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June 21, 2008

New Tomdispatch


Big Bad Boom
Radioactive Déjà Vu in the American West
By Chip Ward

In the American West, we take global warming personally. Like those polar bears desperately hunting for dwindling ice floes, we feel we're on the frontlines of the new weather regime...

Many desert denizens now view abandoned archaeological ruins like Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde in the Southwest as more than the remnants of a collapsed, long-lost Anasazi civilization. They increasingly look like haunting hints of our own possible fate as global warming continues to bake the already arid West.

Ghost towns are nothing new in our boom-n'-bust history, of course, but imagine some future tour guide ushering visitors through the awesome ruins of Las Vegas's Circus-Circus, the Bellagio, or the Luxor Hotel. "They didn't understand the limits of the landscape that enfolded them," she might say, while holding up a golf-ball excavated from the ruins for the crowd to see. "When drought pushed them across the threshold, they didn't see it coming, they couldn't cope, and it all fell apart."

Here we go again… Unfortunately, it's not only the heat that's hitting us hard out here. One of the "solutions" to the crisis of climate chaos is about to kick the citizens of the West right in our collective gut before we even have a chance to go down for the count from heat exhaustion. Nuclear power -- once touted as a "solution" to other problems and recently resurrected -- is now being pushed hard as an alternative to carbon-dioxide emitting coal for keeping the lights on. And, unfortunately for us, its raw material, uranium, is right in our backyard.

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at June 21, 2008 09:21 AM

MY friend suffers health problems from mining yelow cake. He says that it gets so hot that plastic on the gloves melts. (anything to keep the lights and the tv on)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 21, 2008 01:10 PM