Exactly eight years ago, an earthquake off the east coast of Japan set a massive tsunami on a collision course with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The wall of water overwhelmed the reactors’ cooling mechanisms and over the next four days the plant suffered three nuclear meltdowns. It became the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. In response, Germany, Switzerland and some others around the world accelerated their plans to ditch nuclear power as an energy source.
Nuclear power is virtually free of emissions. By contrast, we burn coal and gas at industrial scale to make electricity, pumping carbon dioxide and other noxious chemicals into our atmosphere. As a result, our oceans are warming and extreme climate events are becoming more common. Our children are more aware of these changes than we adults are: later this week, on March 15, young people will walk out of their schools in more than 30 countries to protest the scars we are carving into their futures.