AS LEARNED commissions debate whether to declare a new human-dominated era of geological time – the Anthropocene – we are already making facts on and under the ground. Since plastics were widely introduced in the 1950s, we have dumped an estimated 4.9 billion tonnes into the environment. Most goes to landfill for future generations to unearth. But it is marine waste that has spurred public desire for action. Images from the BBC documentary Blue Planet II of marine wildlife snared by plastics are a visceral indictment of our throwaway culture.
To the editor: After endless promises that nuclear waste could be stored safely, we now learn that there is no place to safely store tens of thousands of tons of uranium and plutonium for hundreds of thousands of years. The current industry "solution" is to store it unsafely where it was generated (near major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Diego) or to get political revenge and force it on Nevada (a state that produces no nuclear waste and continues to suffer from 928 atom bomb tests). Did anyone notice that two of Florida's nuclear power plants quickly shut down before the hurricane? Or that South Carolina has abandoned construction of two new plants after wasting $8 billion on them? How about the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station being closed following a generator failure and radiation accident?