Participant and Speaker: Miyoko Matsubara

From September 6th – September 13th, 2007, I attended the International Symposium in Greenland. It was entitled ”The Artic: Mirror of Life – Religion, Science and the Environment” (RSE)

Our meeting began with a silent prayer for the planet at the mouth of Illulissat icefjord, the rapid melting glacier, on board the ship, MS Fram. Environmentalists, Scientists, and Religious Leaders from around the world had come together to try and find a solution to the developing environmental crisis the earth is facing today.

Around the end of July, 2007, a request was made by the RSE Foundation, a non profit organization, via the Greek Embassy, that they would like to invite an A-bomb survivor from Japan, the one and only country that experience the horror of the atomic bomb. It was a great honor to be given this opportunity to talk about my experience as an A-bomb survivor.

It was just at the time when a nuclear incident occurred in Japan, which was given world-wide media coverage. A powerful earthquake struck the Niigata area and at the Kashiwazaki nuclear power plant, water containing radioactive material leaked and some of it was released into the sea. As an A-bomb survivor, I was asked to give my views on the matter. I mentioned that even if nuclear energy is being used for peaceful purposes, any accident involving a nuclear reaction, nuclear power should not be used. The disaster at the nuclear power plant that happened in Chernobyl took the lives of many people and should never be repeated. We should try to put more effort in taking the advantage of the sun and wind. After my speech, I received a standing ovation from about 150 people saying how moved they were and also His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Christian Orthodox Church, personally thanked me. I was happy to know that my message reached the people’s heart.

Other than the plenary, we were told how the Inuit people living in Greenland were forced to change their living conditions due to global warming. We were also fortunately able to interact with the local Inuit people.

The symposium was the seventh, under the patronage of HAH the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, initiator and organizer of the previous six Religion, Science & the Environment symposia, Mr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary –General of the United Nations and Mr. Jose Manuel Barrosa, President of the European Commission. Newsmen representing BBC World, Discovery Channel, and various news agencies from Greece, the U.S., and Germany giving mass media coverage of the symposium were also on board the MS Fram. The reporters interviewed many people throughout the symposium. I was also interviewed.

I once again realized that radioactive substances are the worst cause that threaten living things and destroy the environment. I would like to study more about the effects caused by radiation and the environmental issue. I hope that I can be of some help.