Adding Insult to Injury: Nuclear Tragedy in Japan (& How to Help)

People wait to be screened by a technician for signs of possible radiation in Nihonmatsu, northern Japan. Photo by Yuriko Nakao / Reuters

For the past few days, my heart has been firmly set in my stomach. As I watch images and video roll in from Japan in the aftermath of what is now being reported as a 9.0 earthquake, my heart is crying. I’ve broken down in tears more than once, and I imagine that people all over the world feel the same way.

I can’t imagine a quake of that magnitude must have felt like to the people who experienced it, and I pray I never will. But to add a tsunami on top of the quake was a second blow the country didn’t need. And now, the unfolding nuclear crisis is making it alarmingly clear that even one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world is ill-prepared to handle the fallout when a nuclear plant goes kaboom.

Proponents of nuclear power (I’m looking at you, President Obama) will tell you that it is a “clean” energy source. Let me just say this: That’s a bunch of bull. And to think, there’s a governmental push to add more nuclear power to our energy supply in a misguided effort to reduce our dependence on oil.

The Unit 3 nuclear reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is seen burning after a blast following the earthquake and tsunami. Photo by Digital Globe / Reuters

No “clean” energy would require waste to be stored for thousands of years because it is highly unstable and unsafe. No “clean” energy would require the evacuation of thousands of residents, not just because of the initial explosions, but because of the radioactive steam released by the explosions and the potential contamination to soil, water and anything or anyone close enough to be affected.

For earthquake victims, it must feel like adding insult to injury. Hearing energy officials admit that they are literally playing the nuclear situation by ear is sobering and, quite frankly, scary. Particularly because Japan is at the forefront of earthquake preparedness.

If this doesn’t underscore our need to convert to TRULY clean energy as soon as possible, I don’t know what will.

How to Help Japan

In spite of my feelings about the nuclear situation, I recognize that first and foremost, the people of Japan need our help. Like Haiti before it, the nation will need support for a long time to come, and I pray that the world doesn’t turn away once some other story steals headlines away. Here are some of the things you can do:

Donate Money

  • Visit or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.
  • Donate to the International Medical Corps or learn about other ways you can contribute by visiting Or, you can text MED to 80888 from your cell phone to give $10.
  • Visit or text ‘JAPAN‘ or ‘QUAKE‘ to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
  • Donate to Doctors Without Borders.
  • To donate to GlobalGiving, which focuses on “grassroots projects in the developing world,” text JAPAN to 5055.
  • Donate while you’re buying music on iTunes. They have created a donation page that allows you to given $5-$200 to the Red Cross.

Play Your Favorite Game

If you’re as addicted to games like Farmville, Cafe World and Frontierville as I used to be, we all know you’re not going to stop playing. Well believe it or not, you can use your gaming to help the Japanese. Zynga, the creator of those popular games and others,  has teamed up with Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake Tsunami Emergency Fund to allow gamers to donate money or virtual goods. They added a Save The Children button so you can donate without ever leaving the game. And of course, you can always visit Save the Children to donate directly.

Zynga players have the opportunity to donate in the following games, with 100 percent of the purchase price of these virtual items donated to the fund:

  • Café World: Players cans place Japanese inspired decorations in their Café to benefit the initiative.
  • CityVille: Citizens can plant a limited edition sweet potato crop to feed their population and stock their restaurants.
  • FrontierVille: Players can buy a limited edition Kobe cow to place in their frontier.
  • FarmVille: Farmers can plant a limited edition daikon radish crop that never withers.
  • Words With Friends: Players can donate directly by clicking on a Save the Children button inside the game.
  • YoVille: Players can purchase homes and furniture inspired by Japanese architecture and design.
  • Zynga Poker: Fans going for a royal flush can donate by purchasing access to a VIP table.
  • zBar: Players can donate directly by clicking on a Save the Children button inside the bar that sits across the top of their game on Facebook.

Buy a t-shirt from Differently Clothing

Help my husband and I help Japan. For 30 days (March 15-April 12), we will donate 100% of our profits from our organic t-shirt line, Differently Clothing, to the disaster relief efforts. We’ve also added a special t-shirt to our collection specifically to commemorate this donation. As you can see above, it reads: “This T-Shirt Helps Earthquake Victims.” Of course, you can purchase any shirt you like, and we’ll still donate our profits. Click here to shop now.

Thanks in advance for your generosity, whether it happens via Differently or some other means. Either way, just remember to always help those who are less fortunate. The Huffington Post has a much more comprehensive list of ways you can donate.

This post is part of the Green Moms Carnival. Check out what other Carnival members have to say over at Retro Housewife Goes Green.

By jennae

Hi! I'm Jennae Petersen and I'm the eco diva who had the bright idea to share my journey toward green living with the blogosphere. Some of you may know me as the founder of Green Your Decor, my blog about eco-friendly home decor, as a Walmart Mom, from Twitter or from my organic cotton t-shirt line Differently Clothing. Stick around for a while!


  1. Amazing post. Thank you for sharing so many different ways to help out with this tragedy. People need to realize that there are tons of ways to make a difference!

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