Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rock The Reactors - Then & Now

Let me introduce myself... Remy Chevalier... most of the Internet know me as RemyC. I help out in the Green Nuclear Butterfly news room. I've been around awhile, online since 1998... But I had a past before that, as a co-founder of the environmental nightclub Wetlands in TriBeca, now turned into a popular documentary on the film festival circuit.

The night club closed in 2001... but we remain. The Wetlands Activism Collective is still going strong, recently successfully pressured the Victoria's Secret catalog in starting their switch over to recycled paper stock. The owner and founder of Wetlands, Larry Bloch, owns and runs a green store in Brattleboro, 4 miles from Vermont Yankee, called Save The Corporations (from themselves) and that's exactly what the bastard child of my Eco-Saloon at Wetlands is doing:, with their GE Eco-magination campaign.

And you see, there lies the problem... The greening of the corporations has left nuclear out of the equation, the elephant in the middle of the living room, nobody dare bring up in conversation.

I was around back in 1980... I didn't make it to Battery Park for the No Nukes concert, I didn't actually meet now Congressman Jon Hall until the Clearwater festival this summer. But I was one of the people who helped make it happen. I was working on the Barry Commoner presidential campaign for the Citizens Party... I wasn't an official "founder" of MUSE, Musician United for Safe Energy, who put on the concert, but I'd been at it longer than any of them. In France my quick claim to short lived fame, after I had to leave the country for reasons well spelled out in my book ELLE ON EARTH, had been as a recording artist for WEA, with a single titled: Save The Planet. I put the slogan there on top of the Hard Rock Cafe... then over the years, it waned, and now you only find it printed on the flag tooth pick they stick in the buns... So I wrote to the Seminole Indians, who just bought the Hard Rock chain, who have never signed a peace treaty with the US of A, and asked them, please restore Save The Planet to its former glory!

What happened after No Nukes is very strange... everybody just went home. There was a Mexican Standoff... no new nukes were built, no old ones were shut... and it's been like that for 27 years... other than the few rare exceptions here and there. So it got me thinking... I started out as an environmentalist, yes, but back in my youth, that also meant an anti-nuclear activist... I was right there in the room when President Pompidou signed off on the future of the French people, by allowing the Americans to build 40 nuclear reactors in his small country... France today is most at risk for a major, major disaster, as their problems, are no better off than ours.

Anyone with half an ounce of sense, who is tuned in to his body, who can feel nature and life and love swirl around them, knows that the singular notion of toying with such poison, who as the Native Americans tell us, should have been left in the ground... is the quintessential expression of mankind's break from nature... an abhorrent disruption in the order of things. Our civilization's grand folly, our Tower of Babel.

I'd only actually driven past Indian Point once or twice in my life... always had it in the back of my mind that this ominous thing on the Hudson just didn't belong there... was out of place... a monstrosity... who in their right mind would even so much venture as a few miles from it... guess tourists are just morbid. But I always felt we could do this, we could shut this thing down, there had to be a way, a magical way, an easier way than all the fact and figures that scientists and engineers throw at us all day, to confuse us, to buy more time before the inevitable happens. It wasn't about that anymore. You are either pro or anti-nuclear, no arguments at this point are going to change people's minds. I know which people I like better... who are more fun, more loving, more talented, more creative, more in tune with their bodies and themselves... and these people, they know Indian Point is a curse on the land.

I come from a world of fashion, my dad co-founded ELLE magazine... He found Brigitte Bardot at the Louveciennes train station in the Paris suburbs and asked her to grace the cover... the rest is history... Hef did the same thing with Marilyn... the immense power of an amazing, amazing face... So I went looking for mine... I don't claim to be the best photographer in the world, but I am the best networker in the world... I started looking online... and then one day, on Friendster, I saw this face, this amazing, amazing face, with such sadness in her eyes, she reminded me of that Indian crying over a sea of garbage... Little did I know at the time, her mom was Cherokee.

