D S S 


Distinguished Speaker Series

2006-10       Mr. Hugh Evans: Can you imagine the extreme poverty?

Oct. 17

 

Poverty is always a pretty tough problem whenever we talk about the globalisation, sustainable development, or even just chat about the Doha Round logjam. Not only in Africa, but also in China, India, Vietnam, and many other Asian high developing countries, extreme poverty does exist despite their high economic growth. What is the substantial causality of poverty? How to eliminate or only alleviate it? Mr. Hugh Evans appeals more people to help the poor voluntarily and during the ten years with his oaktree foundation, he has helped some countries to set up a few primarily education bases. Dr. Sean Turnell prefers to encourage his apprentices to explore the way of microfinance in helping the poor. However due to those obvious reasons, such as local corruption and lack of property rights, to achieve a barely satisfying result still faces a long way. 

 

Oct. 17

 

 

 

2006-04     Dr. Helen Caldicott: Should nuclear be forbidden?

Nuclear Power

 

Background

Nuclear power becomes a sensitive concept recently, especially in the last three months. Since no full agreements have achieved on North Korea’s nuclear issue until now, and Iran’s nuclear crisis again pushed people into uncertainty on world’s peace and stability, thus also pushed the crude oil price to the historical peak. In a short time, people are shocked to find that the daily life changed too quickly to follow.

Politicians are attempting to seek and obtain more alternative resources, like Japan purchased natural gas from Russia, and China’s prime minister visited Australia to purchase uranium. Meanwhile, other people cannot forget the disaster happened twenty years ago in Ukraine, and are still worrying about the terrible specter of radiation, even a nuclear war. So French protested against the nuclear experiment in Pacific, and professionals like Dr. Helen Caldicott was invited to a distinguish speaker colloquium to appeal people to cease all activities related with nuclear power.

However, it is believed that to request those nuclear countries to abandon their benefits is not practical, and non-nuclear world is a Utopia. Even United States is unwilling to respond anything although Russia has processed to reduce its nuclear missiles. On 23 March, Lieber & Press (2006) in their report The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy claims that in the near future Russia and China will no longer threaten US while US will have the ability to smash them. Such cold war philosophy is really dangerous and defiant but it is hard for people to persuade those professors to change their minds.

 

 

My Opinion

 

On April 3rd, Dr. Helen Caldicott in Olympic Park again appealed that human beings should stop using nuclear power, whatever how reasonable the excuses look. As April 26th is the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl Accident, Ukraine, it is predictable that more and more people may support Dr. Caldicott when having learned this historical disaster.

However, I wonder whether people will be really happy if they stop benefiting from nuclear power. How unsafe on earth the nuclear power is? People may be impressed by a large number of death in one disaster 20 years ago, but ignore a much larger number of cumulative death in daily traffic accidents. It is reported that only in 2005, in an Asian country 98,738 people died and 469,911 people were injured in traffic accidents, 13% and 15.9% decreased compared to 2004. People may also be impressed by large population caused by a disaster, but ignore the much worse environmental situation caused by exhaust gas. Shall we stop all motors and machines immediately and promise that never drive a car?

In these 20 years, technology has been improved greatly and the possibility of nuclear accidents has been reduced to its minimum. The solution for safety should consist of a good design, correct evaluation, efficient monitoring, active management and powerful control. Actually, as an alternative energy, nuclear power is an environmental, safe and sustainable choice. Perhaps it could even help to alleviate the tension among countries caused by resource crisis. human being might not survive without a sustainable energy before the death of radiation or nuclear accidents. After all, natural resources are in short. Hence, the problem should be how to achieve a balance between using nuclear power efficiently and using it safely, not whether it should be used.

 

 


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