Sunlight has radiation, so does moonlight! Ban Sunlight!

That’s right, skin cancer is a risk of being out too long or not using sunscreen. But let’s say you laid out for the same amount of time during a full moon. No issues right? But the light coming from the moon is the exact same as that from the sun, so what gives?

David J C MacKay FRS provided a forward for “Climate Gamble” that tells us a bit about it.

“I think that some people view nuclear power as untouchable because the language for describing the dangers of nuclear radiation is too black and white. When we talk about other forms of radiation, everyone understands that there is a scale ranging from harmful to harmless, and we have nuanced language to distinguish between, for example “desert sunshine” and “moonlight,” and other levels of “bright” or “dim” radiation in-between.

Everybody knows that the midday desert sun can be harmful if one lies in it without protection. And everyone knows that moonlight is essentially harmless. Yet moonlight is made up of just the same photons as sunshine! The reason why moonlight is harmless is that it is 400,000 times less bright than sunshine.

When people talk about nuclear radiation, our language lacks analogous terms for “bright” and “dim.” Nuclear radiation is just said to be “toxic,” “harmful,” or “dangerous.” Black and white. But in fact nuclear radiation can be like sunlight, and it can be like moonlight. There are levels of radiation that are lethal, and levels of radiation that are essentially harmless.

Responsible citizens should not simply rule out nuclear power from the portfolio of climate-change options without properly, quantitatively, understanding the true risks. (This is why you’re at 5MN!)

Yes, the nuclear industry has had accidents. Yes, in some countries, the nuclear industry has had a reprehensible track-record of mismanagement and dishonesty. Yes, nuclear waste lasts a long time (as do many environmental pollutants).

But please don’t leap to simplistic conclusions.

We owe it to our children to behave like adults.

Have an open mind.

Read. Learn. Think.

Discuss.”

It’s just like taking things out of moderation, eating too much/little, drinking too much, or any other activity can be harmful to you in some way. So let’s not ban the sun/radiation, let’s learn about them and how to go about life without getting too much of them. Spoiler: It’s surprisingly easy to do.

 

References:

Partanen, Rauli, and Janne M. Korhonen. “Forward” Climate Gamble: Is Anti-nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future? Finland: Rauli Partanen & Janne A. Korhonen, 2015. N. pag. Print.

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