Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship, Series 3: Kathleen Sullivan, “What is Nuclear Guardianship?”

In Democracy, Environment, Nuclear Guardianship, Plutonium, Public Health, Rocky Flats on February 10, 2011 at 6:51 am

Kathleen Sullivan’s Introduction to Nuclear Guardianship, presented on the evening of February 3, 2011, was stunningly beautiful in terms of the information conveyed and the compassion displayed. She began by having us pair off, then each in turn telling the other something in this world that we really love. A few individuals then shared what they’d heard. And she reminded us that the things we love are threatened by “the nuclear” (bombs, power, waste). She quoted Jacque Derrida to the effect that the nuclear is “the ultimate referrent,” that how we deal with it will determine our fate for good or ill. She presented a series of striking images of the technology of the nuclear in Hiroshima and Chernobyl, showing the awesomely destructive power of the nuclear if it is unleashed. “Radiation is a verb,” Kathleen said, quoting Barbara Adam. It is not in repose; it is constantly active, emitting radiation. Another key point taken from Rosalie Bertell is that the future of all beings is already present in seed form; what we do helps shape that future. The nuclear changes time for us, brings eternity into the now even as it enables us to project our now into the eternal. Nuclear Guardianship is the means, the discipline, the commitment to care for the invisible radioactivity that is essentially timeless. Responsible care of the atom entails cessation of production of nuclear materials, careful monitored storage of nuclear waste, limits on transport, and keeping alive for future generations the information re. the danger of the nuclear and the wisdom of guardianship.

I hope we can soon post Kathleen’s power-point images on our web site.

Kathleen also showed “The Nuclear Guardianship Slide Show” made in the 1980s by Frances Hardwood, the founder of Environmental Studies at Naropa. This too was a movingly evocative rendering of the responsibility of guardianship in the nuclear age. Perhaps we can also soon have this video posted on the web site.

The evening that Kathleen prepared for us was ended with a short piece performed on a viola da gamba. Lovely.


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