, not black like baddie Nuclear Man in Superman! (it's ironic to me that per-square-inch you find more pro-nuke hands-up at teen pageant judging than most any public school -- witnessed this twice!). IMHO, pro-nuke edu-blogs should not just educate about and promote nuclear energy, but also arm the newbie pro-nuke supporter and advocate in schools or public with ready facts and online resources and forum support to not just rebuff but challenge the very loud and patronizing opposition. Persuading young people to look reasonably on nuclear energy will be as tough a sell as getting them interested in the Boy/Girl Scouts over free passes to Disneyland.

Keep up the good fight, NL!

James Greenidge
Queens NY