The Asia In­sti­tute Sem­i­nar On The Fukushima Cri­sis And P2P

The Global Digest (English) - - Contents - By Staff Cor­re­spon­dent

On Septem­ber 7th, 2013, The Asia In­sti­tute held a sem­i­nar in Seoul to ad­dress the need for Peer-to-peer (P2P) Open Sci­ence in re­la­tion to the on­go­ing Fukushima cri­sis. Emanuel Pas­tre­ich, Di­rec­tor of The Asia In­sti­tute, said, “The Fukushima cri­sis is a global cri­sis and it is just a mat­ter of six months or less be­fore it starts to get the at­ten­tion it de­serves. Yet we do not have a sin­gle pro­posal for a global re­sponse that brings to­gether the best and the bright­est to come up with real, long-term so­lu­tions to this chal­lenge. The Asia In­sti­tute dis­tin­guishes it­self by be­ing out there, iden­ti­fy­ing crit­i­cal is­sues first and for­mu­lat­ing a re­sponse. We were the first to say that cli­mate change should be con­sid­ered the pri­mary se­cu­rity threat in East Asia. We want to be on top of this is­sue, and make sure that fu­ture dis­cus­sions in­volve ex­perts and cit­i­zens, as well as pol­icy mak­ers.”

Hu­man rights ac­tivist, from Myan­mar, John S. Thang said “cul­ture should not pre­vent hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sues around the Fukushima cri­sis - where Asian au­thor­i­tar­i­ans use cul­ture to vi­o­late their hu­man­i­tar­ian re­spon­si­bil­i­ties by turn­ing a blind-eye to dis­as­ters be­cause of his­tor­i­cal is­sues be­tween coun­tries.’

The ob­jec­tive of the sem­i­nar was to de­velop a group of cit­i­zens to pre­pare a white pa­per on Fukushima. At the sem­i­nar, Layne Hart­sell, Re­search Fel­low in Con­ver­gence Sci­ence at the Asia In­sti­tute, gave the gen­eral sci­en­tific pa­ram­e­ters of the sit­u­a­tion re­lated to ra­dio­bi­ol­ogy and tech­ni­cal con­cerns. At­tend­ing the event were cit­i­zens from Korea, China, Myan­mar and the United States. The Asia In­sti­tute is ad­vo­cat­ing a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary ap­proach to ad­dress­ing the dis­as­ter and some in­no­va­tive ideas from Pas­tre­ich on open­ing up the sci­ence to gen­eral cit­i­zens, sim­i­lar to the Gal­axy Zoo project. At Gal­axy Zoo, cit­i­zens as­sist the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity in iden­ti­fy­ing gal­ax­ies. The web­site says, ‘With so many gal­ax­ies, we’d as­sumed it would take years for vis­i­tors to the site to work through them all, but within 24 hours of launch we were stunned to be re­ceiv­ing al­most 70,000 clas­si­fi­ca­tions an hour. In the end, more than 50 mil­lion clas­si­fi­ca­tions were re­ceived by the project dur­ing its first year, con­trib­uted by more than 150,000 peo­ple.’ What Pas­tre­ich and Hart­sell are hop­ing for is a sim­i­lar project where cit­i­zens can ob­serve data such as satel­lite images and chart the re­lease of ra­di­a­tion over time to as­sist in the over­all re­sponse.

Di­rec­tor Pas­tre­ich said, ‘We are the first, as far as we can tell, to ac­tu­ally for­mu­late a re­sponse in our ini­tial ar­ti­cle [For­eign Pol­icy in Fo­cus]. We will now put some real meat on that skele­ton so that pol­icy mak­ers can use it when they come to rec­og­nize the sever­ity of the cri­sis. The Asia In­sti­tute will be part­ner­ing with Michel Bauwens and the P2P Foundation on the white pa­per.

Emanuel Pas­tre­ich

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