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I'm in the awkward position of supporting nuclear power in a country that has its anti-nuclear stance apart of its national identity. New Zealands Prime Minster David Lange famously argued against it at an Oxford Union debate, and ever since kiwis have viewed it as us standing against the 'big guy'.

Some people I've spoken to view this as on par with not supporting the All Blacks. To top this off, they typically have an irrational fear of nuclear power steaming from pop culture such as The Simpsons.

It's New Zealand's dirty little secret that we're no where near the "100% pure" ad campaigns we're running. Half our rivers are polluted beyond repair. We have less forest coverage than Japan. We flooded vast tracts of land for our dams. And we're still dependent on non renewables for our electricity.




As I understand it, another important part of New Zealand's anti-nuclear position is the French bombing of the Rainbow Warrior--a Greenpeace boat en route to protest French nuclear tests--in a New Zealand port. The lack of international response to the attack certainly had a big impact on foreign policy, and I have to think that it influenced popular opinion of nuclear power as well. Incidentally, this was just a few months after Lange's Oxford Union debate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_Rainbow_Warrior


As another commenter has mentioned, Japan is kind of a special case (although it would be great if it weren't). In 1600, when the shogun rose to power, there was a real threat of deforestation. Many laws were passed to stop the cutting of trees. Japanese people endured many hardships over the centuries because of these policies. However, there was an understanding that the forests were key to the ecological balance of the area (they control water run off, which helps the farmers and allows rivers to deliver nutrients to the sea which helps the fisheries). My understanding is that in the Edo period (from 1600 to the late 1800s) virtually everything was recycled and then when it couldn't be used any more, it was burned as fuel -- there just weren't resources available to do otherwise.

There is an ebook [1] extolling the virtues of Edo society, and while I think you have to take it with a grain of salt (it paints a very rosy picture), it is very interesting.

I noticed another book [2] which looks like it would be an interesting read, but I haven't done so yet.

One of these days I'd like to learn more about current forestry practices in Japan. I live in Shizuoka prefecture and I see some areas cleared occasionally for tea fields. Also, some of the cedar stands are threatened by invasion from bamboo and you can sometimes see them trying to clear the bamboo and replant cedar. But firewood is currently so cheap that you can often get it for free in my area, which worries me slightly.

[1] http://japanfs.org/en/edo/index.html

[2] http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520063129


> We have less forest coverage than Japan.

Japan has forest coverage of 67%, which is very respectable. New Zealand has 31.87%. Next 3 countries after New Zealand are Germany, Canada and United States.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_forest_ar...


Canada is funny though - with so much arctic and prairie land it throws off the calculations. That's not necessarily due to deforestation however (even though there is a ton of that going on).

http://www.biodivcanada.ca/380C93C6-737C-440D-BA5E-011787F42...


Plus Uranium is dug up across the ditch and comes in a Wallabies jersey - how very unpatriotic.




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