Hepburn Wind hosts Fukushima Youth Delegation on clean energy fact finding mission

It’s Good Friday today so it’s a perfect time for Yes 2 Renewables to feature a good news story.

This week, the award-winning Hepburn Wind farm hosted a group of schoolchildren visiting from Fukushima, the site of Japan’s biggest nuclear accident.

fukushima tour

Taryn Lane, community officer for Hepburn Wind, recently returned from a speaking tour of Japan were she briefed university researchers, policymakers, and community organisations about the community-ownership model for renewable energy. The highlight of Taryn’s trip was a community meeting attended by more than 300 enthusiastic people keen to understand how a community-wind energy project can get off the ground. Lane’s trip has fostered strong links between Daylesford and Japan, and was a strong reason for the Fukushima Youth Delegation’s visit to the Hepburn Wind farm.

The following is a report by Taryn Lane:

This week, twelve students from Fukushima visited the Hepburn Wind farm for a glimpse of the clean energy future they want to build in their disaster stricken province in Japan.

It has been nearly two years since the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Incident. The disaster and its aftermath continues to burden Fukushima residents, especially the children. Radioactivity is one of the key issues that the student delegation face.

People in areas affected by radiation have to limit their exposure. They are only allowed 2 hours outside per day and most of the students still living in temporary structures. The delegation’s schedule in Daylesford also included lunch with Hepburn Shire Councillors and an afternoon at renowned permaculture farm Meliodora. This gave the students 2 days in the clean air and environment of Daylesford.

Noritsane (14 years old) said, “I have never had an experience like this, being inside a turbine – I will tell this story to my school back in Fukushima, we should do this.”

Miyuki (13 years old) said, “One turbine generates a lot more energy than I thought possible and are far quieter than I thought – wind farms provide many good things, not bad things like nuclear.”

Naomi (14 years old) stated, “I really hope Fukushima will change and do this.”

It was an honour to host the students at our wind farm and show how a community can take charge and create a clean energy future. We hope the students can return home with a new story of possibility and hope.

Fukushima and other nuclear disasters are a global threat and a global responsibility, which Australia should give more enough attention to. Very few Australians realise that our uranium was the source of the radioactive pollution that is harming our young visitors from Fukushima (reference).

From 23 March – 1 April, the 12 junior high students from Minamisoma are visiting Victoria for eight days with sponsorship from international NGO ‘Peace Boat’ in co-operation with Melbourne-based organisation ‘Japan for Peace’ (JfP) and various NGOs.

The ‘Fukushima Youth Ambassadors’ project was initiated by Peace Boat after the earthquake disaster in 2011. They trip aims to show them how Australians tackle environmental issues and includes visits to local secondary schools for a cultural exchange.

Victims of other nuclear disasters, such as the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, have also visited Australia on similiar visits.


2 thoughts on “Hepburn Wind hosts Fukushima Youth Delegation on clean energy fact finding mission

  1. Visitors from Fukushima are better qualified than most to tell us about the potential for a human disaster as the climate characteristics keep changing and decisions about the form of our energy structure are distorted by the requirements of the ‘business as usual’ plan for ongoing profits.
    The Daylesford / Hepburn region has consistently pioneered the creative approach to doing things in a better way.
    The region hosted an enormously successful “Energy Fair” – all renewable – in 1998.
    Some 6000 people turned up at Musk over the two day event.
    Visitors were impressed by a self sufficient house, powered by photovoltaics and micro-hydro electricity.
    It was clear that the broader population wanted a ‘clean energy’ structure but they have been consistently ignored by the political class and of course the business entities that have most to lose by the adoption of such a future.

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