Talk: Brett L. Walker of Montana State University Discusses Natural and Unnatural Disasters in Japan


Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Rm. 225 Sustainability Studies

Sponsored by Asian Studies and Sustainability Studies, Regents Professor Brett L. Walker of Montana State University will discuss natural and unnatural disasters in Japan. 

A summary of the paper associated with his talk follows:

At 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake devastated northeastern Japan and caused one of Earth’s most dangerous nuclear catastrophes. Along with an enduring nuclear legacy, it also left an estimated 25 millions tons of rubble, much of it contaminated with asbestos and other carcinogenic toxins. Indeed, when the tides of the devastating tsunami ebbed, the unnatural disaster of cleaning up Japan’s pulverized and aerosolized built environment remained. Now, every time a backhoe or shovel digs into this rubble, asbestos fibers are released into the environment to threaten human health. This paper investigates asbestos in the construction and, more importantly, destruction of Japan’s built environment, with a focus on the impact of the 3/11 disaster and the later clean up.

Please come to the event and join the conversation!