My question is about the relationship between growth and risk. The Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactor disaster brings this question into stark relief. Over forty years ago, E.F. Schumacher emphasized the importance of the precautionary principle when considering the spread of new technology. For example, in Small is Beautiful he wrote:
"It would be only prudent to slow down the nuclear power programme until we have solved the waste disposal problem. . . . Many responsible people would go further. They feel that no more nuclear reactors should be built until we know how to control their wastes."
The problem with the spent fuel rods at Fukushima demonstrate rather clearly that we haven't solved the problem. But it appears that the economic imperative of growth trumps this precautionary principle. On the contrary, people who advocate caution are often dismissed and ridiculed as "Luddites".
My question, then is: how confident can we be that it was only sheer coincidence that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami occurred on the 200th anniversary of the first Luddite riot near Nottingham on March 11, 1811? Or is it conceivable that the earth, Gaia, is a sentient being and is trying to send us a message?