Sunflowers heal Fukushima

August 21, 2011

August 21, 2011

The March 11th earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident in northeastern Japan was one of the worst disasters in recorded history, but one Zen Buddhist monk is counting on the power of flowers to aid in the healing process.

Koyu Abe, head monk at the Joenji temple, some 50km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, has begun a program called "Hana ni Negaiwo"("Make a wish upon flowers") with the goal of planting 10 flowers for every one person living in Fukushima prefecture.  With roughly 2 million people still living in the radiation fall-out zone, Abe hopes to plant 20 million flowers by the end of the year.  The thinking is that flowers such as sunflowers and field mustard have the capacity to absorb some of the invisible radiation that continues to fall like silent snow.  As excessive radiation levels have been found in local beef, milk, water, and tea leaves any efforts to mitigate the destructive impact of radiation is quite welcome - enter Abe and 100+ volunteers who have grown 200,000 sunflowers at the temple while distributing millions of more seeds.

Check out this Reuters article by Antoni Slodkowski and Yuriko Nakao titled "Sunflowers melt Fukushima's nuclear snow," before watching the short video titled "Invisible Snow." You may never look at a humble sunflower the same way again.

Invisible Snow from Reuters  Tokyo Pictures on Vimeo.

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