I was psyched to hear that the story about my photo book is trending at Fast & Co.
So, I was on CNN yesterday to talk about my TED book.
I'll be honest, I got nervous, but I think I still managed to sound coherent. (I hope so - you tell me.) I just wish they had told me which camera to look at!
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Sunday, November 10, 2013
True, radio and photography are not two forms of communication that seem most compatible.
Still, I had an interesting interview with A Martinez, host of the NPR show Take Two in southern California. Martinez kept describing my photos and then asking me to tell the story behind it. It worked well, actually.
Here is the radio interview:
And here is the Take Two image gallery they posted so you can see what we're talking about.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Monday, November 04, 2013
Filmmaker Holly Morris interviewed me about my book last week. OK, we interviewed each other. She is making a film about the old women still living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. TED released her TED talk at the same time as my book.
Today, I'll be describing some specific photos from my book on the NPR show Take Two, on KPCC 89.7 FM in southern California. Not sure exactly when I'll be on air, the show runs 9-11 am Pacific.
Livestream the show here and I'll post a link to listen later.
UPDATE: the broadcast of my interview was delayed due to the tragic shooting at LAX. It will air on Monday.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Friday, November 01, 2013
Here are two crazy unbelievable things:
- My book Would You Stay? which started as a little project in Chernobyl in 2007, will be a book out there in the ether, as of tomorrow.
- We were, I must confess, still making last-minute improvements until 10 o'clock tonight. But now it is really and truly on its way.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Wednesday, October 30, 2013
I was just interviewed about my book by the NPR show The Takeaway. It will air at 9 am today (Oct. 29). Listen live here - www.thetakeaway.org. Later I'll post a link to listen after the fact.
OK: here is the link to listen:
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Tuesday, October 29, 2013
If you arrive by train, as the nuclear personnel do, this is your first view of the sprawling Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, across the cooling pond. The station that once generated power now consumes it. The new heating plant has the only active smokestack on the horizon. Beside it are the unfinished, abandoned cooling towers. Beyond the smokestack at right is the “Shelter Object” which covers the Fourth Block of the plant.
Even after Fukushima, Chernobyl remains the site of the world's worst nuclear accident. The population within 30 kilometers was permanently evacuated, including residents of Pripyat and many villages. Although the Chernobyl plant finally stopped generating electricity in December 2000, today 3,700 employees continue to work at the plant. They commute from their new city of Slavutych, which was built after the accident to replace Pripyat.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Thursday, October 24, 2013
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Wednesday, June 05, 2013
The Wakamiya evacuee housing complex in Koriyama city forms a giant grid of pre-fab buildings, 11 apartments per building, 5 buildings per row, erected on a field of gravel and asphalt. In the middle is the Odagaisama Center—a community building with a recreation room and a radio station that broadcasts news and music to evacuees.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Every evening after dinner, plumber Masayuki Nagai opens the newspaper and pores over the radiation reports. The average daily dose for each city is monitored by government dosimeters and printed each day in the paper alongside the weather. Nagai tracks the changes, but at the same time, he doesn’t believe what he reads. “People don’t trust the government numbers,” he says. “Unlike the supermarkets, which now report exactly where each food came from.” People trust the stores labels, he believes, because a market would lose all its customers if they ever learned they’d been lied to. It’s harder to switch governments than supermarkets.
“What must be admitted – very painfully – is that this was a disaster “Made in Japan.” Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the program’; our groupism; and our insularity.” (2)
And pigs can fly.
No, actually, the evacuations were complete chaos. The Japanese government was slow to relay information to local officials and slower to admit how severe the disaster was. As a result, instructions for residents conflicted and changed every few hours. Residents were told to shelter-in-place or that evacuation was mandatory or that it was voluntary, and the evacuation zone kept changing, from 2 km to 3 km to 10 km to 20 km from the nuclear plant. As a result, some people had to re-evacuate four times while others were relocated to sites with higher radiation and left there.
“The residents in the affected area are still struggling from the effects of the accident. They continue to face grave concerns, including the health effects of radiation exposure, displacement, the dissolution of families, disruption of their lives and lifestyles and the contamination of vast areas of the environment. There is no foreseeable end to the decontamination and restoration activities that are essential for rebuilding communities… The government has not seriously undertaken programs to help people understand the situation well enough to make their own behavioral judgments.” (3)
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Monday, June 03, 2013
In the months after the 1986 accident, machinery driven by liquidators often became too radioactive to continue using. So they just dug pits and buried their own radioactive vehicles.
The horse is out? Quick, close the door! It seems to me there must be a better way, but our attention is short and disaster mitigation is long.Today, workers unearth the machinery to lay foundations for new construction. This day’s discovery was the boom of a crane. They lay it on a flatbed truck (covered with plastic to hopefully contain some of the contamination) and haul it to an edge of the Chernobyl plant site for pressure washing. (The contaminated washwater gets piped to the liquid radioactive waste treatment facility). Then the boom gets trucked to a dumpsite in the Exclusion Zone, where it will be stored until after you and I are dead. Unless priorities change once the danger fades from some bureaucrat’s mind. Or unless it gets stolen first and sold for scrap.
Elsewhere in the Zone, liquidators buried everything from topsoil to village houses. Now at least 800 burial sites, mostly unmarked, are slowly leaching radiation into the groundwater. (3) (Fukushima now faces similar problems, which I’ll discuss later).
Tomorrow: What went wrong in Fukushima?
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Sunday, June 02, 2013
Fumiya Sekine, age 6, and his mom Kaori Sekine play with his new pets — a pair of stag beetles. The Sekine family evacuated from their home in Kawauchi village, 20 miles west of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, due to high radiation levels in the village. They have lived in a one-room “temporary housing center” apartment in Koriyama city since the complex opened in June 2011. They have no idea how long they’ll stay here.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Saturday, June 01, 2013
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Friday, April 26, 2013
Fumiya Sekine, age 6, and his mom Kaori Sekine play with his new pets — a pair of stag beetles. The Sekine family was evacuated from their home in Kawauchi village, 20 miles west of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, due to high radiation levels in the village after the 3.11 earthquake and nuclear plant meltdown. They have lived in a one-room “temporary housing center” apartment in Koriyama city since the complex opened in June 2011.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Tuesday, March 19, 2013