So her and I got to messaging, I shared with her my ideas, and we soon realized we shared the same aspirations, ambitions, we were both green to the core... She accepted my offer to pose for pictures in front of Indian Point, to start something, to be the face who would shut down the plant. The web page I posted was an instant success, thousands, then ten of thousands of hits... we learned through a list serv that workers on the inside had made her their own pin-up girl, downloading her pictures and putting them up on the mess hall. Our Trojan Horse worked to perfection...

I took the campaign national, going all over the country, up and down Route 66, where strangely enough, many of the folks owning the road side attractions, are all retired nuke workers who would love nothing more than for the entire industry to shut down, because they've seen it first hand, what the NRC doesn't want you to see... why they won't allow Independent Safety Assessment teams, why the fix is in, why we need for Congressman John Hall, who the people of Rockland County elected in good faith to shut down Indian Point, to introduce a Federal Bill to force the NRC to come clean, before the plant kills every single living thing that's precious to us all.

These last ten years or so, I worked very hard growing the green consumer movement, working with architects, designers, automobile makers, scientists... you name it, there's my green paw print in there somewhere... it's what i do, it's what my dad taught me, i'm a problem solver... but before you can solve a problem, all the problems need to surface, for without all the cards on the table, you cannot find a solution. So now I am calling on all my friends, colleagues and associates, who I have nurtured and helped grow their businesses all these years, to consider my sudden return to radicalism... Please, please, please... don't let this opportunity pass us by. We can close down Indian Point, put in question the entire direction of our National Energy Policy... have a defining moment, for the Hudson, for the country!

I have given think tanks at the GE EdgeLab at UCONN in Stamford. I have a standing invitation from the director of the lab, shared by the CT Technology Council, to bring to the table both anti-nuclear scientists and GE clean nuke engineers for a heart to heart talk. So far, the engineers at GE have not replied back... which is why we need, not just Greenpeace, but Green Order to step in and help us out, because the future of this planet depends on it... so we can work our problems out.

We will close down Indian Point, because the campaign has gone national in what appears to have been an instant. But it's because I have been quietly working for months, reaching out to people, organizations, via MySpace, via Model Mayhem, driving my little Scion xB all over the place... bringing them to the website, educating them about the issues... and suddenly, thanks to Royce's amazing stinging pen, it feels like someone turned the power on to all my Christmas tree lights.

Don't you find it interesting, that the entire country is jumping on the bandwagon, and yet, Riverkeeper, Clearwater and IPSEC are still playing hard to get? Come on guys, cut me some slack, I'm an old hand at this, I deserve a little peace... I promised it to Abbie Hoffman. I told him a few hours before his coming back out party, just a few months before he committed suicide (or so they claim) that I would close down Indian Point... That was my promise to Abbie I made to him in the offices of WBAI... forever imprinted in my brain... in my circuits, hardwired... I so loved this man, my childhood hero, my mentor... gone too soon to be my friend.

So there you go, that's the story... That's why I'm here, that's what motivates me... a life time of environmental activism, a decrepit old nuke 24 miles North the capital of the world, New York, a City now greening itself the best it can... while this time bomb keeps ticking... and a girl... who by now thinks I've gone completely mad, and who could blame her for that. Look at what we are trying to do here, the impossible! Every old plant that has come up for re-licensing? Has been rubber stamped by the NRC, without so much as a civilian peak inside... it's no better than Saddam not letting the UN inspectors in... maybe that's what we need, for the UN to step in!!!

We don't have much time, the odds are stacked against us... all I hear all day from fellow activists, is that it's going to take another disaster for people to wake up again... well I say the hell with that, I'm not going to wait... I'm my own disaster... Master of disaster they call me... there's a force of nature out there, none of us contended with... and she doesn't have to do very much, all she has to do is BE... all resistance caves in around her.

The sorcerer's apprentice is sharpening his sword, for the dragon on the Hudson is about to meet his doom. Dragons are beautiful, they breathe fire, they are noble and grand creatures... but they swallow maidens and little children... and cannot be allowed to roam the earth no more... the sun and the wind call us to attention... Solartopia... our new vision for America.


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