Radiation makes global local

In only the past few months, the students of Washburn heard about war in Iraq and Afghanistan and protests and revolt in Egypt and Libya. In the past few years, we raised money for Haiti. This newest natural disaster in Japan has also raised quite an international stir.

However, the reasoning for the hype is not because of the American humanitarian attempts, nor is it solely because of the threat of radiation, although that is part of it. The radiation merely underscores what has been passed over in all of the other international situations. The theme is that we live in not only a global economy, but a global community.

We’ve all been raised hearing about the global economy and how we can’t live in isolation. But it seems that Americans don’t take that very seriously, let alone rely on the idea of a global community.

Even with the wars that America is in, although many of us have neighbors, friends and relatives fighting, it’s still easy to relegate the war to a foreign place and ignore troop movements and action.

Haiti, although it happened in America’s front yard, didn’t affect our daily lives, either, aside from our collective satisfaction at being able to provide for those less fortunate.

Egypt, Libya and the other countries attempting democracy have appealed to our sense of identity as a democratic people. Conversely, these troubles have also made our gas prices rise and have put other American interests in jeopardy. These are things that we can adapt to, in spite of the inconveniences.

Radiation poisoning, however, isn’t something that we can just learn to “get over.” And that’s why the incidents in Japan are finally bringing the point home. As everyone becomes more concerned about radiation poisoning reaching the California coast, people in the United States have started to take more issue with the events oversea. Maybe one day we really will consider these disasters and events to not just affect one isolated country, but also to be a part of a comprehensive global history.

Globalism isn’t a fad. As the internet and social technology continue to defeat cultural barriers, an attitude of isolation is no longer possible.