Editorial: Education paramount in wake of tsunami, radioactivity

Proactive |prōˈaktiv| : adjective:(of a person, policy, or action) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.

Reactive |rēˈaktiv| : adjective: acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling.

As adults attending an institution of higher education, the population of our college should know, and be able to repeat, these definitions without fault. But it seems that the vast majority our state and country, has forgotten these words that should be embedded into our daily lives.

The nation recently turned its full attention to the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami, watching in deaf awe as the citizens of a country were torn from life, cleaning their ruined towns and searching for their dead to no avail.

With the most recent events being broadcast into our living rooms hourly, the collective fear of the American public has turned toward radioactive material flying through the atmosphere and nestling itself into our quaint corner of the world.

Fourteen states have thus far reported having “tiny levels of radiation” in their areas, yet none detected in Oklahoma, according to research conducted by the KFOR news team. Many Oklahomans are beginning to look for answers concerning their own backyards, and what precautions they should make if radiation levels do increase to an elevated level.

Oklahoma news teams, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Environmental Quality all suggest the public do nothing. According to the EPA website, “To date, levels recorded at (the Oklahoma City) monitor have been thousands of times below any conservative level of concern.”

This is where the concern of pre-radiation, self-educated individuals comes into play. In a country where we are taught that it is our civic duty to stand up against injustice, to speak what we believe with no fear of backlash, where was this concern pre-nuclear meltdown?

The American public has taken it upon themselves to finally become educated in the language of nuclear happenings, only after witnessing a disaster that might threaten their well being. This is called being reactive, where one only cares about an issue past its explosion into the public eye.

Where was the concern of radioactivity when the U.S. government allowed the building of such plants on our soil, in our backyards? To create a safe environment, it is the role of the persons involved to be proactive in their stances, to understand the effects and affects of any decision being made, and to know their role in these situations.

Residents of California were clearing shelves, spending absurd amounts of money on iodine pills and radiation detectors after the first reports of a Japanese melt down, fearing the radiation would cross the Pacific and rain acid onto their beloved state.

Oklahomans are now doing the same, and looking like fools for it. If a citizen is this concerned with the prospect of nuclear fallout, why did they not speak against the building of over 100 nuclear plants on U.S. soil? Where was the call for reform when 3 Mile Island had a partial nuclear meltdown?

Residents need to be educated, and can only count on themselves to do the educating in a crisis of this magnitude. And this education begins with the understanding of how to become a proactive individual rather than reactive.

A proactive public could have stopped the chance of Japan becoming a nuclear wasteland. A reactive public can only help you count the few that shall survive.


  1. BJ Vinson says:

    There was an outcry against nuclear plants back in the 1980s. It was especially strong after the incident of 3-Mile Island.
    You can find more information with a little research.

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